Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons holiday cottages

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

Julie Smith 29 September 2021

Wild swimming has rocketed in popularity over recent years due to the health benefits and feelings of exhilaration that come from swimming in the great outdoors. The Brecon Beacons National Park is filled with an array of different places where you can get in the water with crystal clear pools, gentle streams and tumbling waterfalls dotted around its mesmerising countryside.

So whether you’re in the mood for a gentle paddle or a bracing dip, we have compiled a complete guide to wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons.   

Best places to go wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

From Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh border to the River Usk in Monmouthshire not to mention a tranquil pool near to Blaenavon World Heritage Site, here are are some of the best places to go wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons: 

The Warren, Hay-on-Wye

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

Surrounded by peaceful woodland at the edge of Hay-on-Wye, The Warren is a wildlife-rich meadow and popular family-friendly swimming spot in the Brecon Beacons. A stoney beach leads to a gentle stretch of the River Wye which is a safe spot for either a paddle or a swim and there is lots of space at The Warren to lay out a blanket for a picnic too.

Keeper’s Pond, Blaenavon

Best places for wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

Also known as Pen-ffordd-goch, Keeper’s Pond is located high on a hill that looks out on Blaenavon and was man-made in the 19th century to provide water to a local forge. You can combine a swim in Keeper’s Pond with a walk up nearby Blorenge and a bracing dip in the clear waters here is the perfect way to take in the spectacular surrounding scenery. 

Llangynidr Falls, River Usk

Outdoor swimming in the Brecon Beacons

One of the best spots for safe swimming in the waters of River Usk are the pools of Llangynidr Falls near Crickhowell. Sheltered by a wooded crag and with smooth flat rocks to sit on, the secluded pool here is just right for an idyllic summer swim.

Lyn Y Fan Fach, Black Mountains

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

This Carmarthenshire glacial lake is deep within the Black Mountains and is the setting for the local legend of the ‘Lady in the Lake’ in which a beautiful woman magically appeared to a 13th century farmer. Lyn Y Fan Fach is a haven for Brecon Beacons wildlife and you may well spot kestrels, buzzards and red kites swooping in the skies above as you immerse yourself in the waters of this 10-acre lake that’s surrounded by mountainous ridges. Lyn Y Fan Fach is pretty remote though so you’ll need to take a 4-mile walk through the Black Mountains to reach this secluded stretch of water.

Henrhyd Falls

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

With a massive 90-foot drop, Henrhyd Falls is the highest waterfall in South Wales and is best known for a hidden cave behind the falls where Batman magically disappears in The Dark Knight Rises film. The gorge at the bottom of the waterfall is also perfect for a spot of wild swimming, especially as you can feel the water cascading over you as you relax in the pool. There is a walking trail to follow around Henrhyd Falls and you can even enter Batman’s cave for yourself on a visit to this National Trust managed site.

Lady Falls

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

Also known as Sgwd Gwladys, Lady Falls is set in a natural amphitheatre that’s surrounded by woodland at the bottom of the Brecon Beacons National Park. A 30-foot stream of water tumbles into a deep pool that’s just right for a refreshing dip and you can even walk behind the waterfall after your wild swim. Discover more wonderful waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons

Llyn Cwm Llwch

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

This National Trust managed glacial lake lies between the slopes of some of the Brecon Beacons highest peaks and the wild and remote location is one of the most magical places to go wild swimming in South Wales. The lake is said to once have been inhabited by fairies and you can swim in the shadow of the mighty Pen Y Fan after a bracing walk along the stream to reach this mythical location. 

Why choose wild swimming?

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

Swimming in the great outdoors can be great for your mind, body and soul - here are just some of the reasons to dip your toes in the beautiful cold waters of the Brecon Beacons National Park:

  • Cold water swimming can enhance your mood.
  • Swimming in the great outdoors can help you reconnect with nature.
  • The cold water can reduce inflammation and boost your immune system.
  • This outdoor activity is free-of-charge, and you don’t need any expensive equipment to try it.
  • It’s accessible to all and up to you whether you dip your toe into a shallow stream or jump straight into a plunge pool.
  • Wild swimming is the perfect way to cool off after a hike through the hills. 

Tips for wild swimming

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

It’s important to put safety first when going wild swimming and if you have any sort of health condition you should check with your doctor before trying it. Never swim where there is a strong current and go slow and steady while you are learning your limitations. Here are some tips for wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons:

  • The water will be cold, even during the summer months, so if you’re new to wild swimming make sure you enter it slowly to allow your body to acclimatise.
  • Splashing some of the water on your arms and neck will help you to get used to the temperature.
  • Never go wild swimming alone and stick close to the edges for your first few swims so you can get out quickly if you need to.
  • Be sensible and don’t stay in the water too long.
  • Make sure you have some warm clothes to get into after your swim.
  • Cold water will decrease the distance you are able to swim so always bear this in mind.

Plan your getaway to the Brecon Beacons

Wild swimming in the Brecon Beacons

If you have been inspired to visit the Brecon Beacons, whether it’s for wild swimming or to try another outdoor activity in this beautiful national park, there are lots of lovely holiday cottages where you can rest your head during a fun-filled getaway.

Read our guide to the best places to stay in the Brecon Beacons and browse our full range of holiday cottages to find your perfect base. 


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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