Pen y Fan, Wales – At the head of the Valleys

In the centre of Wales lies Brecon Beacons National Park, which contains a mountain range of the same name (Brecon Beacons). One of these mountains is Pen y Fan.

A lot of these valleys have streams or small rivers in them that are still eroding them, continuing what small glaciers started 13,000 – 15,000 years ago.

Pen y Fan is the highest mountain in central and southern Wales. It sits just southeast of the town of Brecon, which is related to the name of the National Park. Brecon Beacons refers to these peaks. Like we see in Lord of the Rings, there was an ancient practice of sending messages via signal fires on the tops of the mountains to warn of invaders.

Our hike started and ended in the Neuadd car park, which is provided by the National Trust. It is a 24-hour car park that is unpaved and is at the end of the valley to the south. From there the trail begins to ascend. The majority of the trail is over uneven stones, so unfortunately this trail is not accessible. It also has steep slopes, especially if you go up to the peak; make sure you can climb slopes as well.

Towards the summit of Pen y Fan, you can see the shape of the valleys more easily. This is a view from most of the way up the peak looking northwards. The nearest larger settlement is Brecon, although it is not visible from this peak due to another, smaller one being in the way.

It is approximately 8 miles (approximately 13 kilometres) to go from the car park to the peak. It took us approximately 4.5 hours to complete this journey; we also stopped to have a bit of a picnic and to take photos. In other words it could be done faster. There was also someone with us in the late stages of recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, so we went slower for him.

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