The mighty mountains of the Brecon Beacons holiday cottages

The mighty mountains of the Brecon Beacons

Ed Roberts 22 October 2020

We humans love a view. Most of us like nothing more than climbing to the summit of our highest, local point of elevation and looking down over the land below! There is something wired in our DNA, our need to conquer, and our need to survey our surroundings from the best vantage point possible. Maybe it dates back to when we were hunter-gatherers! We’d venture that even more of this desire is our eternal pursuit of all things beautiful and we’d say such things can be found all around in the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. 

The Brecon Beacons is home to some of the most fantastic mountains and ranges in the British Isles, so what are you waiting for? Dust off your walking boots, grab your old kit back and follow us!

Mountain walking in Wales

Our guide will introduce you to the Brecon Beacons range via the region’s tallest peaks, its walking trails and some interesting facts about Table Mountain, the Black Mountains, Pen y Fan, Fan y Big and more. Why not stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages in the Brecon Beacons? This way you can embark on several walks and climbing expeditions during your vacation.

Pen y Fan

Pen y Fan

Pen y Fan is the tallest peak in the Brecon Beacons, standing at an impressive 886 metres in height. At its summit, you will find an ancient Bronze Age cairn and breathtaking panoramas down over the Bristol Channel, the Gower Peninsula, the Black Mountains and the Cambrians. A climb to the top via one of the trails is quite an accomplishment but it is well worth the effort as anybody that has made the ascent can attest to.

A walk in the clouds:

Take the Horseshoe Ridge Walk, which traces the contours of the hill upwards via Taf Fechan Forest and the Neuadd Reservoir. The 10-mile circular track takes you up through moorlands, through grazing fields, and includes some Brecon Beacons hills and the four main peaks of Corn Du, Cribyn, Fan y Big, and of course, Pen y Fan.

Corn Du

Corn Du

Corn Du is Pen y Fan’s flat-topped neighbour, and at an eye-catching 873 metres tall, its peak is almost as lofty – a mere 13 metres separates their respective elevation.  Corn Du and its adjoined twin dominate the scenery for miles around and their combined profile is one of the most recognisable in the UK.  Check out the views of the elliptical tarn far below, Llyn Cwm Llwch on your climb, a great backdrop for a photo opportunity.

A walk in the clouds:

To enjoy both peaks pick up the Corn Du / Pen y Fan 4-mile circular trail from the Storey Arms Outdoor Centre or the Pont ar Daf car park. It’s a popular trail but there’s room for everybody on these vast twin titans of the Brecon Beacons National Park.  



The pyramidal Cribyn is known for its steep ascent from the north-east, it makes for a challenging climb for even the most ardent wayfarers. Cribyn stretches into the sky for 795 metres, offering all those that make the climb some astonishing views and a superb opportunity to take some excellent snaps of its neighbours, Pen y Fan and Corn Du.

A walk in the clouds:

Tease out the lesser-known Three Rivers Ride which takes you to up Cribyn from the base of Bryn Teg, a picturesque ridge that raises up from nearby Llanfrynach. Keep your eyes peeled for birds of prey along this 11.5-mile-long track, peregrine falcons, red kites, hobbies and sparrowhawks are often seen in the area. 

Fan y Big and Waun Rydd

Fan y Big

Found at the eastern end of the Brecon Beacons mountain range is the 769-metre high Waun Rydd. Views west to the Black Mountains make the climb a true gem. This has a long back that ripples across the horizon in the form of a largely smooth-edged plateau with some jagged edges. Down below you will see a series of small lakes that were formed from the glaciers that cover and shaped this whole landscape millennia ago. Fan y Big (716 metres) is on the Horseshoe Ridge Trail and is a subsidiary peak of Waun Rydd. Its name means ‘Point of the peak’, and its highest spot is marked with a cairn.

A walk in the clouds:

Take the 7-mile long circular walk to top of Waun Rydd’s summit. Meet the path at Talybont Reservoir and begin the occasionally steep rise to the top; there are flatter sections where you will re-encounter your vigour. The vistas of Pen-y-Fan and Corn Du are so good from the top!

Sugar Loaf

Sugar Loaf

Located in the Black Mountains is Sugar Loaf which is also known as The Sugar Loaf. So-named because of its resemblance to its baked namesake, it’s a 596-metre climb to the top and such an endeavour makes for a pleasant day out in the Brecon Beacons National Park. From its cone-shaped crest you can enjoy a spectacular panorama of the surrounding scenery that includes the lush Usk Valley. Sugar Loaf’s gentle inclines make a climb to the top a much easier prospect than some of the more well-known mountains in the Brecon Beacons.

A walk in the clouds:

Take on the slopes of The Sugar Loaf via the Sugar Loaf Circuit. This 4-mile byway weaves through farm fields and ancient oak-laden woodlands. You can join the path in Abergavenny in the Llanwenarth car park, take a picnic up the top with you and sit and enjoy some classic views across the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. It’s restorative, good for the soul and you’ll never forget the experience.

Table Mountain or Crug Hywel

Table Mountain

Table Mountain, to use its English name, is known more widely as Crug Hywel (although this translates as Conspicuous Hill!). Located above the town of Crickhowell, this 451-metre hill has a surprise at the top, the earthworks of a giant Iron Age Celtic hillfort. The Beacons Way visits the peak among other paths that coil around its slopes. 

A walk in the clouds:

The 4-mile long circuit is a moderate challenge that originates in Crickhowell close to its castle ruins. The trail passes under border oaks and files between farmer’s fields before opening out the closer you get to the base of the mountain. It’s a mild walk and one of the easier mountains to conquer whilst on your holiday to the Brecon Beacons.

Stay in the Brecon Beacons

We think you’ll fall in love with the mighty mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park. For more ideas of where to go walking on your holiday to the highest points in the Brecon Beacons, read our guide to the best hikes in the region. We hope this guide will inspire your mountain walking holiday. Ready to book a cottage? Visit our enticing collection of charming cottages in the Brecon Beacons National Park.   

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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