Pen y Fan Walk from Nant Cwm Llwch Car Park
Cwm Llwch Horseshoe Walk
From the car park head south along the tree lined path that follows the Nant Cwm Llwch river. In approximately 0.5 miles (0.8 km) you will reach a small stone cottage where you will pass over two wooden styles.
If you are lucky enough to have selected a clear weather day for the hike, you will now be blessed with majestic views up the valley to the summits of Corn Du and Pen y Fan. Also, at this point the trail gradient increases and the moderate climb towards the peaks commences.
Shortly, you will cross another wooden style, indicating that you are entering National Trust land. Continue along this Pen y Fan route for a short while longer until the trail splits.
The left fork will take you to the small glacial lake known as Llyn Cwm Llwch whereas the right fork, which we took, will lead you up the steep valley side towards Craig Cwm Llwch, the ridge that heads the valley.
If you choose the lake option, there is a separate track that links directly with the main circular route, so there is no need to back track.
You will now catch sight of Llyn Cwm Llwch for the first time as you progress up the steep path. The views of the lake improve greatly as you reach the ridge and the trail swings to the left around the head of the valley.
A little further up the trail, just off to your right, you will see the Tommy Jones memorial. Shortly after this, your trail will be intercepted from the right by the route up from the Storey Arms Outdoor Education Centre on the A470.
This is widely considered to be the easiest route up Pen y Fan. As such, it is by far the most trafficked of all the Pen y Fan walking routes, so you will almost certainly see a steady stream of walkers joining you at this point.
Here the trail also steepens significantly as you make your way to the summit of Corn Du. This is the second highest peak in South Wales standing at 873 m (2,864 ft).
Now is a good time to catch your breath and appreciate some of the spectacular views on offer. To the north you will be gazing down the sweeping Cwm Llwch valley from where you have just hiked.
Turn 180 degrees and soak in the far reaching southerly views down the Taf Fechan valley, one best experienced on the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Ridge Walk.
Pen y Fan
From Corn Du, head north east into the shallow ‘saddle’ before the gentle climb brings you to the summit of Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales. At 886 metres (2,907 ft), Pen y Fan mountain is the highest summit south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia National Park.
From here you get to enjoy the northerly view along the full extent of the Cwm Sere valley, with the baron light green upper reaches of the valley sliding into a dark green, tree packed lower valley.
The view out to the east is equally impressive with the majestic northern slopes of Craig Cwm Sere and Cribyn falling away dramatically into the Cwm Sere valley below.
Pen y Fan Walk - Heading NorthAfter enjoying a break to soak in the incredible vistas and taking that obligatory summit trig point photo, it is time to for the next stage of the Pen y Fan walk.
Take the trail that drops sharply from the summit of Pen y Fan, in a northerly direction, onto Cefn Cwm Llwch ridge. This initial section of the descent is particularly treacherous owing to the steepness of the gradient and the multitude of loose rocks and stones under foot.
Soon, the trail becomes less steep as you make your way north along the ridge, surrounded by spectacular views whichever way you turn. Follow the path until you catch sight of a large stone collection off to your left.
Leave the path and head in the direction of the stones. There is no specific trail from this point, just open grassy moorland.
Continue past the site of the stones until you reach the top of the valley. From here, it is now possible to see your Pen y Fan parking location. With line of sight to your destination, it is now a simple case of picking the most suitable route down the centre of the valley and across a few fields to your car.
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