Storey Arms to the Visitor Centre
A dramatic trek through the heart of the Brecon Beacons.
A moderate one-way walk through an inspiring mountainous landscape that’s home to rare flora and fauna. Steep descents, rocky ravines and peaceful country lanes all feature on a journey that’s packed with variety, ending at the National Park Visitor Centre.
Need to know
Length: 6½ miles (10.5km)
Time: About 3 hours
Start: Storey Arms Outdoor Education Centre (OS map ref: SO 982203)
Finish: The National Park Visitor Centre (OS map ref: SO 976261)
OS map: Explorer OL12 (1:25 000 series)
Facilities: Refreshments and toilets at the National Park Visitor Centre
Along the way
Named after local landowner Storey Maskelyne, the Storey Arms occupies some prime real estate at the heart of the Brecon Beacons. It’s now an education centre dedicated to teaching outdoor skills like hill walking, orienteering and rock climbing – you’d be hard pushed to find a better spot for such activities. Thanks to the slow scouring of glaciers during the Ice Age, this rugged landscape attracts explorers and outdoor enthusiasts from far and wide. Storey Arms lies in a key location in the National Park’s geological history. Standing at the saddle (or col) between the Tarell valley to the north and the Taf valley to the south, this was the central point of the last great ice sheet that once covered the Brecon Beacons.
Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du
The tallest and second tallest peaks in South Wales stand side by side, the 886m Pen-y-Fan outstripping its neighbour by just 13m. The flat, anvil shaped tops of both mountains – an instantly recognisable characteristic of the Brecon Beacons – are thanks to the tough Plateau Beds, the area’s most durable rock strata. These mountains create inspiration, myth and mystery – Bronze Age burial sites can be found at the summits of both Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du, while the twin peaks were once known as Cadair Arthur (Arthur’s Seat) in reference to the legendary king.
This craggy, shady National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of the Brecon Beacons National Park’s most individual and arresting sites. Gradually carved out by the inexorable motion of glaciers, the 150m-high cliffs are a dark and brooding presence – and seemingly remote, despite their proximity to the A470. This rough and rocky environment may look lonely, but there’s plenty of life in its nooks and crannies. Rare peregrine falcons have been known to nest here, and it’s home to unusual arctic-alpine plants like purple saxifrage and serrated wintergreen – the reason for Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad’s NNR status.