I’m sure I wont be the only one to say I miss the hazy summer rides and dusty woodland trails on a Saturday afternoon; there is a real easiness to life when you don’t have to worry about forgetting your bike lights and packing extra layers… Wait, easy isn’t fun. Winter is fun! I confess I hardly touched my bike all winter, that said I wont been sitting around indoors all day if that’s what you are thinking (apart from when I was writing this and… okay, I did a little).

Pen y Fan in the middle.
Pen y Fan in the middle.

This trip is all about the Brecon Beacons. ‘Pen y Fan,’ I hear you thinking. Yep, we will visit the high ridges but the real beauty of this trip is on the ridgeline and lower peaks leading up to Corn Du and Pen y Fan. Best place to start this walk is from the Torpantau car park (key these coordinates into google maps 51.847776, -3.372140). From here you can start the ascent on the small footpath to the left of the waterfall; you will see this as you drive into the car park. This car park can get very busy on weekends and is used frequently by the military so take care on the way in. I say this is the best place to start as the route is very obvious from the carpark all the way to the top of Craig y Fan Ddu, just follow the steep cobble path to the top. Once near the top the path goes around the back of the peak and you simply walk along the ridge for about 1 mile. You will come to a stream that you can either pass by going through or find the footpath that leads to the east which cuts part of the walk out.
Regardless of which way you take at the stream you will eventually come to Fan y Big. When approaching from the south it looks nothing more than a hill with Cribyn and Pen y Fan dominating the background. However once at the peak of Fan y Big you can get the classic picture on the diving board rock, the drop on the other side isn’t as vertical as pictures portray but nethertheless you really wouldn’t want to fall here so take care.

Had to take a picture on the Fan y Big diving board.
Had to take a picture on the Fan y Big diving board.

From Fan y Big you can make your way back down to the path and follow the ridgeline towards Cribyn. This part of the walk can get busy depending on the weather and time of week, however there is plenty of room on top of Pen y Fan for some pictures and a deserved half way break knowing it’s all literally downhill from there.

From Pen y Fan you can follow the path over to the marginally smaller Corn Du and from there its north along the ridge with Neuadd reservoirs below to the north east. You need to follow this ridge for about 3 miles then descend toward Taf Fechan forest where you can pick up the path at the smaller reservoir. Follow the path through the forest until you come to a small road with a stone bridge and a car park. Depending how well you know the area you can either follow paths through the woods or just follow the road east to make it back to the Torpantau car park.

Route Terrain Map
Regardless of whether you are walking or running take plenty of kit, the weather may be nice when you set off but the Beacons are notoriously unpredictable especially in this area. Snow can get pretty deep on the ridges so stick to the path if there is one.


Max Height: 854m
Min Height: 402m
Total Asc: 825m
Total Desc: 825m

Route Map