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The majestic Brecon Beacons mountains holiday cottages

The majestic Brecon Beacons mountains

Kate A 06 March 2020

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

Rippling dramatically through the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park are some of the most majestic mountains in all of Wales. A playground for the adventurer, these lofty peaks of grass and heather rise above wooded, waterfall-splashed valleys and are endlessly exciting to explore.

Dominating the centre of the national park are the six main towering pinnacles of the Brecon Beacons, whose most celebrated peaks, Pen y Fan and Cribyn, are the highest in southern Britain. There is also the wider area of the Black Mountains in the east and the Black Mountain in the west, offering a wealth of heights for hill-lovers to conquer.

Whether you fancy the ultimate trekking challenge up a sweeping ridge or would prefer something a little gentler, we have chosen a few of our favourite Brecon Beacons mountains that will have you reaching for your walking boots in no time! And don’t forget to click the button below to browse our cosy cottages nearby.

Pen y Fan (886m)

Pen y Fan

Standing proud as the highest summit in the Beacons, reaching 886 metres to the heavens, Pen y Fan offers some of the most dramatic views in all of Wales. The tip of this mighty peak is marked by a well-preserved Bronze Age cairn, and there are various lung-busting routes for hikers to ascend the mountain. While this might not be one for the faint-hearted, if you do reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramas over the Bristol Channel, Gower Peninsula and the Cambrian Mountains.

If you fancy a climb…

If conquering the highest mountain in South Wales is on your bucket list, then there are plenty of options to reach the top. For a quieter and more scenic route, take the path up from Taf Fechan Forest past Neuadd Reservoir. Known as the Horseshoe Ridge Walk, this challenging 10-mile trek weaves ever upwards across moorlands, past grazing sheep and curious horses, and includes some of the most popular mountains in the Brecon Beacons: Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyn and Fan y Big.

Nearest cottage to rest your feet: Little Free Street Cottage | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

‚ÄčCorn Du (873m)

Corn Du

Very similar in shape and height, Corn Du is Pen y Fan's twin. Technically these two Brecon Beacons mountains are joined, but there is sufficient distance and loss in elevation for Corn Du to be a mountain in its own right. Together, these two enormous peaks dominate the landscape for miles around and make up one of the most recognisable skylines in the UK. At 873 metres high, the summit is large and flat, and the views looking down onto photogenic Llyn Cwm Llwch, a near-circular tarn, are breathtaking.

If you fancy a climb…

Since Corn Du and Pen y Fan are so closely linked, most walkers tend to combine both summits on a hike. The easiest and most popular walk is the 4-mile circular trail from the Storey Arms outdoor education centre or Pont ar Daf car park, although it can get quite busy during peak times.

Nearest cottage to rest your feet: Belle Vue Cottage | Sleeps 10 + 2 dogs

Cribyn (795m)

Cribyn

This verdant, pyramidal mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park is often overshadowed by its towering neighbours of Pen y Fan and Corn Du, but it’s well worth the climb. A prominent summit with a steep ascent from the north-east, Cribyn reaches a height of 795 metres. The angular mount affords spectacular vistas over the surrounding countryside, offering ample photographic opportunities. It’s also a far less busy summit than its neighbouring Welsh mountains.

If you fancy a climb…

Avoid the crowds by parking at Llanfrynach and following the Three Rivers Ride route to the base of Bryn Teg, a ridge that leads up to Cribyn. As you traverse this 11.5-mile walking trail, look out for peregrine falcons, buzzards and red kites swooping gracefully above the national park’s monoliths.

Nearest cottage to rest your feet: The Bothy | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Waun Rydd (769m)

Waun Rydd
Waun Rydd credit: Instagram @imleonbrown

 

The summit of Waun Rydd marks the eastern end of the Beacons escarpment and makes an excellent viewpoint for the Beacons to the west and the Black Mountains to the east. Reaching a height of 769 metres, this Brecon Beacons mountain takes the form of a plateau with sharp rims on several sides. Be sure to take your camera as there are gorgeous views over rolling green hills peppered with small turquoise lakes left by glaciers of centuries past.

If you fancy a climb…

One for experienced walkers, the circular climb from Talybont Reservoir is just over 7 miles. It features a steep start, then levels off before another steep ascent to the peak of the mountain – the views of Pen y Fan will reward your efforts. 

Nearest cottage to rest your feet: Bach Cottage | Sleeps 2

Waun Fach (811m)

Waun Fach
Waun Fach credit: Instagram @wjj_86

 

The highest mountain in the Black Mountains, Waun Fach stands at a grand 811 metres and is topped by flat, damp moorland. This unique environment is, in fact, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to golden plover, rare cotton grass, swooping skylarks and meadow pipits who use the rugged moor as a nesting site. Two of the six rivers of the Black Mountains also begin life here.

If you fancy a climb…

For those who appreciate a challenging trek, there is a 7-mile route from the Iron Age hillfort at Castell Dinas. Along the way, you might spot some wild ponies roaming freely and when you reach the summit, there are spectacular views over the Brecon Beacons to drink in, including Rhos Fawr and the Radnor Forest.

Nearest cottage to rest your feet: Hay Bluff House | Sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

Sugar Loaf (596m)

Sugar Loaf

Also situated among the rounded humps of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons is Sugar Loaf, an iconic peak rising to a modest 596 metres. Pinched at its crest, this irresistibly perfect mountain in Wales is accessed by soft slopes on all sides. From its conical summit, there are mesmerising views across the Usk Valley and in the summer the hillside is a haven for wildlife, carpeted in wildflowers, heather and bracken. You might also come across some cheeky mountain sheep who are known to be partial to a sandwich or two – you have been warned!

If you fancy a climb…

A satisfying little peak to conquer, the Sugar Loaf can be reached via lush pastures and ancient oak woodlands on a 4-mile circular trail. Starting at Llanwenarth car park in Abergavenny, the Sugar Loaf Circuit offers an exhilarating climb to the top of this wonderful Welsh peak and on a clear day, you can see as far as Somerset. Look out for singing skylarks, buzzards and the occasional red kite soaring overhead.

Nearest cottage to rest your feet: Tumbles End Barn | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Useful information

Brecon Beacons mountain weather

Hiking the Brecon Beacons

No matter how experienced a hiker you may be, it’s always vital to check the weather forecast before attempting to ascend any of the mountains in the Brecon Beacons. The peaks can be extremely dangerous in fog, winds and storms, and on hot days you’ll need sunblock and plenty of water. As the weather can change rapidly on a mountain, we recommend packing the following in a small backpack:

  • Lightweight fleece or jacket
  • Raincoat with hood
  • Woollen hat and gloves
  • Sturdy shoes with a decent grip
  • Plenty of water (at least 2 litres in the summer)
  • Small snacks to enjoy at the top
  • First aid kit
  • Map and compass
  • Sun protection (glasses, hat, sunscreen)
  • Trekking poles to assist walking

Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre

Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre
Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre credit: Instagram @hannahrose.r

 

To get the most out of your visit, head to the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre or ‘Mountain Centre’ in Powys where a friendly team of knowledgeable information officers are on-hand to help plan your mountaineering expedition. You can refuel before or after a hike in their tearooms and there’s a shop if you need any last-minute essentials such as maps, guides and walking equipment.

Brecon Mountain Railway

Brecon Mountain Railway

If you don’t fancy donning a pair of walking boots but would still like to experience the beauty of the Brecon Beacons mountain range, then the Brecon Mountain Railway is a much more relaxing way to soak up the sights, especially if you’re holidaying with young children. Hop aboard one of the vintage steam locomotives at the main station in Pant and drink in the views from an all-weather observation carriage as you chug along.

The enchanting journey takes you deep into the Brecon Beacons National Park through Pontsticill Station and alongside the Taf Fechan Reservoir to Dolygaer before climbing to Torpantau, high in the Brecon Beacons. At Pontsticill, you can stop for a slice of sticky cake in the café while admiring the breathtaking scenery across the reservoir towards the distant peaks of Pen y Fan, followed by a ramble along the water’s edge.

Brecon Beacons accommodation

Patrishow Farm
Patrishow Farm, sleeps 8 + 2 dogs

 

Which of these Brecon Beacons mountains do you fancy seeing on your next holiday in South Wales? We’ve got a great selection of warm and cosy cottages dotted across the national park where you can unwind in blissful comfort after adventures in the great outdoors. The perfect tonic after a long walk, some boast bubbling hot tubs, crackling wood burners and deep roll-top baths. Click the button below to browse our full collection of holiday cottages in the Brecon Beacons.

 

For more inspiration for your Brecon Beacons holiday, have a read of our guide to the best places to visit in the Brecon Beacons.

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