The Brecon Beacons – 4 Days of Walking (with up to 4 extra days for the keen ones) Arrive in Brecon
anytime on Friday 4th of May
, either by car, or by train and bus:
· Paddington – Abergavenny plus Bus Line 43/X43
from the bottom of Station Road,
· Paddington – Merthyr Tydfil or Cardiff plus Bus Line T4,
· Paddington – Neath (or Swansea) and Bus Line T6
from Neath Bus Station [5 mins away]).
For Paddington – Abergavenny, please be aware that – to get the best prices – you have to book separate tickets Paddington – Newport (South Wales) and Newport – Abergavenny, as these lines are run by different operators. Also make sure that you arrive in good time to catch a bus to Brecon.
Stay either in Brecon (lots of B&B’s, some hotels), or in the Llwyn-y-Celyn Youth Hostel (some distance away, but on Bus Line T4) or anywhere else in the area if you have a car.
The Schedule (picnic lunch on all but one of the walks):
· Friday 4th of May
Arrival Day Walk!!!: meet at 15.00 hours for this gentle introduction into the area.
The Usk and Ysgir rivers, a Roman Fort, a low ridge, woodlands, an ancient hillfort site and a covered well (and a cathedral and an optional woodland gorge), 4 ½ hours of walking, then straight to the group dinner. Too long? Too early? Start an hour later for the short version of the walk (cuts out the low ridge), or start two hours later and just walk the woodland gorge loop (details in the pdf).
· Saturday 5th of May
Easily accessible ridge walk leading to and around South Wales’ largest natural lake then up to an Iron Age hillfort site. Great views of The Black Mountains, the Central Beacons and Llangynidr and Llangattock Hills; pub lunch. Easily accessible, but not easy, that is the main walk (10/10), but cut out the 260m ascent to Mynydd Troed, and it’s only 7/10. There is another option to cut out some of the ascent to the Iron Age hillfort site near the end. Tougher Option: head east from Mynydd Troed via its ridge and down and up Pen Tir and down and up Cefn Moel (picnic lunch). Bus 43/X43 from Brecon to Bwlch.
· Sunday 6th of May
This is a traverse of the dramatic massif of the Fforest Fawr (‘The Great Forest’, with ‘Forest’ here denoting a former Royal Hunting Ground, rather than an area full of trees), one of the least frequented parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park, linking the Black Mountain to the west with the Central Brecon Beacons to the east. 10/10, tough, no shortcuts unless you want to call a taxi to the one road that’s being crossed 2/3 through (there is some phone reception on the descent to that road).
8 of us reccied this last year on the first extra-day. Any of those people may want to join me in exploring a variation of the route, by following the Beacons Way between Penwyllt Quarry and Fan Dringarth, through the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu National Nature Reserve of Shake Holes and caves and along Sarn Helen (an old Roman Road) past an ancient standing stone (Maen Madoc) and an old Roman Camp (see route map on the webpage).
For those that want an easier walk:
The first one was a great success last year, with loads of bluebells (and also mud) and a nice lunch pub and a café at the end. Same start point as the tough walk above.
The second one is the short out-and-back walk up to Black Mountain, a longer version of which we walked last year. Same bus line as the other two walks.
· Monday 7th of May
From Brecon up to the ridge (takes about 3 hours), east along the less frequented tops and the upland peat bog plateau of the Waun Rydd (past the airplane memorial) and down into the Usk Valley to Talybont (2 pubs, but no buses on the Bank Holiday, so taxi back or follow the Monmouth & Brecon Canal).
Not so tough option: descend from Fan y Big back to Brecon, still a full day…
(infrequent bus service though on the Bank Holiday).
· 8th May to 11th May· Bus-based recce walking:
Tuesday - Llangynidr to Bwlch (up Cwm Cleisfer to source of river, across Mynydd Llangynidr shakeholes area past the Chartist Cave; descend through the Dyffryn Crawnon Nature Reserve and then over or around Tor Y Foel and past Llangynidr to Bwlch (no late buses from Llangynidr). [easier option: rtn from river source or from Chartist Cave the way you came] Bus 43/X43: out 08.56; rtn 16.28 from Llangynidr or 16.34/17.29/18.19/19.19 from Bwlch.
Wednesday - Three Cocks to Talgarth (via Felindre and Three Rivers Ride to Gospel Pass; [optional out-and-back up Hay Bluff] up Twmpa/Lord Hereford's Knob and over Rhos Dirion, descent via Sychnant Farm). Bus 39/X4: out 09.10, arrives 09.35; rtn 17.02 (arrives 17.23) or 17.20 (arrives 17.41), then the 17.58 to Abergavenny (last direct bus).
Thursday - Pandy to Llanvihangel Crucorney (up along Offa's Dyke Path across Hatterall Hill and ridge; descend to Llanthony [priory, pub, hotel restaurant]; through Vale of Ewyas to Cwmyoy [crooked church with leaning spire]; then either valley route via Stanton or hill route over Twyn Y Gaer hillfort). Bus X3: out 09.35, arrives 09.50; rtn 17.10 or 18.07.
Friday - Abergavenny Circular via Sugarloaf (various routes and lengths). No bus needed.
Evening: train from Abergavenny to London via Newport.
p.s. for a mountain weather forecast
for the area we’ll walk in, either check our very own website on the respective walk’s page, for example here
, or try the ever reliable Mountain Weather Information Service and their forecast for the Brecon Beacons here
. There are also live webcams
at the Brecon Beacons National Park’s Visitor Centre, available here
p.p.s. your options for getting out of Brecon by bus on the Sunday or the Bank Holiday Monday are fairly limited.