The Beacons circuit
The big one!
Gear up for this epic, big-view walk, which takes in the main summits and ridges of the central Brecon Beacons all in one go.
Need to know
Length: 11 miles (17.7km)
Time: Around 4–6 hours
Start and finish: Storey Arms, on A470 between Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil
OS map ref: SO 982203
OS map: Explorer OL12 (1: 25 000 series)
Facilities: Car park at Storey Arms. Toilets are located at the next car park, a few hundred metres to the south.
Along the way
This famous landmark is an understandable honeypot, located as it is on the A470 smack in the central Beacons. But don’t come expecting a pub. Storey Arms was named after landowner Storey Maskelyne and was never, as its name implies, an inn. It’s now an outdoor pursuits centre.
Tommy Jones obelisk
Little Tommy, aged just five, became lost on the night of 4 August 1900 while walking to the remote farmhouse of Cwmllwch. The obelisk, on the high ridge above Llyn Cwm Llwch, marks the spot where he collapsed and died of exposure.
The deep hollow beneath Corn Du is another of the Brecon Beacons’ many textbook geological features. This cwm, or cirque, was scooped out by grinding glaciers during the last Ice Age. Its glacial lake is another classic Ice Age feature.
You could play football up here – well, almost. The distinctive flat-topped summit of Pen-y-Fan is a Welsh icon. At 886m it’s the highest mountain in South Wales and Southern Britain (although just a mere 13m taller than neighbouring Corn Du), and a place of pilgrimage for many. The views are sensational, commanding much of the National Park, its hills and mountains rolling across the landscape like a green, petrified wave. Almost all of what you see in the central Beacons is owned and managed by the National Trust.
‘The Gap’ and Roman road
Bwlch ar y Fan is better known as ‘The Gap’ – and, if somewhat prosaically, it’s well named. This pronounced break in the mountains is an obvious north–south route through the central Beacons. The unsurfaced road that cuts through The Gap may well be Roman in origin.
Created over a century ago to provide a reliable source of water for the industrial valleys to the south, these scenic reservoirs have over the years settled into the landscape beneath a wild mountain amphitheatre.
For a full route description, please click here.