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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Friday, 4 May 2018

Brecon Beacons Trip - Preliminary Schedule

The Brecon Beacons – 4 Days of Walking (with up to 4 extra days for the keen ones)

Arrive in Brecon anytime on Friday 4th of May, either by car, or by train and bus:
·        Paddington – Abergavenny plus Bus Line 43/X43  from the bottom of Station Road,
·        Paddington – Merthyr Tydfil or Cardiff plus Bus Line T4,
·        Paddington – Neath (or Swansea) and Bus Line T6  from Neath Bus Station [5 mins away]).

Advance Train Tickets are now on sale. For Paddington – Abergavenny, please be aware that – to get the best prices – you have to book separate tickets Paddington – Newport (South Wales) and Newport – Abergavenny, as these lines are run by different operators. Also make sure that you arrive in good time to catch a bus to Brecon.

Stay either in Brecon  (lots of B&B’s, some hotels), or in the Llwyn-y-Celyn Youth Hostel (some distance away, but on Bus Line T4) or anywhere else in the area if you have a car.

Preliminary proposed schedule, based on the current bus schedules (picnic lunch on all but one of the walks):

·    Friday 4th of May
Arrival Day Walk!!!: meet at 15.00 hours for this gentle introduction into the area.
The Usk and Ysgir rivers, a Roman Fort, a low ridge, woodlands, an ancient hillfort site and a covered well (and a cathedral and an optional woodland gorge), 4 ½ hours of walking, then straight to the group dinner. Too long? Too early? Start an hour later for the short version of the walk (cuts out the low ridge), or start two hours later and just walk the woodland gorge loop (details in the pdf).

·    Saturday 5th of May
Easily accessible ridge walk leading to and around South Wales’ largest natural lake then up to an Iron Age hillfort site. Great views of The Black Mountains, the Central Beacons and Llangynidr and Llangattock Hills; pub lunch. Easily accessible, but not easy, that is the main walk (10/10), but cut out the 260m ascent to Mynydd Troed, and it’s only 7/10. There is another option to cut out some of the ascent to the Iron Age hillfort site near the end. Tougher Option: head east from Mynydd Troed via its ridge and down and up Pen Tir and down and up Cefn Moel (picnic lunch). Bus 43/X43 from Brecon to Bwlch.

·    Sunday 6th of May
This is a traverse of the dramatic massif of the Fforest Fawr (‘The Great Forest’, with ‘Forest’ here denoting a former Royal Hunting Ground, rather than an area full of trees), one of the least frequented parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park, linking the Black Mountain to the west with the Central Brecon Beacons to the east. 10/10, tough, no shortcuts unless you want to call a taxi to the one road that’s being crossed 2/3 through (there is some phone reception on the descent to that road).
8 of us reccied this last year on the first extra-day. Any of those people may want to join me  in exploring a variation of the route, by following the Beacons Way between Penwyllt Quarry and Fan Dringarth, through the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu National Nature Reserve of Shake Holes and caves and along Sarn Helen (an old Roman Road) past an ancient standing stone (Maen Madoc) and an old Roman Camp (see route map on the webpage).
For those that want an easier walk:
The first one was a great success last year, with loads of bluebells (and also mud) and a nice lunch pub and a café at the end. Same start point as the tough walk above. 
The second one is the short out-and-back walk up to Black Mountain, a longer version of which we walked last year. Same bus line as the other two walks.

·    Monday 7th of May
From Brecon up to the ridge (takes about 3 hours), east along the less frequented tops and the upland peat bog plateau of the Waun Rydd (past the airplane memorial) and down into the Usk Valley to Talybont (2 pubs, but no buses on the Bank Holiday, so taxi back or follow the Monmouth & Brecon Canal).
Not so tough option: descend from Fan y Big back to Brecon, still a full day…
(infrequent bus service though on the Bank Holiday).

·    8th May to 11th May Bus-based recce walking from either of: Llangynidr, Llangattock, Crickhowell, Abergavenny, Llanvihangel Crucorney, Talgarth or Three Cocks/Aberllynfi. Maybe based in Crickhowell or Abergavenny for some of those days (contact me if interested).

p.s. for a mountain weather forecast for the area we’ll walk in, either check our very own website on the respective walk’s page, for example here, or try the ever reliable Mountain Weather Information Service and their forecast for the Brecon Beacons here. There are also live webcams at the Brecon Beacons National Park’s Visitor Centre, available here.
p.p.s. your options for getting out of Brecon by bus on the Sunday or the Bank Holiday Monday are fairly limited.


Thomas G said...

Still available on the BBC iPlayer for a couple more weeks: "The Brecon Beacons with Iolo Williams" (2 parts)

Thomas G said...

I am open to other suggestions from the cognoscenti, but this is my likely schedule for recce walks, assuming bus schedules as currently valid [all are about 20 km long, tough and mostly with options to lengthen or shorten]:
Tuesday - Llangynidr to Bwlch (up Cwm Cleisfer to source of river, across Mynydd Llangynidr shakeholes area past the Chartist Cave; descend through the Dyffryn Crawnon Nature Reserve and then over or around Tor Y Foel and past Llangynidr to Bwlch (no late buses from Llangynidr). [easier option: rtn from river source or from Chartist Cave the way you came] Bus: 43/X43.
Wednesday - Three Cocks to Talgarth (via Felindre and Three Rivers Ride to Gospel Pass; [optional out-and-back up Hay Bluff] up Twmpa/Lord Hereford's Knob and over Rhos Dirion, descent via Sychnant Farm). Bus: 39/X4.
Evening: transfer to accomodation in Abergavenny. Bus: X43, last at 17.58.
Thursday - Pandy to Llanvihangel Crucorney (up along Offa's Dyke Path across Hatterall Hill and ridge; descend to Llanthony [priory, pub, hotel restaurant]; through Vale of Ewyas to Cwmyoy [crooked church with leaning spire]; then either valley route via Stanton or hill route over Twyn Y Gaer hillfort). Bus: X3.
Friday - Abergavenny Circular via Sugarloaf (various routes and lengths). No bus needed.
Evening: train from Abergavenny to London via Newport.

Sandy said...

Abergavenny to Crickhowell over the Sugar Loaf is also an excellent walk, bus schedules permitting. When staying near Crickhowell I had time for a fry-up in Abergavenny first.

Stargazer said...

Calling all Breconites...for those interested in the group kick-off dinner on the Friday night, the venue this year will be the Clarence Inn (, starting about 7:30pmish.....In due course, please drop me an email at goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom to let me know if you plan to attend so that I can finalize the numbers...See you there!

Barbara Dobos said...

Hi, I am just wondering if someone want to share a room with me. Barbara(Hungarian :)


sp2k said...

Hi Thomas,
Can you please confirm whether the planned schedule for Tuesday 8 May - Friday 11 May is still valid?

Best Regards,

Thomas G said...

Yep, still valid as laid out above.

sp2k said...

Hi Thomas,
Thank you for confirming. You have said that you would be based out of Crickhowell or Abergavenny during the period 8th - 11th May. Unfortunately, I am unable to find YH accommodation in Crickhowell for this period. If I am able to get suitable accommodation, I would join in. I intend to arrive in Brecon on the afternoon of 4th May and have confirmed accommodation until 8th May.

Best Regards,