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    Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    17.7 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    817 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk

    The Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk is a beautifully scenic outdoor excursion in Wales that will lead you to the highest point in Brecon Beacons National Park (and southern Britain as a whole) for some breathtaking views. While out walking the trail, you will climb up into the mountains to explore the central beacons, traversing the summits of Corn Du, Pen-y-Fan, Cribyn, and Fan-y-Big, before descending back into the valley below. This is a great alternate route from which you can explore the rugged terrain of the Brecon Beacons.

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    Route Description for Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk

    If you have ever spent some time exploring the Brecon Beacons, you will know that the trails here are well-trodden; however, the mountainous terrain is also rugged. If you plan on exploring the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk, be sure to wear proper walking boots with good support.

    Additionally, you should always bring a compass and map when exploring this part of Wales, as it can be easy to lose your way amongst the numerous mountain peaks. As this is a bit of a strenuous walk, you should also bring plenty of water and snacks to stay fuelled for your journey.

    While this route is a bit of a lengthy and strenuous undertaking, the breathtaking mountain scenery is more than enough of a reward for your efforts. In addition to having the chance to summit Pen-y-Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain, you will also be treated to sweeping views across Brecon Beacons National Park and the Welsh countryside further afield. This is an exceptional walking route if you are looking to explore the natural beauty of the beacons.

    Setting out from the Neuadd car park, you will make your way to the northwest along the track for 0.9 km, keeping left until you arrive at the building next to the old Lower Neuadd Reservoir. Picking up the footpath on the left, you will follow it across two footbridges and climb up the hillside to the west, working alongside a stretch of forest until you arrive at the top of Twyn Mwyalchod.

    From here, you will follow the trail north as it traverses the Craig Ddu Ridge over the next 4.3 km, offering some amazingly scenic views of the surrounding mountains and the valley below, before arriving at the summit of Corn Du. Following the path to the northeast, you will make the brief climb up to the summit of Pen-y-Fan, which is the highest point in Southern Britain. Here, you will experience breathtaking views of the surrounding beacons and have a sightline that stretches out across the Bristol Channel on a clear day.

    After taking in the views, you will make your way down the rugged terrain of Jacob’s Ladder to the southeast, traversing the summit of Cribyn and the Cribyn Plateau, before arriving at the beautifully scenic and well-photographed site of the diving board rock formation at Fan-y-Big.

    Once you have grabbed your fair share of amazing photos in the Brecon Beacons, you will continue along the trail to the southeast to descend the mountainside. Here, you will eventually meet up with the banks of Nant Bwrefwr and follow along the water’s edge as you take in views of trickling waterfalls and the nearby woodland terrain of Blaen-y-Glyn. Turning to the southwest, you will follow along the road as it passes by the Torpantau railway station and cuts across the forested hillside to the west on the return to the Neuadd car park where you began the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk.

    Trail Highlights


    Situated within Brecon Beacons National Park, Pen-y-Fan (Welsh for “the top peak”) can be found in the Central Brecon Beacons range of mountains and is one of the most popular walking destinations in Wales. It is the highest peak in both South Wales and Southern Britain, as well as the 20th highest in the entirety of Wales, with an elevation of 886 m above sea level. The summit of Pen-y-Fan features panoramic views that sweep across the Welsh landscape, extending out to the Bristol Channel and Exmoor in the south, and the Cambrian Mountains to the north.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do you need walking boots for Pen-y-Fan?

    The trails in the Brecon Beacons are well-traversed; however, it is always a good idea to wear proper walking boots, as the terrain is very rugged and in some cases quite steep.

    Are dogs allowed to walk on Pen-y-Fan?

    Yes, dogs are permitted on the trails leading up Pen-y-Fan, but be sure to keep them under control the entire time and make sure they're prepared for the trail just as much as you are. You can read this guide on things to have in a first aid kit for dogs.

    Insider Hints for Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk

    • Wear proper walking footwear with good support for this rugged adventure.
    • Be sure to arrive early enough to secure parking, as this is a popular trail.
    • It is always recommended to bring a map and compass when exploring the Brecon Beacons, as terrain here is rugged and it can be easy to lose your way.
    • Bring plenty of snacks and water, as this is a strenuous route.

    Getting to the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk can be found at the Neuadd car park, just 3.2 km northwest of the Pontsticill Reservoir.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Brecon Beacons Horseshoe Circular Walk Elevation Graph

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