Skip to content
View looking across from Pen Y Fan, Brecon Beacons, Powys, Wales
View from Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons, Wales | © National Trust Images / Joe Cornish
Wales

Brecon Beacons horseshoe ridge circular walk

Try this challenging circular upland mountain walk with the National Trust in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, Wales. Experience far-reaching views towards Pen y Fan into the Cwm Sere valley. Look out for a Bronze Age burial cairn and evidence of military firing ranges.

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

Start point

Taf Fechan car park, grid ref: SO038169

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

A view looking over rolling hills towards the snowy peak of Pen y Fan in Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, with bright blue sky and a low-lying band of cloud in the background.
Pen y Fan from the A40, Brecon Beacons National Park | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

Step 8

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.

Step 9

Turn right onto the gap road and follow this route all the way back to the car park, and your starting point.

End point

Taf Fechan car park, grid ref: SO038169

Trail map

Horseshoe ridge walk, Brecon Beacons map
Trail map for the horseshoe ridge walk, Brecon Beacons | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

A view of Corn Du mountainside in the Brecon Beacons showing the steep slope and footpath erosion.
Trail
Trail

Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular walk 

Follow this strenuous, circular mountain walk on well-made footpaths to the summit of Pen y Fan and Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons.

Activities
Walking
DistanceMiles: 4 (km: 6.4)
Visitor taking picture of waterfall with his phone while standing on small cliff above pool of water at Henrhyd Falls in the Brecon Beacons, Wales
Trail
Trail

Henrhyd Falls and Nant Llech walk 

Explore the Graig Llech Gorge and tranquil Nant Llech Valley on this adventurous Brecon Beacons walk to see the highest waterfall in South Wales.

Activities
Walking
DistanceMiles: 3.5 (km: 5.6)
View of the Upper Tarell Valley from the Old Coach road on a sunny day, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Trail
Trail

Upper Tarell Valley walk 

This 5-mile walk along an 18th-century track is packed with history, passing the remains of farmsteads once inhabited during the heyday of the coach road. Enjoy wildlife and views of Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad National Nature Reserve in the Brecon Beacons.

Activities
Walking
DistanceMiles: 5 (km: 8)

Get in touch

Pont ar Daf car park (access to Pen y Fan), Near Storey Arms, Libanus, Powys, LD3 8NL

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

Walkers enjoying the views from the top of Dinas Emrys, Snowdonia, Wales

Walking in Wales 

Explore wide open landscapes, gentler coastal strolls or energetic hikes for something a little more challenging. We've rounded up some of the best places to walk in Wales.

A landscape shot looking across the green peaks of Brecon Beacons National Park, Powys.
Article
Article

Exploring Pen y Fan and Corn Du 

Lose your head in the clouds as you climb Pen y Fan and Corn Du, the two highest peaks in southern Britain. This is one of the most recognisable skylines in the UK. Discover wild walks and scenery in the remote heart of the Brecon Beacons.

The water of Henrhyd Falls, Powys, cascading down the side of a rock face and into a pool below. There are large tree branches in the foreground.
Article
Article

Visiting Henrhyd Falls and Graig Llech Woods 

Discover Henrhyd Falls and watch the waterfall plunge into the heavily wooded gorge of the Nant Llech. The surrounding Graig Llech Woods are a haven for mosses and lichen. This natural green space is also enjoyed by birdwatchers due to the wide variety of woodland birds.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
Article
Article

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon
Article
Article

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A visitor carrying a backpack and walking along a footpath at Divis and the Black Mountain with stone walls either side, the countryside visible in the background.
Article
Article

Follow the Countryside Code 

Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.

A hiker wearing an insulated jacket and a backpack watches the sunset over snowy mountain peaks

Walking 

Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.