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

Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) horseshoe ridge circular walk

Try this challenging circular upland mountain walk with the National Trust in the heart of the Bannau Brycheiniog (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 Bannau.

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

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Get in touch

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

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

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