Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular walk

Up a tight valley to the Chartist Cave in the limestone uplands of Mynydd Llangynidr, return along the rim of the Crawnon Valley.

Clouds Rolling Down from the Waun Rydd SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

Clouds Rolling Down from the Waun Rydd

SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

08-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Lone Walker in Upper Cwm Cleisfer SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

Lone Walker in Upper Cwm Cleisfer

SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

08-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Chartist Cave on Mynydd Llangynidr SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

Chartist Cave on Mynydd Llangynidr

SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

08-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Sugar Loaf, from above Llangynidr SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

Sugar Loaf, from above Llangynidr

SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

08-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Scene from Footpath along River Usk through Llangynidr SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular [Riverside Walk Alternative]

Scene from Footpath along River Usk through Llangynidr

SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular [Riverside Walk Alternative]

10-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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...through a wooden gate in a wall into the churchyard of St. Mary & St. Cynydr, Llangynidr SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

...through a wooden gate in a wall into the churchyard of St. Mary & St. Cynydr, Llangynidr

SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

08-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Bridge over the Nant Cleisfer SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

Bridge over the Nant Cleisfer

SWC Walk 332 Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular

08-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk332 33804626348

Length

21.9 km (13.6 mi), with 781/685m ascent/descent. For a shorter walk see below Walk Options.

Toughness

7 out of 10. Time: 6 ½ hours walking time.

Walk Notes

This walk leads from Llangynidr village up along a tight valley, the Cwm Cleisfer, and onto the open limestone uplands of Mynydd Llangynidr, initially along a lane then through pastures, in the latter stages with some difficult-to-find-and-negotiate paths near the transition to the open moorland. Mynydd Llangynidr is a basically treeless undulating mountain of open limestone uplands with numerous depressions, shake holes and pits, as well as many ancient cairns (burial mounds) dotted across the moorland. You climb to the source of the Cleisfer, a perfect picnic spot, and then across the scarred landscape (map and compass come in handy) to the Chartist Cave, arguably one of Wales' most important historic monuments. The Chartists were a 19th century working-class movement for political reform and this cave is where the local group met and stored weapons before the Newport Rising of 1839.
You cross the top of the moorland hill and descend to a remote road by an active limestone quarry and pick up a former tramway for transporting goods to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal to skirt around the rim of the picturesque wooded Crawnon Valley. A stretch along a ridge high above the Talybont Reservoir is followed by a descent through lush pastures back to Llangynidr. To complete the walk, cross the Usk River and ascend to Bwlch on the other side for a return bus.

A detour near the end leads across Tor y Foel, one of the best mid-level viewpoints in the Brecon Beacons.
A variation close to the end follows a narrow path closely along the Usk River for a very bucolic stretch.

Walk Options

A start from Bwlch (with its more frequent bus service) is possible. But currently the service to Llangynidr is sufficient in the morning, and thus is a map-led option.
A Variation on the Cwm Cleisfer route circumvents an often-overgrown stretch with difficult route finding.
An Extension near the end over the Tor y Foel hill adds 250m and 113m ascent.
A Variation of the route near the end through Llangynidr leads along the rivers Crawnon and Usk to Llangynidr Bridge rather than along the canal. This is flood-prone when The Usk is in spate and has some steep and rocky bits.
A finish at the start point in Llangynidr is described but only makes sense if you arrived by car, as the last buses through the village will have left by the time you finish the walk.

Maps

OS Explorer: OL12 (Brecon Beacons NP West) and OL 13 (Brecon Beacons NP East)
OS Landranger: 160 (Brecon Beacons) and 161 (The Black Mountains)
Harvey Superwalker XT25: Breacon Beacons East/Bannau Brycheiniog Dwyrain
Harvey British Mountain Map: Breacon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog

Travel

Llangynidr Village Hall Bus Stop, map reference SO 155 196, is 14 km south east of Brecon, 218 km west northwest of Charing Cross and 123m above sea level. Bwlch All Saints Bus Stop, map reference SO 148 220, is 2.5 km north of Llangynidr and 223m above sea level. Both are in Powys, Wales. Llangynidr is served by line 43 (Abergavenny – Brecon) with 4-5 buses a day Mon-Sat only. Bwlch is served by line X43 (Abergavenny – Brecon) with 7-8 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 services.

Lunch (off route)

Tafarn-Ty-Uchaf (Top House) Trefil Road, Trefil, Tredegar, Blaneau Gwent, NP22 4HG (01495 717 690). The Top House is located 1.8 km off route, after 9.3 km/5.8 mi of walking.

Tea

The Coach & Horses Inn Cwm Crawnon Road, Llangynidr, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1LS (01874 730 245). Open all day every day. Food served 12.00-14.00 (-15.00 Sun) and 18.00-21.00. Located 3.1 km from the end of the walk.
The Walnut Tree Café Bar Coed-Yr-Ynysh Road, Llangynidr, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1NA (01874 730 309). Located 2.2 km from the end of the walk.
The Red Lion Duffryn Road, Llangynidr, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1NT (01874 730 223). Located near the start of the walk, i.e. at the other end of the village from the end of the walk route.
The New Inn Bwlch, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7RQ (01874 730 215). Located right at the end of the walk.

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

Version

Nov-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