Waterfall Walks in the Brecon Beacons - Day 1

 Over the Easter holiday, we spent a few days exploring waterfall country in the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) while staying in a Glamping Pod in the upper reaches of the Rhondda Fawr Valley. We started out from Hereford around 11.30 am (after completing our Citizen Science testing) and arrived at Pontneddfechan around 1.00 pm. The place was absolutely heaving and there was no parking to be found for love nor money. In hindsight, we shouldn't have been surprised that good weather on an Easter Sunday had brought everyone out. 

Video 1: Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn (includes slo-mo) - 31/3/24

We finally managed to park the campervan at the small Clun-gwyn car park around 2.30 pm, having almost given up and nearly decided to leave the waterfall walk until the next day.

After a 10-15 minute walk, we came upon our first waterfall - Sgwd Clun-gwyn (Photo 1 and Video 2)

Photo 1: Sgwd Clun-gwyn (31/3/24)

Video 2: Sgwd Clun-gwyn (31/3/24)

The next waterfall, Sgwd y Pannwr, was a gentle 1.5 km walk before a fairly steep, sometimes muddy, 0.5 km descent (with steps). We met a couple of Spanish visitors (three, if you include their baby in a sling) who assured us the descent was not too bad and the effort was worth it; especially considering there were two waterfalls to see. So down we went at a leisurely pace to view Sgwd y Pannwr ...

Photo 2: Sgwd y Pannwr (31/3/24)

Video 3: Sgwd y Pannwr (31/3/24)

We then followed the river upstream, for another 0.5 km, to arrive at the third waterfall of the day: Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn. You had to peer around the corner to experience this waterfall in its full glory ...

Photo 3: Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn (31/3/24)

Video 4: Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn (31/3/24)

... or scramble up a rocky incline to get a better view of the upper reaches of Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn ...

Photo 4: Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn (31/3/24)

Retracing our steps back up to the main path required a few rest periods on the way but we still had enough energy to set off for the fourth and final waterfall of the day: Sgwd yr Eira. Mary decided she couldn't face the climb down to the base of the waterfall (and, more importantly, the climb back up) - a total of 170 steps, apparently, though I didn't count them. I did, however, summon the effort to descend/ascend in order to take this picture and complete the 'four waterfalls' set ...

Photo 5: Sgwd yr Eira (31/3/24)

Video 5: Sgwd yr Eira (31/3/24)

It is possible to walk behind the curtain of water at Sgwd yr Eira but you shouldn't try it without being properly kitted out (waterproofs and a good pair of walking boots) as it can be both wet and slippy. I had the boots but not the waterproofs so maybe next time. Time to rejoin Mary at the top of the steps and head back to our glamping pod for dinner and recuperation. 

Photo 6: Glamping Pod, Fernhill Valley Farm

The map below shows the route we took:
  • Starting at the Clun-gwyn Car Park, followed the grey route to Sgwd Clun-gwyn waterfall
  • Follow the red route to Fingerpost 25
  • Follow the green route to Fingerpost 32, taking in Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn waterfalls
  • Back up the green route to rejoin the red path at Fingerpost 25
  • Continue along the red path to Fingerpost 35
  • Down the 170 steps (green route) to Sgwd yr Eira waterfall & return to Fingerpost 35
  • Retrace steps (red and grey routes) back to the Car Park
Total distance between 8 - 10 kilometres (5 - 6 miles); duration 3 - 4 hours including stops at the waterfalls.

Map 1: Our Walking Route

In summary, we had a great day out and the weather was kind. Plenty of rain before we arrived to ensure the waterfalls were gushing and some sunshine during the walk to keep our spirits up.

Finally, a word to the wise: bring your own bananas and brown bread because we tried three local convenience stores - none of them had bananas and only one had brown (Hovis) bread. It seems fruit and fibre don't go down in the Rhondda Valley.



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