Crickhowell Circular via Table Mountain and the three Pens walk

Table Mountain and an airy ridge walk in the Black Mountains across three tops with a scenic descent.

Table Mountain/Crug Hywel from road before final descent SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Road Ending]

Table Mountain/Crug Hywel from road before final descent

SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Road Ending]

11-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Boundary Stones between Pen Twyn Glas and Mynydd LLysiau SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Long Route via Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr]

Boundary Stones between Pen Twyn Glas and Mynydd LLysiau

SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Long Route via Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr]

15-Jul-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Across Grwyne Fechan Valley to Three Pens, from path from Waun Fach SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Long Route via Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr]

Across Grwyne Fechan Valley to Three Pens, from path from Waun Fach

SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Long Route via Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr]

15-Jul-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr, from descent off Blaen yr Henbant SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Long Route via Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr]

Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr, from descent off Blaen yr Henbant

SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens) [Long Route via Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr]

15-Jul-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View down flank of Pen Twyn Glas towards Sugar Loaf, with Wild Pony SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens)

View down flank of Pen Twyn Glas towards Sugar Loaf, with Wild Pony

SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens)

11-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Mynydd Troed and the Dragon's Back, from Pen Allt-mawr SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens)

Mynydd Troed and the Dragon's Back, from Pen Allt-mawr

SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens)

15-Jul-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk333 walkicon 51328895289

Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr, from Pen Twyn Glas SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens)

Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr, from Pen Twyn Glas

SWC Walk 333 - Crickhowell Circular (via Table Mountain and the Three Pens)

15-Jul-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk333 walkicon 51328896679

Length 20.4 km (12.7 mi), with 973m ascent/descent. For a shorter or longer walk see below Walk Options

Toughness

8 out of 10, with 6 hours walking time.

Walk Notes

From the centre of the rightly popular town of Crickhowell, within minutes you rise up steeply (with an 12% average gradient) for 3 km – mainly through pastures – to the excellent viewpoint that is the eponymous Iron Age hillfort site of Crug Hywel (or Table Mountain), which gives its name to the town and towers above the Usk Valley. You ascend further up the flank of the main mountain range above the town to Pen Cerrig-calch, the first of three high tops along the ridge. Continue to the slightly higher second top, Pen Allt-mawr and down to the third top, Pen Twyn Glas. The further descent now follows the easterly spur of the range with a gentle gradient and some fantastic views to the valleys either side and out to Sugarloaf/Y Fâl. A short stretch of road walking is followed by a re-ascent up to the col between Table Mountain and Pen Cerrig-calch and then follows the Beacons Way contouring the hill for a while before dropping down to town through the ancient woodland of the Cwm Cumbeth, with the bubbling Cumbeth Brook never far away. The route finishes through the heart of Crickhowell past most of its tea options.

Shorter walks, descending back to town on westerly loops from either Table Mountain, Pen Cerrig-calch or Pen Allt-mawr, are described.
An out-and-back extension to Waun Fach, the highest top in the Black Mountains, or a variation past it and down its main easterly spur, are described.

Walk Options

A Very Short Walk leads back down to town from the Table Mountain, on a westerly loop along the Beacons Way and down the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (7.5 km/4.6 mi, 389m ascent).
A Short Walk leads in a westerly loop from either Pen Cerrig-calch or Pen Allt-mawr (the latter route partly map-led) and down the lower part of the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (11.5 km/7.2 mi, 658m ascent; or 16.5 km/10.3 mi, 741m ascent).
A Variation of the Ending continues along Llanbedr Lane, entirely on tarmac, cutting out the re-ascent to the Crug Hywel and the descent down the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (cuts 1.5 km and 217m ascent).
A Variation of the Variation diverts to a pub in Llanbedr for refreshments (add 530m and 26m ascent).
An out-and-back Extension from the last of the Pens to Waun Fach, the highest top in the Black Mountains, results in a 31.0 km/19.2 mi walk with 1402m ascent/descent (10/10).
A Longer Route, out to Waun Fach and then along its easterly ridge to Llanbedr village and along roads to Crickhowell, has 31.5 km/19.6 mi and 1127m ascent/descent (10/10).
A sheltered dropout route avoiding the final ascent to the Waun Fach and Pen y Gadair Fawr ridge in the event of the weather turning, is described.

Maps

OS Explorer: OL13 (Brecon Beacons National Park – Eastern Area)
OS Landranger: 160 (Brecon Beacons)
Harvey Superwalker XT25: Breacon Beacons East/Bannau Brycheiniog Dwyrain
Harvey British Mountain Map: Breacon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog

Travel

Crickhowell Square Bus Stop, map reference SO 218 183, is 221 km west northwest of Charing Cross, 89m above sea level and in Powys, Wales. Crickhowell is served by lines 43/X43 (Abergavenny – Brecon) with 12 buses a day Mon-Sat and 5 on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Saturday Walkers’ Club: This walk is doable as a daywalk from London, especially if you have motorised transport, but also if taking a train to Abergavenny to connect to above bus service.

Lunch

Picnic.

Tea

The Red Lion Llanbedr, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1SR (01873 810 754). The Red Lion is located 3.3 km from the end of the variation of the variation of the ending.
The Swan Inn 10 Llanbedr Road, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1BT (01873 810 858). The Swan is located 400m from the end of the walk on the alternative (road) ending.
The Dragon Inn 47 High Street, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1BE (01873 810 362).
The Bridge End Inn Bridge Street, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1AR (01873 810 338). The Bridge End Inn is located 360m off route.
The Bear Hotel Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1BW (01873 810 408). The Bear is located at the end of the walk and a former coaching inn with 500 years of history. Large and welcoming.
Several Cafés in Crickhowell, see the walk directions for names and locations.

Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons National Park is in south Wales. It consists of bare, grassy, glacial mountains, with north facing escarpments. Its peaks, just shy of 1,000m (3,000ft), are the highest mountains in the southern UK. The national park is also noted for reservoirs, and the Dan yr Ogof caves. Its 4 mountain areas, from west to east are:

  • The Black Mountain (singular!) : Fan Brycheiniog (803m) and the Dan yr Ogof caves.
  • Fforest Fawr : Fan Gyhirych (725m), Fan Nedd (663m), Fan Fawr (734m), and the Henrhyd waterfalls (Sgwd Henrhyd)
  • The Brecon Beacons : Pen y Fan (886m), Corn Du (873m), Cribyn (795m), Fan y Big (719m), Waun Rydd (769m). South of Brecon, north of Merthyr Tydfil.
  • The Black Mountains (plural!) : Waun Fach (811m), Black Mountain (703m). Abergavenny to the south. Hay-on-Wye to the north.

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Start Crickhowell, Wales Map Directions

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Aug-21 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk