The Brecon Beacons National Park is one of three National Parks in Wales. As with all the National Parks in the UK, there are plenty of amazing walks to do so planning a 3-day walking trip can be overwhelming trying to decide which are the best walks in the Brecon Beacons!
The Brecon Beacons was the last National Park that I visited in Wales on my UK Hiking Challenge. After already visiting the Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia National Park, I didn’t have many expectations for what the Brecon Beacons had to offer. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. In just 3 days, walking in the Brecon Beacons took my breath away with its stunning landscapes, different to what I’d seen so far.
walking in the Brecon Beacons took my breath away
The walks in this 3-day itinerary fit with the location where I was staying, east of the National Park. During my three day trip in the Brecon Beacons, I first stayed at the Star Bunkhouse in a village called Bwlch, located near the centre of the National Park.
Then I moved on to the larger town of Abergavenny at the Angel Hotel which is outside the east boundary of the Brecon Beacons. Both are wonderful places to base yourself for some epic exploring of this National Park and there are plenty of things to do around both areas.
This is the 3-day walking itinerary of my best walks in the Brecon Beacons. Hope you enjoy too!
Also included you’ll find the walk grid reference, where to park at the start of your of your walks, how far and how long each walk will take, the OS map for each walk, plus a few of my useful hints and tips so you enjoy your day in the Brecon Beacons. 🙂
A few facts about the Brecon Beacons National Park*
Before you read about these awesome walks in the Brecon Beacons, here are a few fun facts. How many did you know?
- The Brecon Beacons was designated in 1957
- It is 1,344 sq km/ 835 sq miles
- And has a population of 32,000
- The highest point is Pen y Fan at 2,907 ft/ 886 m (and most popular walk)
- Each year over 4.1 million people visit the Brecon Beacons National Park
walks in the Brecon Beacons: Day 1
Craig Cerrig Gleisiad morning hike
Walk distance: 3.5 km/ 2 miles
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Map: OS Explorer OL12 – Brecon Beacons National Park West
Starting Grid reference: SN 971 222
Parking: Lay-by on west side of A470 (Merthyr Tdfil to Brecon Road)
This is a lovely steep but short circular walk, with some breathtaking views of the Brecon Beacons including Pen y Fan (which I hiked later the day). And demonstrates the fascinating history of this area in the Brecon Beacons.
Back in the ice age, a glacier carved out the valley. And as it melted about 18,000 years ago it exposed the steep rock walls of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad. Several years later, there were many landslides where rocks cascaded down. Up until 11,500 years ago, there was also a smaller glacier, which has now left a series of small ridges of rocks and debris called moraines. The hollow from the glacier is now a bog at the base of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad! Better to avoid on your walk!
After you’ve walked through the gate, you have two choices, right or left. I took the path on the right which takes a steeper route directly up to the ridge. Alternatively, you can opt for a more gradual walk up on the left. I would rather hike up a steep slope than attempt to walk down it, especially as the paths are muddy and slippy. So take care hiking on the way up (and down!)
Once you’ve reached the top of the ridge there are wonderful views of the Brecon Beacons. This is one of the best walks in the Brecon Beacons for looking across to Pen y Fan, the highest point in the National Park.
An afternoon Hiking the Brecon Beacons three peaks – Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn
Walk distance: 10.5 km/ 6.5 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
Map: OS Explorer OL12 – Brecon Beacons National Park West
Starting Grid reference: SN 988 199
Parking: ‘Pont ar Daf’ lay-by or Story Arms down the road on A470
Pen y Fan is the highest mountain in South Wales and a popular day hike in the Brecon Beacons National Park (some say it’s the best walk in the Brecon Beacons but I will let you decide). Setting off from Pont ar Daf I could see the path leading to the summit straight away. Always a great feeling to see where you are heading to the mountain summit (in good weather of course!)
a popular day hike in the Brecon Beacons National Park
At Pont ar Daf car park, there is a mobile refreshment stand serving hot drinks and food. Then you can begin your hike up the main path. The Pen y Fan walking route I did was a circular walk but you can also hike up and down the same route via this path.
Before you reach the top of Pen y Fan (886 m/ 2,907 ft), the path takes you up to the second highest mountain in South Wales Corn Du (873 m/ 2,864 ft). So it’s two mountains for the price of one!
Extra walk option
If you want to shorten your hike, maybe if the weather isn’t good or your legs have given up on you! You can miss out the hike up and down Cribyn (795 m/ 2,608 ft). But I really loved this extra hike, it’s not as high as Pen y Fan or Corn Du but it gives you some gorgeous views looking back.
It’s about 3 km so an extra 45 minutes walk but on a beautiful sunny day, it gives you the best views of Brecon Beacons.
You might like to read – Attempting the Welsh 3000s Challenge in Snowdonia
walks in the Brecon Beacons: Day 2
Llangors Lake circular walk (Bwlch with Altitude)
Walk distance: 19 km/ 12 miles (Extended walk – 21 km/ 13 miles)
Time: 5-6 hours
Map: OL13 Brecon Beacons National Park East
Grid reference: 14869 22020
Parking: Street parking (limited options – Darren Road or by the A40/B4560 junction by The Gate Shop & Bwlch Village Hall)
This circular walk starts from The Star Bunkhouse, with a steep climb up. But after 10 minutes of walking it is all worth it as you reach the top and make your way along the ridge, the views are stunning.
Walk straight along the path, past several bridleways. The path then curves around to the left and you head up to the summit where there’s a very fancy trig point! It takes about 45-60 minutes to reach here.
Continue along the ridge and watch out for wild ponies on the path. A group appeared from the lower slopes but were friendly enough. It’s about 30-40 minutes following the ridge down to reach the road. Of course, depending on how many photo stops you make of Llangors Lake on the way!
This is an easy section of the walk, on the road for about 30 minutes. At the next road junction, Green area turn right. Past the Castle Inn until you reach the Church. It’s a short walk across a field fields (5-10 minutes), with the wire fence on your right until the lake comes into view. Shortly followed by the only public toilets on the walking route!
I went on a little detour here, exploring the boathouse, instead of walking across the field to the footbridge. But it was interesting to look around and only adds a few minutes to your circular walk!
Across the bridge, there’s a ‘sound machine’! You can listen to Reed Warblers and various other birds. Continue on for 15-20 minutes and you’ll come across a lovely bird hide. It was relatively quiet in autumn but I enjoyed 20 minutes inside whilst eating my sandwiches!
Through a gate and field of cows (they were there when I walked) you’ll reach the church after 15-20 minutes. As you walk towards it be sure to look up as you can see the ridge you walked along in the morning. This is a beautiful building and worth 5 minutes to stop a look inside.
Further reading for walks in Wales
Follow the country lane up for 10 minutes until you reach a right turn signposted to Pennorth 1-mile. After a relatively flat section of the route, you’ll hike back up high again for views back over the lake. Don’t forget to look behind you as you walk at the Brecon Beacon views!
This section takes about an hour until you’re back onto the main road taking you into Bwlch. There’s a small section where there’s no pavement and you need to walk on the edge but soon The Star Bunkhouse and The New Inn pub come back into view!
More walks from Bwlch, Brecon Beacons
This is one of three local walks from Bwlch. I picked up the walk leaflet from The Star Bunkhouse where I was staying. Each walk leaflet costing 20 pence. They include a very detailed map and directions for your hike. I was told this was the best walk out of the three options but maybe you can tell me if you try the other two hikes below!
The two additional walks are:
1. Bwlch with Fortitude (12 km/ 7.5 miles)
2. Bwlch with Magnitude (10.5 miles)
Walks in the Brecon Beacons: Day 3
Hike 1 – Sugar Loaf Hill in the Brecon Beacons
Walk distance: 5 km/ 3 miles
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Map: OL13 Brecon Beacons National Park East
Starting Grid reference: 269 167
Parking: Sugar Loaf Car Park (nearest postcode NP7 7LA)*
*This postcode doesn’t take you directly to the car park. Please use as a guide. Follow the signs for Sugar Loaf Vineyard and then continue 1.5 miles uphill
There are many routes up and down Sugar Loaf. I opted for a slightly more challenging walk up. Taking a downhill path off the main path into some woods with very cool twisted trees. Before then had a steep uphill climb.
However, you can opt for a steadier incline and decline if you opt for the wider paths. On a clear day, you can see dots in the distance of people making their way up and down to the summit. This is a very popular Brecon Beacon walk at the weekend.
The great thing is you can go up and down different routes but still end up at the same start point without going on too much of a detour. The picture shows one of the main paths leading to the summit. You can then walk along the top and come down the other path on the left. Both paths join at the point where I took the photo.
Want to know what hiking tripods I use on my solo hikes?
Hike 2 – The Blorenge walk
Walk distance: 10 km/ 6 miles (shorter options available)
Time: 2-3 hours
Map: OL13 Brecon Beacons National Park East
Starting Grid reference: 263 108
Parking: Foxhunter Car Park – (nearest postcode NP4 9SR)*
*There is no postcode for the car park, this is the nearest one. If you follow it all the way it will take you past the turning. My best advice is when you are close look out the radio masts you can see from the main road.
The hike takes you there and back on the same path. Perfect as you can design how long your walk is. On leaving the car park there’s a path that takes you straight to the trig point. And on a clear day, you should see this from the Foxhunter car park. Make sure you stop here for a few photos.
Then continue along the path on the other side of the trig point. This is where it starts to get a bit muddy. Mini-detours or some good jumps are required to get you round (without getting too dirty – unless you like that kind of thing!) Keep walking for about 30 minutes until you are met with beautiful views across the Brecon Beacons (again on a good day!) You should be able to see across to Sugar Loaf.
This is definitely one of the best shortest walks in the Brecon Beacons, with awesome views!
At this point, you have the option of returning back to the car park or continuing. If you keep walking, it is downhill now. Fantastic you might think, but do remember that you will need to walk back up again. Yes, I didn’t factor this into my walk!
Take the path down until you reach a road and a cattle grid. To the left of the cattle grid there’s a gate and after 100 metres another gate on your left. Take this down through the woods until you reach a pond. It’s very peaceful at the pond, a few ducks and sheep to keep you company. And this is your turnaround point. It took me about an hour to do reach the pond.
And now the easy (or maybe difficult bit) retrace your steps, back uphill to Foxhunter car park. I’m a fast walker so managed to get back in an hour but for a more leisurely pace allow 1.5 hours.
What to wear for your day hike in the Brecon Beacons?
The weather can quickly change when you are hiking in the Brecon Beacons (or anywhere in the UK). It’s best to be prepared with warm and waterproof gear. Also, good hiking boots are essential to make sure you have a great day out and enjoy your walk.
Read my full guide on what to pack for your day hike including what to wear.
Further information about the Brecon Beacons
More things to do in the Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons is a huge playground if you love the outdoors, as well as gorgeous walks there are plenty more adventurous activities that you can take part in. Here are a few other things you can do in the Brecon Beacons:
- Rock climbing and abseiling
- Mountain biking
- Horse riding
- Exploring caves underground
- Watersports – sailing, windsurfing
Check out the 25 Best Places to Visit in Wales on a Road Trip
Where to stay in the Brecon Beacons?
The Star Bunkhouse bwlch
I stayed for my first two nights at The Star Bunkhouse in Bwlch. A lovely bunkhouse with six rooms and a shared lounge and kitchen. Perfect for groups, families and solo travellers (like me!). And they allow dogs too.
Great if you are travelling on a budget as it’s self-catering so you can save money by not eating out.
To find out more about The Star Bunkhouse read my full review here.
The Angel Hotel Abergavenny
My third night was spent in the town of Abergavenny at The Angel Hotel. Perfectly matched my name so I had to stay there! A luxury boutique hotel, with the popular in-house restaurant The Oak and everyone’s favourite The Angel Bakery. Situated on Abergavenny High Street, so close to local shops and restaurants.
And a great place to base yourself for exploring the Brecon Beacon hills close by.
Read my full review of The Angel Hotel here.
Or for more options check out what deals you can find here:
For further information when you’re visiting the Brecon Beacons. Pop into their National Park Visitor Centre:
- Brecon Beacons Visitor Centre, Libanus, Brecon, LD3 8ER
Have you visited the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales? Let me know if you have any questions about my 3-days best walks in the Brecon Beacons in the comments below.
I would love to go back and do some more hiking in the Brecon Beacons so let me know what you think the best walks are so I can check them out.
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