Prepare for unpredictable weather
A map and compass, waterproofs, and a whistle and torch are all essential for this walk, as the weather is very changeable in these mountains
Total steps: 9
Total steps: 9
Taf Fechan car park, grid ref: SO038169
Starting from the Forestry Commission car park (grid ref. SO038169), walk north along the road to the old pump house at the Lower Neuadd Reservoir (grid ref. SO033180). Make your way to the left of the reservoir, through a gate and start to ascend the steep climb onto the Graig Fan Ddu ridge.
Take a moment to absorb the stunning views up the valley to Pen y Fan (886m), the highest point of the walk.
Once you have got your breath back, turn right and follow the ridge around towards Corn Du. As you head north along the ridge, Cribyn, Pen y Fan and Corn Du all come into view.
Looking to your right, you start to get a sense of the sheer scale and beauty of the glacial valleys.
As you approach Corn Du at Bwlch Duwynt, the path forks right will take you around to Pen y Fan (while left takes you to the Storey Arms car park. Heading straight will take you up over the second highest peak in the Beacons (873m)). Make your way towards the Bronze Age burial cairn.
Bronze Age burial cairn
These cairns are prevalent on most summits. Looking to your left you'll see a spectacular view of Y Gyrn, Fan Fawr, Mynydd Du and, in the far distance, the Carmarthen Fans.
Continuing around the crest of Corn Du, drop down into the saddle and up onto Pen y Fan. On the left is the Cwm Llwch valley and Llyn Cwm Llwch.
Old army firing range and glacial moraine
The Cwm Llwch valley is a wonderful example of an upland glacial moraine. Further down the valley you can see evidence of an old army firing range, demonstrating the varied use of the Beacons over the years.
At the top of Pen y Fan, you are now standing at the highest point in southern Britain. It's easy to see why this place is such a popular location for walkers.
Take time to admire the panoramic views that this high point rewards you with before your trek back down the mountain.
From Pen y Fan there's a steep descent off the summit until you get onto a stone pitched path that takes you down Craig Cwm Sere, and up the steep climb to the summit of Cribyn.
The near vertical face of Pen y Fan
Looking back you can see the near vertical north-east face of Pen y Fan which falls away into the Cwm Sere valley.
At the Cairn on Cribyn, turn right and follow the ridge along the back of Cribyn. Some sections along this path are fairly boggy, where the peat has been exposed and started to erode. This is evident in a number of places around the Beacons.
Carry on down, until you come to the Gap Road. This was the first track to enable horse-drawn carriages to cross the mountain range. It's thought to be a Roman road, although no archaeological evidence has been found as yet.
Turn right onto the gap road and follow this route all the way back to the car park, and your starting point.
Taf Fechan car park, grid ref: SO038169
A challenging upland walk that includes steep climbs and a flat ridge, walking on made and unmade footpaths. Sturdy boots, warm clothing and good waterproofs are essential.
Neuadd Valley, Brecon Beacons
Merthyr Tydfil 12 miles (19kms), Abergavenny 30 miles (48km), then catch X43 bus.
The Beacons Way and the Taff Trail pass close by.
National Cycle Network Route 8-Lon Las Cymru and Taff trail pass close by from Brecon and also from Talybont-on-Usk to the east and Cardiff from the south.
The infamous Gap road passes close by and can be joined from the trail at Torpantau. Beacons Bus carries bikes over the summer from Cardiff to Brecon.
From Talybont-on-Usk, leave B4558 and cross the canal by a bridge, follow the road alongside the reservoir then up a steep hill through woodland. Keep following the road downhill until you reach a T-junction. Turn right here and follow the road up through the valley until you reach the second Forestry Commission car park on the left, which is the start point.
Car park at Taf Fechan. Please note that there are limited parking spaces available. Utilise public transport where possible.
A challenging upland walk that includes steep climbs and a flat ridge, walking on made and unmade footpaths.
Steep climbs and unmade footpaths.
Follow this strenuous, circular mountain walk on well-made footpaths to the summit of Pen y Fan and Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons.
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Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.