Best Walks in Brecon Beacons’ Waterfall Country
Best Walks in Brecon Beacons’ Waterfall Country Details
Autumn is a great time for waterfall walking – especially after heavy rain (rather than during!) and one of the best places in Wales for that is Bro’r Sgydau, also known simply as Waterfall Country. The Brecon Beacons’ Waterfall Country is a part of the Brecon Beacons National Park and contains an exceptionally high number of waterfalls near to each other. It is usually defined as being along the Afon Nedd and it’s tributaries – the Nedd Fechan, Pyrddin, Hepste and Mellte. These fall between the villages of Ystradfellte and Pontneddfechan which make a good base for exploring the area. Some of the other falls are found downstream, near Resolfen and Aberdulais – with a notable exception being the famous Henrhyd Falls which are on the Afon Tawe.
While the hills of Fforest Fawr are also accessible from Waterfall Country, we’ll be looking at the waterfall walks in this article which provides the information needed to walk to, or visit, all the named falls in the area.
Best Waterfall Walks in the Brecon Beacons’ Waterfall Country
Height Gained – 200 metres, Distance – 8 km, Time –2 hours.
If 4 waterfalls aren’t enough, then this walk has 5. Starting off with the spectacular Sgwd Gwladus and the 27m high Sgwd Einion Gam* which is the second highest single drop waterfall in South Wales on the Afon Pyrddin before taking a further three on the Afon Nedd Fechan; Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf, Sgwd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd y Bedol. This is a linear walk, but we’ve given the distance for someone starting at Pontneddfechan and retracing their steps back to the start as the walk is worth doing in both directions considering the alternative options of two cars or returning via country lanes.
*Note that this waterfall is a bit off the beaten track and not on the way-marked trail. It may require some river fording to reach, so care will be needed and probably not an option after heavy rain.
Height Gained – 175 metres, Distance – 5.5 km, Time –2 hours.
This walk from Waun Hepste car park near Ystradfellte visits four waterfalls on the Afon Fellte. Technically, the named trail visits none of the waterfalls with small offshoot paths to follow to the actual falls. This includes the most famous Sgwd yr Eira – which is one of the few waterfalls you can walk behind, and the lesser known falls of Sgwd y Pannwr, Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn and Sgwd Clun-gwyn.
Height Gained – 250 metres, Distance – 6.5 km, Time –couple of hours.
You can also approach Sgwd yr Eira from Pontarneddfechan, which also includes the falls along the Afon Sychryd that are known as the Sychryd Cascades. You can also extend this walk to include the waterfalls in the previous walk. Among the points of interest are the crags at Craig y Dinas and Bwa Maen, as well as links to the industrial revolution with the ruins of an old gunpowder works and a silica mine.
Height Gained – 150 metres, Distance – 5 km, Time –couple of hours.
Nestling in the neighbouring valley on the Afon Tawe, these are slightly outside Waterfall Country but as the highest single drop waterfalls in South Wales at 27 metres high and the entrance to the Bat Cave – are an essential waterfall to visit. You can also walk behind them, which makes Sgwd Henrhyd particularly popular.
The Aberdulais Falls can be found further down the valley and outside traditional Waterfall Country on a tributary of the Afon Nedd – the Afon Dulais. The falls are only a few 100m from the car park, so don’t really merit a route in their own right, but are worth a visit. They are visible from a viewing platform and are especially spectacular in the wet weather as the river is prone to flash flooding. More information about these National Trust owned falls and the industrial heritage of the site (including a waterwheel and old tin works) can be found here : The Waterfall at Aberdulais.
Height Gained – 50 metres, Distance – 1 km, Time –under an hour
The Melincourt Falls are the third tallest single drop waterfalls in South Wales at 25 metres high. While they’e outside the ‘traditional’ area of Waterfall Country further up the valley, there’s no doubt that they deserve inclusion on your walking itinerary. They have been drawing tourists for over two centuries, including Turner who was literally a drawing tourist who sketched the falls in the 18th century.
They can be walked behind but consider if you should, as it’s definitely more the territory of the gorge walker rather than the usual walker!
Height Gained – 200 metres, Distance – 6 km, Time –2 hours.
Our final walk in Waterfall Country is a lesser known route along a Geoheritage trail starting from Pontwalby near Glynneath. Cwm Gwrelych boasts a number of waterfalls, but for some reason hasn’t featured on the radar of tourists to the area as they aren’t even given a name on the OS map!