13.4 km (8.3 mi), of which 4.5 km are on tarmac or concrete. Cumulative ascent/descent: 270m. For alternative start points, resulting in a shorter or a longer walk, see below Walk options.
3 out of 10 Time: 4 hours walking time.
Craig y Nos Bus Stop Bus Stop is on line T6 (Swansea - Neath - Ystradgynlais – Brecon), with up to 8 buses a day Mon-Sat and up to 5 on Sundays and Bank Holidays, with a journey time of 40 mins from Neath (and 37 mins from Brecon). The journey time by train from London to Neath is from 2 ¾ hours.
Saturday Walkers’ Club: This walk is not recommended as a daywalk from London, but if based in the area for a longer stay. Accommodation is available in Craig y Nos, nearby in Glyntawe or Pen y Cae, and further along the bus line in Ystradgynlais, Sennybridge or Brecon.
|OS Maps||OS Landranger Map: 160 (Brecon Beacons) OS Explorer Map: OL12 (Brecon Beacons National Park)|
The walk starts through the Craig y Nos Country Park, an idyllic spot on the banks of the Afon Tawe (River Tawe) with its Victorian Gothic building (now a hotel), which was home to the world renowned opera singer Adelina Patti from 1878 to 1919. The route then follows quiet bridleways and country lanes with excellent views across the valley to the Cribarth mountain, to a steep cliff edge above the Tawe River which it then follows for an extended stretch, with the river running below in rapids.
You then leave the Tawe to walk up a spectacular wooded ravine, formed by the Nant Llech. The river’s name (‘Rock Slab Stream’ in English) derives from the rock strata that tilt or dip to create small waterfalls along its course, several of which can be observed from close quarters. The wooded gorge (owned and managed by the National Trust) is an Ancient Woodland, meaning many of the trees (especially on the southern bank) have never been felled. It is also a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for its humid habitat, supporting a wide range of damp-loving species. You ascend through the scenic gorge to a natural amphitheatre, carved out over millennia by the highest waterfall in South Wales, the Sgwd Henrhyd (Henrhyd Waterfall), which drops down a rocky ledge forming a water curtain you can walk behind.
From there country lanes and paths across pastures get you a prized lunch pub in Pen y Cae and then back along the bridleways and lanes of the outward route to finish with a riverside loop through the Craig y Nos Country Park to its tea rooms.
A triangular section along cliffs above the Tawe River, up the Nant Llech valley to the Henrhyd Falls and back through fields and lanes is the core of this walk. Combined with the start and finish in Craig y Nos this makes for an interesting and fulfilling, yet not too strenuous walk, complete with lunch pub and tea stop.
Alternative Starts, linking to the triangular section, are described from:
All these points are linked by the T6 bus line and can also be Alternative Finish Points.
|Lunch and Tea||
In Pen y Cae
In Craig y Nos
The Brecon Beacons is a national park 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.
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. On our 'to do' list
Help us! After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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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