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: 5
Total steps: 5
Pont ar Daf car park, grid ref: SN988199.
Take the footpath at the southern end of the car park, pass through the kissing gate and cross the wooden footbridge over the river. From here, follow the footpath uphill towards Bwlch Duwynt.
Pre-Roman footpath construction
As you take this steady climb up the footpath you'll notice the different methods of footpath construction used on the Brecon Beacons. The gullies on the uphill side of the path take the water flowing downhill to suitable crossing points where we have constructed culverts; this keeps most of the water off the footpath and prevents erosion. Some of the footpath has been stone pitched. This method of creating a hardwearing surface pre-dates Roman times, but is costly and very time consuming.
Once you reach Bwlch Duwynt (which means 'Windy Pass' in Welsh), take the footpath at about 11 o'clock which leads across the southern slope of Corn Du. You'll soon reach the saddle between Corn Du and Pen y Fan. From here there are spectacular views to the south, down the Neuadd Valley to the reservoirs that are above Merthyr Tydfil. Continue along the footpath for the last push to the summit of southern Britain's highest mountain – Pen y Fan – at 2,906 feet (886m).
Pen y Fan
Pen y Fan is the highest mountain in southern Britain. Deservedly popular with walkers, the views from the summit are truly spectacular. It's often seen as the terminus of many walks but there are plenty of other Beacons worth exploring too.
Once you've finished taking in the views, retrace your steps to the saddle in between Pen y Fan and Corn Du, and bear right, making your way up the pitched footpath to the summit of Corn Du. The footpath on your left would take you back to Bwlch Duwynt and onto the car park. Once you've reached the summit of Corn Du, descend and take the footpath to your right, following the ridge.
Bronze Age burial chamber
The cairn on the summit was a Bronze Age burial chamber. When it was excavated in 1991 a bronze brooch and spearhead were found inside the chamber. From this spot, the views are spectacular when weather permits. To the north, the town of Brecon can be seen and on a particularly good day the summit of Cadair Idris is just visible. Looking east you can just make out the Sugar Loaf in the far distance, and to the south-west the Bristol Channel at Porthcawl can be seen on a bright day.
Leave Corn Du from the northern end and climb down the steep section to reach the pitched path below which heads towards the obelisk. Re-trace your steps back from the obelisk to where the path divides. Take the permissive path that heads down towards the stream, Blaen Taf Fawr. Once across the stream, head upwards, following the path to the gate on Y Gyrn.
Tommy Jones' obelisk
Looking north-west from here into the Cwm Llwch valley is Llyn Cwm Llwch, and Tommy Jones' obelisk further along the ridge line.
Keep following the path and descend towards Storey Arms. Follow the tarmacked footpath in front of the Storey Arms Education Centre, leading to a kissing gate, taking you onto a track that leads back to the car park.
Pont ar Daf car park, grid ref: SN988199
A mixture of flat and rocky terrain as you follow this moderate circular walk to the top of southern Britain's highest mountain Pen y Fan on well-made upland footpaths.
Pont ar Daf, Brecon Beacons
Merthyr Tydfil station 12 miles (19km), Abergavenny station 30 miles (48km). Links from both stations with X43 bus.
Cardiff to Newtown alights at Storey Arms.
National Cycle Network Route 8 (Lon Las Cymru) travels along the western and eastern fringes of the property from Brecon and also approaches the property from the north, from Talybont-on-Usk to the east and Cardiff from the south.
The Taff Trail travels along the western and eastern fringes of the property from Brecon and also approaches the property from the north, from Talybont-on-Usk to the east and Cardiff from the south. The infamous Gap Road, the highest trail in England and Wales, crosses the property and joins the trail at Torpantau.
8 miles (13km) from Brecon on A470, Brecon to Cardiff.
Dogs welcome as long as they are kept under close control.
Please note there are limited parking spaces available at Pont ar Daf. Use public transport where possible. Several bus routes pass Pont ar Daf.
Access to pathways and open space can be by gate or stile.
Mountain paths are sloped, uneven and a mixture of grass, gravelled and stone pitched surfaces, which vary in width.
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