A Guide to the Best Waterfall Walks in the Brecon Beacons/ Bannau Brycheiniog
If you're looking for a scenic and exhilarating day out, then planning a waterfall walk in the beautiful Brecon Beacons is an absolute must!
Whether you want to take it slow and enjoy the stunning views of this National Park, or you're ready to challenge yourself with some of the more strenuous routes - there's something for everyone.
Let this guide take you to some of the best waterfall walks in the Brecon Beacons, so all that's left for you to do is lace up your boots and get exploring!
What is a Waterfall Walk?
A Waterfall Walk is an adventure for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors.
This activity involves hiking in the mountains, valleys and gorges and discovering breathtaking waterfalls. The sound of rushing water and the lush green scenery provide a calming and refreshing experience.
It’s a perfect way to get some exercise while immersing yourself in nature. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the activity, Waterfall Walks have something for everyone.
Waterfall Walks in Brecon Beacons
1. Four falls trail
The Four Waterfalls Walk is a famous trail and arguably the best waterfall walk you can do in the park. Located near Ystradfellte, Powys, in South Wales. The four falls are: Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, and Sgwd yr Eira.
The first three falls are located on the river Mellte and the last is located on the river Hepste.
This waterfall walk is a must for anyone visiting the area to seek out some waterfalls.
There are a few places you can start the trail, two locations offer pay and display car parks one being Cwm Porth and the other Gwaun Hepste.
The walk itself is around 5 miles but can be longer depending on your start point and the walk itself takes around 3 hours to complete. The terrain encountered on the walk can be both technically challenging and physically demanding. The walk meanders through ancient forests and tranquil meadows before reaching the first of the falls.
We recommend getting a map of the four falls trail before embarking or taking a picture of one of the notice boards to help guide you along the route. The entire trail is way marked however it is easy to make a wrong turn so please keep track of where you are.
The first waterfall you will visit on the walk is Sgwd Clun-Gwyn. This is the first of the four captivating waterfalls, the view point from the top of the waterfall provides a picturesque view of the waterfalls as it cascades down into the pool below. This is the easiest to access waterfall and closest to the main trail.
The next waterfall on this trail is Sgwd y Pannwr. This enchanting waterfall has a very interesting horseshoe shape and its viewing platform gives a great view of the falls, it is also possible to easily scramble down to base of the waterfall for a different perspective. It is often adorned with wild swimmers in the summer months due to the large pool at the base of the falls.
Next on the list is Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, this is the lower fall to Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, this triple drop waterfall is truly mesmerizing, it snakes and cascades down the steep sided gorge. When this waterfall is in flood it really is spectacular.
Finally the last waterfall on this brilliant walk is Sgwd-Yr-Eira, this waterfall is located on the river Hepste and is arguably the most impressive waterfall of the walk, as you can walk behind the curtain of water to get a truly unique perspective on the falls. The return path from the falls is reasonably physically demanding due to a steep ascent of steps.
2. Henrhyd falls
This is probably the most famous of the waterfalls in the area as it was the site for the scenes in the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. This fall is also the tallest of the waterfalls in the area at around 90 ft tall. It is located very close to a National trust car park so easily accessible for a quick walk. The car park itself can fill up quickly at peak times and so rewards an early start.
This waterfall walk is a must for people visiting the area and is truly spectacular.
3. Sgwd Gwladys
This breathtaking waterfall walk in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park is not one to be missed.
Sgwd Gwladys – Lady Falls is a 7 meter high waterfall in the river Afon Pyrddin. Sgwd Gwladys is very popular with visitors as it is one of the most easily accessible waterfalls in waterfall country. From the village trailhead in Pontneddfechan it is a 30 minute walk along the riverside trail to the waterfall. The trail entrance is behind The Angel pub and restaurant and the path is fairly level and suitable for most.
There is a viewing area on a minor branch trail just before the river crossing; most visitors continue over the bridge and head to the base of the falls on the opposite bank.
Tucked away in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Sgwd-yr-Eira is a natural wonder like no other. Although this waterfall is a part of the four falls trail we thought it deserved its own mention, if you don't fancy going to all four of the waterfalls, this one is a must when embarking on the four falls trail.
This walk is perfect for those looking to explore a more remote area of the Brecon Beacons. You’ll have to navigate your way through tricky terrain and thick forestry, but once you reach the waterfall you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and a sense of accomplishment.
After a while, the trees will start to thin and pretty soon you'll be face to face with the breathtakingly beautiful waterfall. With water cascading down from over 18 metres high, it's a truly magical sight. You can also walk behind this waterfall and get a unique view of the water as it cascades down from above. The path down to the waterfall is very steep and requires the descent of many steps which is worth considering when deciding to visit this waterfall.
5. Sychryd Waterfall
In this stunning location, you can explore a series of breathtaking cascades and gorges that are sure to impress any nature enthusiast.
To get to the falls it is recommended that you park at the Dinas Rock car park. This car park can get very busy with other walkers and gorge walking groups so it is recommended that you get out early to beat the crowds.
The lower section of the Sychryd gorge is very easily accessible and has a wheel chair friendly path leading to the base of the Bwa Maen cascades, the walk takes about 5 - 10 minutes and follows a lovely flat path just above river level. From the end point you can see the spectacular folds of rock that create Bwa Maen or ‘Bow Stone’, this amazing feature was created from the folding and crumpling of limestone beds along the Neath disturbance.
Just around the corner from the Bow Stone you can get a great view of the Bwa Maen cascades where the river tumbles down from around 50 meters above. You can also see the remnants of Dinas rocks industrial past with old raised metal works and even mine cart frames, this is from when this area was used as a Silica mine
Getting to the top waterfalls on the Sychryd is slightly more challenging and involves climbing up and over the hill fort located above and behind the car park. Once on the top track a short walk firstly along the top and then down to the Sychryd gorge brings you to a spectacular waterfall and plunge pool.
Who Can Do Waterfall Walks?
You'll be happy to know that most waterfall walks are suitable for a range of fitness levels. However, it's important to do your research before setting off, as some waterfall walks can be more challenging than others. Always check the distance and elevation before beginning your trek, and be aware of any potential hazards. Remember to dress appropriately with sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks. With a bit of preparation, anyone can enjoy the beauty and excitement of a refreshing waterfall walk.
Safety Reminders When Doing Waterfall Walks
Waterfalls and rivers can seem to be very beautiful and inviting areas however there are certainly dangers to be aware of. The rivers are extremely cold, even on a warm summer's day and so it is not advised to jump into the rivers without first acclimatizing to the water temperature, or wearing a wetsuit.
The rivers in this guide can also be incredibly fast flowing, you can very easily lose your footing in the flow so again it is advised to just observe the rivers from a safe distance, especially when the water level is higher than usual due to rainfall.
The steep Gorges and Canyons created by the rivers are truly spectacular, however they certainly pose risks as they create steep drops and sharp edges. If you stick to waymarked paths and avoid going too close to edges it is easy to remain very safe when waterfall walking.
Guidelines to follow while waterfall walking
The area known as Waterfall country described in this guide is truly beautiful, however it can easily be damaged by human impact, please take all rubbish home with you.
We also advise to stick to waymarked paths, not only for your safety but to reduce the environmental impact of the large amount of visitors the area receives each year.
Please respect other people and the environment by not being overly loud and creating anti-social environments. People come to enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility of the area.
Knowing your route and having a good understanding of your trip distance and difficulty is also advised in order to prevent you from running into any trouble. Having a map of the area is a great way to know where you are and where you want to go.
Equipment Required for Waterfall Walk
If you're planning a waterfall walk, it's important to make sure you have the proper equipment to stay safe and comfortable along the way.
Of course, comfortable and sturdy walking shoes are a must, as are appropriate layers of clothing to shield you from the elements. If you'll be walking in particularly rough terrain, a walking stick or trekking pole can also be useful.
Another key item is a good quality water bottle, as you'll need to stay hydrated throughout your hike, especially if it's warm out or you're walking uphill.
We also recommend you bring snacks as some of the walks in this guide are reasonably arduous.
Don't forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning natural beauty of the waterfall and surrounding landscape, and be sure to leave no trace behind as you enjoy your outdoor adventure.
Waterfall walks are a great way to explore the beauty of the Brecon Beacons and get some much-needed fresh air. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a more challenging trek, there's sure to be something that suits your needs. Always take precautions when embarking on any outdoor activity, and follow safety guidelines so you can stay safe and enjoy your waterfall walk. With a bit of preparation, you can embark on an unforgettable adventure in the Brecon Beacons!