Corn Du, Pen y Fan. the shortcut path from the col runs left-right

08-Apr-11 • Andrew Murphy

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08-Apr-11 • Andrew Murphy

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08-Apr-11 • Andrew Murphy

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08-Apr-11 • Andrew Murphy

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The way to Waun Rydd

08-Apr-11 • Andrew Murphy

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08-Apr-11 • Andrew Murphy

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Llyn Cwm Llwch from Escarpment on way up to Corn Du

SWC Walk 278 Breacon Beacons Horseshoe - Bannau Brycheiniog (Ascent from Storey Arms Car Park)

29-Jul-16 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Brecon Beacons (Pen y Fan) Horseshoe from Neuadd Reservoir walk

A classic horseshoe walk of the Brecon Beacons (Pen y Fan, Corn Du, Fan y Big) around a glacial valley, with an extension to Waun Rydd


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Tue, 29-Jan-19

Date # Post
Mon, 07-May-18 22

[Brecon Trip] Bank Holiday Walk - A Beacons Traverse: Brecon to Talybont-on-Usk (via Cribyn, Fan y Big, Waun Rydd) [New Walk Option]

Length: 22.6 km (14.0 mi) [shorter option available]
Ascent/Descent: 928/942m; Net Walking Time: 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 10 out of 10
Meet at 09.30 in the south east corner of the Morrison’s car park in Brecon’s town centre, next to the Markets Tavern and near the four-way road junction by the Bus Interchange.
This route is one of the many variations described in the pdf for the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe and following the write-up will require frequent shuffling of paper within the 19 page document (we start on page 11, immediately go to page 9, then back to 11, etc. pp.).
The route rises from the centre of Brecon up to and then across the majestic core of the Central Brecon Beacons over the two least frequented of its four table-top peaks (Cribyn and Fan y Big). You follow a clear path around a steep sided glacial valley, part of one of the best ridge walks in South Britain, featuring some spectacular views in all directions in good weather. It is exceptionally exposed to the elements though and also requires one steep descent and re-ascent, but this can be circumvented. The route then continues further along the ridge – to Waun Rydd alongside an upland bog – offering more superb views, and past a WWII airplane memorial and lastly down into the lush Usk Valley to Talybont and its pubs.
Shortcuts: Either descend from the ridge off Fan Y Big direct back to Brecon (this has only little overlap with the outward route), cuts less than a km and hardly any ascent, but spares you the journey (or walk) back from Talybont (see below); or turn right along the ridge from Cribyn to Pen Y Fan and pick up the descent route of SWC 85 (see separate walk post today) to the bus stop by the Storey Arms Centre.
Note: Unless we can get a clever car-shuttle arranged, the return from Talybont to Brecon will have to be by taxi or on foot along the Monmouth & Brecon Canal (11.7 km), due to the 43/X43 bus not running on the Bank Holiday.
Lunch: Picnic lunch.

Tea: The White Hart or The Star Inn. There is also the Talybont Stores and The Travellers Inn, although that is off route in the wrong direction.
For walk directions and options, route map, height profile, photos or gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.278.a
12 left Brecon, 7 took cars to the Upper Blaen y Glyn car park to ascend Fan y Big from there, 3 got a taxi to the end of the road up the valley nearest to Cribyn. 22 in hot and sunny weather with a welcome breeze.
On the full walk, for the first two hours of ascent, there was plenty of shade from trees and hedged paths, and for the remaining hour plus the breeze helped with the hot temperatures. We had lunch just below the top of Cribyn and one of us then turned right to descend via Pen y Fan to the Youth Hostel where he is staying. The rest mastered the descent to the pass and re ascent to Fan y Big better than feared. On that ascent we met the Blaen y Glyn starters on their descent. One of us then descended from there to Brecon to catch the 17.00 bus to Neath for a train.
On along the escarpment with fantastic views, past the WWII airplane memorial and onto the bogland plateau. Then the scenic and steep descent to Talybont where most of the others were ensconced in the garden of The Star Inn. 17.30 finish, although 4 hardcore walkers then walked on along the canal to Brecon, with dinner at The Three Horseshoes en route.
Bluebells, celandine, dandelions, tadpoles, lizards and hang gliders (not all in the same place). Pleasingly for the walk writer, plenty of the many options of this walk got tried out.
A rather fantastic day out.
While I'm on a roll I might as well comment on this one too. I was very grateful to the driver for his offer of a lift to the car park, enabling a more relaxed pace on this hot day with no bus to catch. I diverted to the top of Waun Rydd (not on the main path!) and then rejoined the group. I distinctly remember there being a tea room on the road back to Talybont but we couldn't find it so ended up in the Star, to meet most of the other groups as described.
...that tea room is from memory on the stretch of road between the car park you were at and the car park for the main walk, by the Neuadd Reservoir, somewhere around where it says 'Ystradgynwyn' on the OS map, I think.
Well that would explain why we missed it!
Sun, 30-Apr-17 30

[Brecon Trip] Sunday Extra Walk - The Brecon Beacons Horseshoe – Bannau Brycheiniog

Length: 15.3 km (9.5 mi) or 22.8 km (14.2 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 740m or 1030m; Net Walking Time: 5 hours or 7 hours
Toughness: 8/10 or 10/10
Meet at 09.30 in the south east corner of the Morrison’s car park in Brecon’s town centre, near the four-way road junction opposite the Bus Interchange (drivers: please bring your cars).
The start of the walk is at the remote Neuadd Reservoir car park, map reference SO 036 170, 9 km north of Merthyr Tydfil, when all cars have arrived. Directions: Drive north from Merthyr Tydfil, past Pontsticill, along the west side of the large Pentwyn reservoir. Where the road bends right along the top of the reservoir (near CF48 2UT), go straight on (north) along a single track tarmac lane (the Neuadd Reservoir's access road) and continue to a Brecon Beacons National Park car park.
If we do have more walkers than spaces, the ‘spare’ walkers will have to either…
Take the 10.51 bus T4 (direction Merthyr Tydfil/Cardiff) to Storey Arms, arrives 11.07, and take the alternative start from there up to the ridge (see pdf). The only return bus is at 18.03. Or…
Take one the alternative start routes from Brecon to the ridge (see pdf).
The ridge linking the four table-top peaks traversed on this walk (Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyn, Fan y Big) forms the majestic core of the Central Brecon Beacons and contains the three highest tops in South Wales. As a result, this classic horseshoe walk around a steep sided glacial valley is amongst the best ridge walks in South Britain, featuring some spectacular views in all directions.
From a remote reservoir north of Merthyr Tydfil you climb steeply to reach the ridge, from where the gradient is mostly fairly gentle over good engineered paths as you follow a sequence of steep escarpments to Corn Du and Pen y Fan. Pen y Fan is the southern-most mountain in Britain and a large glacial grassy mound with steep glacial sides. Continuing along the ridge up to Cribyn and Fan y Big requires some steep descents and re-ascents, but both tops can be circumvented.
An out-and-back extension further along the ridge – to Waun Rydd alongside an upland bog – offers more superb views, lastly along the Usk Valley. This adds 7.5 km/4.7 mi and 288m ascent.

Route finding is easy (in clear weather), as the whole of the horseshoe route is visible at all times. Despite some steep drops this walk is not scary or dangerous, but it is exceptionally exposed to the elements.

Lunch: Picnic on the ridge.
Tea: lots of choice in Brecon (see pdf) or en route to Brecon in Talybont-on-Usk (see pdf) or in Libanus.

For all walk options, a summary, route map, height profile, photos, walk directions or gpx/kml files click here.T=swc.278
30 today in initially dry but overcast then rainy weather.
The weather turned out not quite as bad as forecast, as it took to 13.30 for the first on and off drizzle to arrive, later turning to steady light rain. This meant dramatic views for the majority of the people for the majority of the walk. 3 had opted for the short ascent from the A470 by the Storey Arms to Pen y Fan, amongst them a dedicated flatland only walker.
27 drove to the remote Neuadd Reservoir. 4 fast ones sped ahead for the main walk plus Waun Rydd extension. 11 did the same long version but much slower, initially staying together with the other 12 that would then avoid tops 3 and 4 to walk the direct shortcut route back to the cars. So plenty of the many options of this walk got tried out today!
Rewarding walk on largely good paths, many engineered to avoid further erosion on this popular route.