Weekly Route - Pen Y Fan
The Brecon Beacons may be compact, but this circular route up the highest peak in south Wales makes for a great wild mountain day particularly in winter.
Walking Route: Pen y Fan Brecon Beacons
Taf Fechan > Tor Glas >
Pen y Fan > Corn Du > Taf Fecha
Distance: 9.1 miles (13.6
Height Gain: 2306ft (703
Overview: A circular route up South
Wales' highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons National
Maps: Ordnance Survey: Expl OL12/ LR
Photo Grade: 3
Start Point: SO
A circular route up South Wales' highest mountain in the Brecon
Beacons National Park. At 2906 ft Pen y Fan shouldn't be
underestimated; it wouldn't be out of place in Snowdonia and despite
the relatively gentle angle of ascent and descent it's a proper mountain day. In winter, in particular, it makes a fine escape to
true wild country despite the number of people you're likely to meet
along the way.
Cribyn and Pen y Fan in
the snow - Simon Chaplin from his OM
Section 1 - Taf Fechan to Bwlch Ar y Fan
Distance: 2.8 miles
Height Gain: 838ft
From the car
follow the road north west for three quarters of a mile
to the point where it splits into two paths. Take the right hand
branch at the junction, following the course of the old Roman road
alongside Taf fechan Forest.
Leave the woods behind as you slowly ascend Tor
Glas on the signposted path to Bwlch Ar y Fan. Down to your
left lie the Neuadd Reservoirs while ahead the col between Fan y Big
and Cribyn beckons.
From Bwlch Ar y Fan there's the option of a short 350 ft ascent
off to the right to the summit of Fan
y Big for those wanting to add a little extra to the walk.
Bwlch Ar y Fan marks a major crossroads in the paths with routes
heading off in all directions.
Section 2 - Bwlch Ar y Fan to Pen y Fan
Distance: 1.6 miles
Height Gain: 1298ft
From the crossroads at Bwlch Ar y Fan turn west, making sure
to take the higher of the two paths. Follow the path along the edge
of the cliffs as you ascend Cwm Cynwyn to the summit of Cribyn
Cribyn's shapely ridge -
Darrewn Salvage from his OM
From here move west down to the col before climbing again on the
ascent to the summit of Pen y Fan. The 600ft climb takes you
up Craig Cwm Sere to the summit, from where you get extensive views
north to Brecon and the Usk valley. To the south east you get views
back down the valley to your starting point.
Section 3 - Pen y Fan to Taf Fechan
Distance: 4.7 miles
Height Gain: 170ft
It's a long leg back to the start-point from the top of Pen y Fan,
beginning with a short descent to a col then a climb to the top of
Du. From here descend again to Bwlch Duwynt, another major
crossroads. From the Bwlch turn south east along the edge of Craig
Pen y Fan under snow
again - Hamish Fenton from his OM
The crags here give way to those of Craig
Fan-ddu as you slowly descend towards the reservoirs. As you
pass the end of the crags you eventually reach a cairn at SO 019 182
where a stream heads down to the reservoirs below.
Turn left at the cairn on a steep path alongside the stream to
reach the end of the lower Neuadd Reservoir. Go through the gate but
instead of following the dam turn right into the woods and alongside
Taf Fechan. The wide forest track now leads you back to the road and
your start point.
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