The Hiking Checklist
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Take a look at our top things to do in Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons is a Welsh beauty. The beautiful rolling hills of open moorland contrast perfectly with the steep sharps peaks of Snowdonia National Park and the coastline of Pembrokeshire National Park, providing a totally unique experience. The vast extent of canal pathways and footpaths make this park perfect for cycling, walking and horse riding and the stunning waterfalls offering some breath-taking views (see our most romantic waterfalls to visit in the Brecon Beacons National Park.)
When you think of Brecon Beacons, do you image a skyline dominated by the jawdropping black mountains, vast valleys covered with rolling grass fields and scorched heather? You can also think picturesque canals, quaint little villages, traditional castles and spookily dark skies that offer amazing star gazing! Are you tempted yet?
Known as waterfall country, canyoning is one of the main activities which the Brecon Beacons is famous for. Other things to try including walking and cycling along the pristine, maintained footpaths as well as pony trekking in the fells. You can also try star gazing in the National Sky reserve, canoeing in the River Wye and mountain biking and of course, we cannot forget the range of twelve amazing castles which live within the National Park boundaries.
The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is a fantastic place for a flat, easy stroll. You can take a lengthy or short walk to suit your fancy on this 35 mile long canal path. Why not try camping in the Brecon Beacons and walk the entire thing in three days or just pick a short section to walk in a day?
Another ‘must do’ in the Brecon Beacons is the trek up Pen Y Fan. There are lots of different ways to walk it, depending on whether you want a gentle walk, an extravagant climb or you are walking with children. For routes check out ‘4 ways to walk up Pen Y Fan'. The Taylbont Reservoir provides the perfect circular walking route, made up of the National Cycle Route 8 and the Taff Trail. There are fantastic views out over the water and if you walk half of the way round, make sure you visit the beautiful waterfalls near Abercynafon, at the southern point of the reservoir.
The Brecon Beacons are home to 12 castles, some of which are still in their spectacular former glory and some of which are now in ruins but still super to explore! If you wish to see grandeur and indulgence, captured perfectly in one building then visit Cyfarthfa Castle – a token of the dominance which once existed in the area from the iron industry. Alternatively, explore the ruins of Tretower, a form of defence in war and symbol of status for a wealthy family. You can visit the grounds and the castle while taking an audio tour for a small entrance fee.
Sustrans cycle routes number 8 and 42 run through the entire length of Brecon Beacons National Park. The sheer span of the cycle routes make it easy to join at any point and you can cycle as much or as little as you like. Route 8 (following the Taff Trail) runs adjacent to Pontsticill Resevoir and Taybolt Resevoir and route 42 runs up through Cmyoy and Capel-y-ffin joining route 8 at Glasbury and passing through Hay-on-Wye. Route 42 offers quite a spectacular climb at 1,778ft but the views over the Wye valley are well worth it.
You must also try Mountain Biking in Brecon Beacons National Park, as the hilly terrain allows for exciting climbs and thrilling descents and all routes are adorned with breathtaking views. Book on to a lesson with a qualified instructor if you are just starting out or if you are an expert then tackle one of the graded cycle routes.
The Brecon Beacons is known as waterfall country. The gorgeous red sandstone combine with the green vegetation and the purple haze of the heather to create picture perfect waterfalls whatever the weather. So why not take a look at our most romantic waterfalls to visit in the Brecon Beacons national Park or take a splash in Sywd yr Eira and watch the curtain of water descend before your eyes.
If you are looking to be blown away then Henrhyd Falls is for you. The tallest waterfall in South Wales poses an exciting visit for the whole family and can be incorporated with a trip to the disused watermill. The waterfall is best seen in wet weather when its flow is at its highest peak.
The Brecon Beacon mountain railway is a fantastic way to see a large amount of the spectauclar scenery in a short space of time and a great chance to experience a traditional steam railway. The train runs all the way along the length of Ponsticill reservoir before heading up high to Torpantau. Why not combine the two and picnic on the grassy slopes of the reservoir before jumping on the steam train? The spectacular scenery will blow you away so be sure to take a seat in one of the trains' observation carriages so that you can soak up the fantastic view.
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