Length: 13.4 km (8.3 mi) [longer walk options available]
Ascent/Descent: 270m; Net Walking Time: 4 hours
Meet at 10.00 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 in Craig y Nos at the bus stop. This is on the A4067, south west of Brecon, Grid Reference SN 840 153. There is a car park a few metres away at the Country Park.
In the case of more walkers than spaces, the ‘spare’ walkers will have to…
Take the 10.55 bus T6 (direction Abertawe/Swansea) to Craig y Nos, arrives 11.37. The last return bus runs at 16.03.
Very slow walkers/long lunchers should take the earlier bus in the morning at 08.55.
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.
Walk Options: Alternative Start
, further north
in Glyntawe (same bus), for a slightly longer and tougher walk (14.3 km/8.9 mi); or even longer
, by exploring a map led variation of the morning route by climbing up to the Cribarth plateau from Craig y Nos first to pick up the route in Ynyswen (with or w/o the longer start from Glyntawe). Lunch
: Pen y Cae Inn Restaurant & Gallery
(10.5 km/6.4 mi).