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

swcwalks swcwalk333 banner

Table Mountain, from ascent of Pen Cerrig-calch

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

11-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk333 walkicon

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

swcwalks swcwalk333 walkicon

Waun Fach from flank of Pen Twyn Glas, with Wild Pony

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

11-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk333 walkicon

First View: Table Mountain and Pen Cerrig-calch

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

11-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk333

Above the houses of Crockhowell: Table Mountain

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

11-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk333

Great Oak Road: Wooden Statue in Garden looking out to Pen Cerrig-calch

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

11-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk333

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.

Draft [May-19] Under construction....expected done by end Q219.
Length 20.5 km (12.8 mi). Cumulative ascent/descent: 980m. For a shorter walk, see below Walk options.

Start & Finish: Crickhowell Square Bus Stop.

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.


9 out of 10. Time: 6 hours walking time.


Crickhowell is served by lines 43/X43 (Abergavenny – Brecon) with 13-15 buses a day Mon-Fri, 11-13 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.


OS Landranger Map: 160 (Brecon Beacons)

OS Explorer Map: OL13 (Brecon Beacons National Park – Eastern Area)

Walk Notes

…to be written…


A Short Walk leads back down to town from the first of the Pens, Pen Cerrig-calch, on a westerly loop past the Darren (cliff) and down the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (xx.x km/x.x mi, xxxm ascent, x/10).

A Very Short Walk leads back down to town from the first top, Table Mountain/Crug Hywel, on a westerly loop along the Beacons Way and down the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (x.x km/x.x mi, xxxm ascent, x/10).

A Variation of the Ending into Crickhowell continues along Llanbedr Lane on the level, entirely on tarmac, cutting out the re-ascent to the Crug Hywel and the subsequent descent down the wooded Cwm Cumbeth (cuts xxxm and xxxm ascent, x/10).

A Variation of the Variation diverts to Llanbedr to The Red Lion pub for refreshments (add 530m and 26m ascent).




The Red Lion Llanbedr, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1SR (01873 810 754). The Red Lion is located xxxm off route, x.x km from the end of the walk on the variation of the variation of the ending. Open Tue-Fri evenings and all day Sat-Sun.
The Swan Inn 10 Llanbedr Road, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1BT (01873 810 858). The Swan is located xxxm from the end of the walk.
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.
The Beaufort Inn Beaufort Street, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1AD (01873 812 585).
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).

Welsh Glossary

aber: estuary, confluence, river mouth; afon: river; allt: hillside, cliff; aran: high place; bach: small; ban/fan/bannau (pl): peak, beacon, crest, hill, mountain; big: peak; blaen: source of river, head of valley; bod: dwelling; bre: hill; bron: hill-breast; bryn: hill; bwlch: gap, col, pass; cadair: chair; cae: field; caer/gaer: stronghold, fort; capel: chapel; carn/garn/carnedd/garnedd: cairn/heap of stones, tumulus; carreg/garreg: stone, rock; cefn: ridge, hillside; castell: castle; celli: grove, copse; cerwyn: pot-hole; cist: chest; clwyd: hurdle, gate; clog/clogwyn: cliff; clun: meadow; clydach: torrent; coch/goch: red; coed: wood; craig/graig: rock; crib/cribyn: crest, ridge, summit; crug: mound; cul: narrow; cwm: hangingvalley, corrie, bowl, dale; cyfrwy: ridge between two summits (saddle); ddinas: fort; dibyn: steep slope, precipice; diffwys: precipice, abyss; dim: no; din: hill-fortress: disgwylfa: place of observation, look-out point; dôl: meadow; du/ddu: black, dark; dwfr/dŵr: water; dyffryn: valley; -dyn: fortified enclosure; eglwys: church; eisteddfod: meeting-place, assembly; esgair: ridge; fach: small; fawr/mawr: big; fechan: smaller; ffald: sheep-fold, pound, pen, run; ffordd: road; ffridd: pasture; ffrwd: stream, torrent; ffynnon: spring, well; gallt: wooded hill; ganol: middle; garth: promontory, hill, enclosure; glan/lan: river-bank, hillock; glas: green, when referring to grass, pasture or leaves; or blue, when relating to the sea or air; glyn: deep valley, glen; gors: bog; gorsedd: tumulus, barrow, hillock; gwyddfa: mound, tumulus; gwylfa: look-out point; gwyn/gwen: white; gwynt: wind; hafn: gorge, ravine; hafod: summer dwelling; hen: old; hendre(f): winter dwelling, old home, permanent abode; heol: road; hesgyn: bog; hir: long; is: below, lower; llan: church, monastery; llawr: level area, floor of valley; llech: slab, stone, rock, rock; llther: slope; lluest: shieling, cottage, hut; llwch: lake, dust; llwybr: path; llwyd: grey, brown; llwyn: bush, grove; llyn: lake; llynwyn: pool, puddle, moat; isa(f): lower, lowest; maen: stone; maes: open field, plain: mawn: peat; mawnog: peat-bog; melyn: yellow; merthyr: burial place, church; moel/foel: bare, bald/bare hill; mynydd: mountain, moorland; nant: brook, stream, dingle, glen; neuadd: hall; newydd: new; ogof/gogof: cave; pant: hollow; parc: park, field, enclosure; pen: head, top, end, edge; penrhyn: promontory; pentre(f): homestead, village; perfedd: middle; perth: bush, brake, hedge; plas: hall, mansion; pont/bont: bridge; porth: gate, gateway, harbour, bay, landing-place, ferry; pwll: pit, pool; rhiw: hill, slope; rhos: moor, promontory; rhudd: red, crimson; rhyd: ford; sarn: causeway; sgwd/rhaeadr: waterfall; sticill: stile; sych: dry; tafarn: tavern; tâl: end, top; talar: headland (of field); tan/dan: below; tarren/darren: escarpment; tir: land, territory; tor: break, gap; tre/tref: settlement, hamlet, town; twlch: tump, knoll; twll: hole, pit; tŵr: tower; tŷ: house; twyn: hill; uchaf: upper, highest; uwch: above, over; waun/gwaun: moorland, meadow; wen/wyn: white; y, yr, ‘r: the; ynys: island, holm, river-meadow; ysgol: ladder, formation on mountain-side/school; ysgwydd: shoulder (of mountain); ystafell: chamber, hiding-place; ystrad: wide valley, holm, river-meadow.


Crug Hywel/Table Mountain
Crug Hywel (Table Mountain in English) is a flat-topped mountain at the southern edge of the Black Mountains. It rises to 451m above sea, from the southern flank of Pen Cerrig-calch (701m), and overlooks the town of Crickhowell, to which it gives its name. Crug Hywel's summit is entirely taken up by an Iron Age Celtic hillfort, with a clearly visible earth and stone ditch and rampart.
The hill is formed from Old Red Sandstone originating in the Devonian period, specifically the sandstones of the Brownstones Formation, topped by rocks of the Quartz Conglomerate Group. The whole mass of rocks forming this outlier of Pen Cerrig-calch can readily be seen to dip more sharply to the south than nearby strata and is considered to be an excellent example of a translational landslide.

Pen Cerrig-calch
Pen Cerrig-calch is the southernmost 2000ft summit in the Black Mountains and a subsidiary summit of Waun Fach. It reaches a height of 701m and sits high above the Usk Valley where it narrows above the small town of Crickhowell. It is a very fine viewpoint, with the views extending as far as the Beacons themselves to the west, but mainly along and across the Usk Valley to the Llangattock/Llangynidr hills and down to the Blorenge and Sugar Loaf/Y Fâl by Abergavenny. A ridge runs off to the northwest and the shoulder of Pen Gloch-y-pibwr then turns north to the secondary top of Pen Allt-mawr whose peak is higher, at 719m above sea.
Like all of the hills in the Black Mountains, Pen Cerrig-calch is formed from mudstones and sandstones of the Old Red Sandstone laid down during the Devonian period but it is unusual in having a band of Carboniferous Limestone outcropping around the summit and giving rise to a few shakeholes. A classic example of an outlier, the name of the hill reflects this situation: it translates as 'top of the limestone rock'. It is believed to have been part of the same landmass as the Llangattock/Llangynidr Hills before the Usk Valley separating them now was carved out by glaciers. There are ancient cairns on each of the main tops and small disused quarries once worked for the Old Red Sandstone across the hill's lower slopes.

Beacons Way
The Beacons Way is a 152 km (95 mi) linear waymarked long-distance footpath running east to west across the Brecon Beacons National Park. It passes many of the most important landmarks and mountain peaks in the range, but has limited waymarking, especially on open hill and moorland sections, meaning navigation skills are essential. First established in 2005, the route was revised in 2016.

The Black Mountains/Y Mynyddoedd Duon

The Black Mountains (Welsh: Y Mynyddoedd Duon) are a group of hills spread across parts of Powys and Monmouthshire, and extending across the border into Herefordshire. They are the easternmost of the four hill ranges that comprise the Brecon Beacons National Park. The Black Mountains may be roughly defined as those hills contained within a triangle defined by the towns of Abergavenny in the southeast, Hay-on-Wye in the north and the village of Llangors in the west. Other gateway towns to the Black Mountains include Talgarth and Crickhowell. The highest mountain in the group is Waun Fach at a height of 811m above sea.

Usk Valley/River Usk (AfonWysg)
The River Usk (Afon Wysg in Welsh) rises on the northern slopes of The Black Mountain (Y Mynydd Du in Welsh), in the westernmost part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, initially forming the boundary between Carmarthenshire and Powys. It flows north into Usk Reservoir, then east by Sennybridge to Brecon before turning southeast to flow by Talybont-on-Usk, Crickhowell and Abergavenny after which it takes a more southerly course. Beyond the eponymous town of Usk it passes the Roman legionary fortress of Caerleon to flow through the heart of the city of Newport and into the Severn estuary at Uskmouth at Newport Wetlands. Its total length is 102 km/63 mi.
The name of the river derives from a Common Brittonic word meaning "abounding in fish" or "water", which also appears in other river names such as Exe, Axe, Esk and other variants.
The whole river downstream of Usk Reservoir has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has long been a noted salmon and trout fishing river.

Brecon Beacons National Park
Home to spectacular landscapes, a rich variety of wildlife and fascinating cultural and geological heritage, the Brecon Beacons National Park in Mid-Wales boasts a magnificent array of Old Red Sandstone peaks, open moorland and green valleys, spanning 1,344 km2 (520 mi2). Pen y Fan within the Central Beacons is perhaps the best-known summit but there are many others in the five distinct parts of the National Park (Black Mountain (Y Mynydd Du) in the far west, Fforest Fawr, Central Beacons, the Llangattock and Llangynidr Hills, and the Black Mountains to the east).

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.

Our Brecon Beacons Walks

Help Us!

After the walk, we would love to get your feedback

You can upload photos to the SWC Group on Flickr, and videos to Youtube. This walk's tags are:

By Car

Start Crickhowell, Wales Map Directions


Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only.

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