Pen y Fan Circular Walk

Last Updated March 13, 2019 by . First Published in 2011.

Tackling Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, in the Brecon Beacons in preparation for climbing Ben Nevis later in the year.

Pen y Fan Circular Walk

Tackling Pen y Fan in preparation for climbing Ben Nevis later in the year, we headed over to South Wales and the Brecon Beacons to do a circular walk covering three peaks and Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales.

Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales, situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park. At 886 metres (2,907 ft) above sea-level, it is also the highest peak in Britain south of the Snowdonia mountain range. The twin summits of Pen y Fan and Corn Du were formerly referred to as Cadair Arthur or 'Arthur's Seat'.

Pen y Fan Climb 2011
Pen y Fan Climb 2011

Having not done much in the way of training this year, only doing Brent Knoll, Crooks Peak and Cheddar Gorge once each, this particular walk was very challenging for me, both in fitness and because of my knee injury.

Once we had found the car park we headed up a gravel path alongside the forest then back down a muddy stream and a small fast flowing river which we had to cross.

After the river crossing, we headed to the old Roman road but took a little detour to see the reservoir up close. We didn't take the wrong path. We met up with the Roman Road a little further up and walked towards (and up) Cribyn which was a hard, steep climb and was probably the one that did my legs in.

Pen y Fan Climb 2011
Pen y Fan Climb 2011

Marching onwards after lunch from Cribyn around the Horseshoe and up to Pen y Fan a steady steep slope that gets steeper and steeper until you reach the summit and the cairn.

After Pen y Fan there is a short descent and climb to Corn Du over a gravel path leading to a scree ascent to the top where we could see the Bronze Age burial cairn and a downed light aircraft further up the path towards Bwlchygwynt. The rest of the walk was a gentle descent through a peat bog until we reached the path down towards the forest, which pretty much consisted of climbing down a waterfall and through marshland. We reached the firm ground again by the pumping house at the reservoir then followed the path back to the Land Rover.

A challenging route but well worth it. We are planning to do this again next month for a fitness comparison!

Total Distance Walked: 10.17 miles (16.36 km)
Altitude Climbed: +1542.7 ft (470.21 metres)
Time Taken: 6 hours 45 minutes.

🖽︎ View my Pen y fan - Walking Welsh Mountains photo gallery!


If you enjoyed reading this article, or it helped you in some way, all I ask in return is you leave a comment below or share this page with your friends. Thank you.

There are no comments yet. Why not get the discussion started?

We respect your privacy, and will not make your email public. Hashed email address may be checked against Gravatar service to retrieve avatars. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.