Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
With 519 square miles of rolling grassland and massive mountains pocked with caves, waterfalls, lakes, and wooded gorges, Brecon Beacons National Park contains some of the wildest and least-traveled high country in Wales. The Beacons Way, a 101-mile hiking path, connects widely varied topography, dips into centuries-old villages, and climbs to several of the park’s tallest summits. Explore one of its most spectacular segments on this 11-mile route.
Starting in Llanddeusant, the path meanders along farm lanes before climbing steeply to Llyn y Fan Fach (“Lake of the Small Peak”), famous for its Lady of the Lake, a powerful figure in Welsh mythology. According to legend, she gave King Arthur the sword Excalibur. From here, the path climbs onto the long, steep ridgeline of Fan Brycheiniog, with its four 2,000-foot summits.
Walk along the gabled top for 3.3 miles, with dizzying views a thousand feet down into lake-filled cirques, then drop back down to Llyn y Fan Fawr (“Lake of the Big Peak”). Follow the outlet stream for 2.5 miles as it cascades through dozens of rapids and waterfalls to emerge at the old Tafarn y Garreg pub. You’ll find another pub, the Gwyn Arms, as well as a campground, in the village of Glyntawe, a quarter-mile south.
-Mapped by Steve Howe
- Distance: 17.7
Location: 51.903725, -3.783964
Start from Llanddeusant Village “Church of the Two Saints”. Follow the road to the northeast.
Location: 51.900948, -3.750699
Bear right/south around the farmstead. Look for the ruined walls south of the road.
Location: 51.900254, -3.748415
Turn right at the T-junction, heading east.
Location: 51.884227, -3.741311
Turn right and leave the road as it approaches Llyn y Fan Fach. Cut south on the trail, then turn right at the intersection with the wide trail that travels west (away from the dam).
Location: 51.882546, -3.727816
Summit of Picws Du, with dramatic views down into northern cirques.
Location: 51.881795, -3.72094
Streamlet descends to the north off ridgeline.
Location: 51.887127, -3.713889
Summit of Fan Foel.
Location: 51.882306, -3.708025
Concrete marker post atop Fan Brycheiniog.
Location: 51.882087, -3.707761
Stone circle shelter atop Fan Brycheiniog.
Location: 51.878329, -3.69761
Llyn y Fan Fawr “Lake of the Big Peak”. Continue northeast to start a loop around the lake.
Location: 51.878337, -3.697656
After rounding the lake, continue straight at the 4-way trail junction, heading due south along outlet stream.
Location: 51.863105, -3.692634
Location: 51.854083, -3.679037
Pass through gate in stone fence. Continue southeast.
Location: 51.840988, -3.67247
Finish at Tafarn y Garregg pub. The village of Glyntawe is just down the road to the right/southwest.