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View of the Upper Tarell Valley from the Old Coach road on a sunny day, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Upper Tarell Valley, Brecon Beacons | © National Trust/Simon Rutherford

Upper Tarell Valley walk

Follow a glaciated valley down the 18th-century metalled track which was once the main road from the Midlands to Cardiff. This circular 5-mile walk follows a section of the Taff trail and is packed with history, passing the remains of farmsteads once inhabited during the heyday of the coach road. Enjoy views of the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) with the soaring cliffs of Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad National Nature Reserve along the way.

Spot veteran trees

Many veteran trees are visible from the old coach road running north from Storey Arms, including alder, birch, rowan and oak.

Total steps: 9

Total steps: 9

Start point

Storey Arms, grid ref: SN982203

Step 1

Start the walk from Storey Arms, the outdoor education centre. Please take note there is no public access to the building. When facing the centre take the track to the left – this is the old Brecon to Merthyr coach road. Continue down the valley towards Brecon, passing through a gate by a cattle grid until you reach a gate across the track itself.

Step 2

Pass through the second gate, continue downhill along the coach road, keeping an eye out on your left for a signpost to the Youth Hostel. Pass through the field gate at the signpost, crossing the field diagonally to your left down to the River Tarell.

Step 3

Cross the river using the wooden bridge. Just above the bridge are the remains of a Bronze Age burial chamber. Turn immediately right and follow the path keeping the river to your right, until you reach a stile.

Step 4

Cross the stile and climb a short section of steep bank. You are now on Ty Mawr Farm, a National Trust tenanted farm. Follow the path always keeping the River Tarell to your right for approximately 1.5 miles (2.4km). You will cross several stiles, bridges and fields and the edge of Ty Mawr farmyard.

Step 5

At the far end of Ty Mawr Farm, you'll cross a stile through a hedge where the path leads to a bridge across the River Tarell. Crossing the bridge, you'll come to a tarmac road. Turn right leading up and past the white cottages called Old Glanrhyd. Keeping straight ahead, follow the road for approximately 300m until you reach the entrance to Coed Carno, with an entrance board to the right. At this point, following steps 6 and 7, you have the option to take an additional route through the semi-ancient woodland up to a disused quarry with panoramic views of Tarell valley, and then back down to rejoin the old coach road. Alternatively continue to step 8.

Step 6

At the entrance to Coed Carno pass through the small gate. Follow the woodland track which winds gently uphill until a fork. At this point bear left and after 100m cross a small stream that runs over the track. Bear right uphill and look out for the waymark that directs you to the path following Beddagi stream. Take care on this section of the walk as the path is narrow, rocky and slippery in places. The stream walk rejoins the track further up. At this point cross over the track, following the path back into the woodland, over an old stone wall. Continue along this path until you cross a second stone wall with a stile leading onto the open hill.

Step 7

At this point, stay in the woodland climbing uphill with the boundary wall on your left. After approximately 100m you will reach the disused quarry with panoramic views of the valley. Please take care of the steep drops. From the quarry the path follows the boundary wall, crossing back and forth several times, continuing downhill until reaching a stile leading onto a track. Cross the track back into a wooded dingle, following the path downhill across the stream until you reach some wooden steps, leading back onto the old coach road and turn left. Now follow step 9, omitting step 8.

Step 8

Passing Coed Carno, continue along the road until you reach Blaenglyn Farmhouse, a National Trust tenanted farm. Keeping the farm buildings to your right you will come to the end of the tarmac road and bear left on the stone track. As you gently climb up the track, you will pass a second building to your right – this is the National Trust ranger base and Dan y Gyrn bunkhouse which is available for weekends away and working holidays. Shortly after passing Dan y Gyrn you will see some wooden steps on your left. This is where the Coed Carno loop rejoins the path.

Step 9

You are now back on the stoned metalled track of the old coach road. Follow this all the way back up to Storey Arms.

End point

Storey Arms, grid ref: SN982203

Trail map

Map of the Upper Tarell Valley walk, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Upper Tarell Valley trail map | © Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

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