The Brecon Beacons National Park (Bannau Brycheiniog) comprises of grassy moorland interspersed with forestry plantations. The park is known for it’s remote reservoirs, caves, flat-topped peaks and beautiful waterfalls.
Given it’s geology, the park is great place to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as cycling, rock climbing, horse riding, caving and hiking. If the weather isn’t great, as can often be the case in Wales, then the waterfalls of Brecon Beacons provide a great low-level walking option.
One section of the park in the Vale of Neath is known as Waterfall Country. Waterfall Country is part of Fforest Fawr region of the Brecon Beacons, which is a UNESCO Geopark, and as the name suggests has an abundance of waterfalls to explore.
This is a complete guide to visiting the Brecon Beacons waterfalls in South Wales. Discover 9 waterfall walking trails and choose which one is right for you.
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Top Tips For Exploring Brecon Beacons Waterfalls
The Brecon Beacons is a National Park in South Wales which covers 519 square miles and consists of four main areas – The Black Mountain, Fforest Fawr, The Central Beacons and The Black Mountains. Waterfalls are dotted around all areas of the Brecon Beacons with the majority located in Waterfall Country which is the Fforest Fawr region.
Several of the following walks start in remote locations, often without facilities, so be sure to bring water and use the toilet before you leave.
After heavy rain, the trails can get very muddy and slippery so extra care is required. If the rivers are raging and the routes are compromised please choose a different walk. Always wear suitable footwear with good grips.
Three words that are useful to know in Welsh before exploring these walks are Sgwd, Rhaeadr and Afon. Sgwd means cascade or fall, rhaeadr means waterfall and afon means river. Learn more about Welsh words in this post.
In this guide I outline 9 great walks on which to enjoy the best Brecon Beacons waterfalls. These walks are the perfect places to stay cool off on hot days and offer protection from the elements on stormy days.
Enjoy their thunderous power and get lost in the legends that surround them.
If you’re interested in discovering the best hill walks in the Brecon Beacons, have a look at this post!
Brecon Beacons Waterfall Map
The Best Waterfalls In The Brecon Beacons To Visit
1. The Four Waterfalls Walk
- Distance: 8.8km round trip
- Starting Point: Cwm Porth car park
- Time: 3-4 hours
- Highlight: Walk behind a raging waterfall
- Waterfalls Visited: Sgwd yr Eira, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr
The four falls trail sits right in the heart of Waterfall Country and is one of the most popular waterfall walks in the Brecon Beacons. It’s also the longest walk on this list and includes visits to four beautiful waterfalls.
From the car park in Cwm Porth there is a well marked trail that will guide you towards Sgwd-yr-Eira on the river Heptse. The car park requires a payment but does have toilet facilities.
Along the route there are side trails that lead to several other waterfalls along the River Mellte. These waterfalls are Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn and Sgwd y Pannwr.
This marked trail is suitable for families. The trail itself is mostly flat but the sections leading down to the waterfalls themselves are steep and often muddy.
With children I would recommend heading straight for Sgwd-yr-Eira and then visit the other waterfalls on the return journey if they still have the energy!
Whilst all the waterfalls on this trail are beautiful, the climax of the walk is Sgwd-yr-Eira or fall of snow, as it translates. The big attraction of this falls is the ability to easily walk along the rocks behind the raging waterfall.
Be warned the rocks are wet and slippery and you are likely to get wet from the spray! Do not attempt after heavy rainfall or if the waterfall is in full force.
2. Sychryd Trail
- Distance: 800m round trip
- Starting Point: Dinas Rock car park
- Time: 30 minutes
- Highlight: The prettiest waterfall in the Brecon Beacons
- Waterfalls Visited: Sychryd
For me, Sychryd falls is probably the prettiest waterfall on this list and just a short distance from the car park.
From the south side of car park, a well maintained path flows through the wooded gorge, to a viewpoint of the Sgydau Sychryd cascades. This straightforward trail is accessible for robust buggies and wheelchairs and is the easiest waterfall walk in the Brecon Beacons.
On the north side of the car park there is another trail which provides full access to the waterfall itself. This trail involves a steep climb along rocky terrain and is slippery when wet. The path is around 1km in distance. Be sure to take the right trail at the fork, as the left trail leads towards Sgwd-yr-Eira and is a much longer walk.
The gorge that leads to Sychryd falls is popular with gorge walkers who you may spot climbing up the river and behind the waterfall itself. On warm days the waterfall pool offers an ideal spot to cool off.
At the carpark take time to look at the huge Bwa Maen rock. This rock buttress is an impressive folded arch of Carboniferous Limestone, caused millions of years ago by colliding continents. This rock is popular with rock climbers.
3. Blaen-y-Glyn Falls
- Distance: 2km round trip
- Starting Point: Upper or lower Blaen-y-Glyn car park
- Time: 1 – 2 hours
- Highlight: Not as busy as Waterfall Country
- Waterfalls Visited: Caerfanell Waterfall & multiple un-named waterfalls
Blaen-y-Glyn is located in the heart of the Central Brecon Beacons. This is where you can find the highest peak in Southern Britain, Pen y Fan. To learn about different options for hiking Pen y Fan, take a look at this post.
From the upper Blaen-y-Glyn car park, follow the well marked trail down into the forestry towards lower Blaen-y-Glyn. Enjoy the woodland path as it leads you towards the River Caerfanell, where upon you can enjoy views of several beautiful waterfalls. The biggest of the falls is known as Caerfanell falls.
Retrace your steps to get back to the car park. Once back at the car park, walk towards the exit to view the small falls you pass when driving in. This falls is on the Nant Bwrefwr river, which is a tributary of the Caerfanell.
Alternatively, park at the lower car park to enjoy a less strenuous walking loop. From the car park follow the gravel path along the left-hand side of the river. After a 10 minute walk there is a multi-level waterfall on your left.
A little further on, branch off to the right as directed by the signpost. This leads you to the main Blaen-y-Glyn waterfall (Caerfanell falls). Cross the bridge and follow the river back down stream, passing multiple cascades as you go.
At the end of the trail, pass through the gate and cross over the stone bridge to return back to the car park.
Blaen-y-Glyn is the starting location for several great walks in the Central Beacons including a walk to Fan y Big and a loop of Waun Rydd and the Wellington Bomber crash site.
You can view aerial footage of the waterfalls at Blaen-y-Glyn in this video. (Skip to 30 seconds)
4. Henryd Falls
- Distance: 1.5 km round trip
- Starting Point: National Trust car park near Coelgren
- Time: 1 hour
- Highlight: Visit Batcave!
- Waterfalls Visited: Henryd
Henryd falls is the biggest waterfall in South Wales at 27m tall. You may recognise this waterfall as Batcave from the film The Dark Knight Rises. This is an easy waterfall walk in the Brecon Beacons.
From the car park it’s just a short 700m walk down a fairly steep path to reach the falls. This waterfall is most spectacular after heavy rain. It is possible to walk behind the falls but it’s not recommended. Be very wary of falling rocks and avoid after heavy rain.
5. The Elidir Trail
- Distance: 7km round trip
- Starting Point: Park near Angel Inn in Pontneddfechan village
- Time: 2 – 4 hours
- Highlight: 4 beautiful waterfalls to explore
- Waterfalls Visited: Sgwd Gwladus, Sgwd-y-Bedol, Sgwd Ddwli Isaf, Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf
The Elidir trail area offers family friendly waterfall walks as well as an opportunity for adventure for the more experienced hiker. This is my favourite waterfall walk in the Brecon Beacons.
From Pontneddfechan village walk along the Neath River, passing several cascades before crossing the bridge. Turn left to walk along the right-hand side of the river, shortly after which you will reach Sgwd Gwladus (Lady’s Fall). If you’re prepared to get your feet wet, you can walk behind this waterfall via precariously placed stepping stones.
To continue the walk, from Sgwd Gwladus return to the bridge and take the trail off to the left. Follow the Nedd Fechan river towards Pont Melin-Fach to see an impressive trio of waterfalls known as Sgwd-y-Bedol (horseshoe falls), Sgwd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf.
Then retrace your route to Pontneddfechan to finish.
6. Sgwd Einion Gam (The Secret Waterfall)
- Distance: 6km round trip
- Starting Point: Park near Angel Inn in Pontneddfechan village
- Time: 2 – 4 hours
- Highlight: A river crossing adventure
- Waterfalls Visited: Sgwd Gwladus, Sgwd Einion Gam
In Welsh folklore, Sgwd Einion Gam and Sgwd Gwladus are linked to a fateful love story known as the Welsh Romeo and Juliet, which you can read about in my Elidir Trail guide. Sgwd Einion Gam is known as the secret waterfall since reaching this fall involves river crossings and unmarked paths.
At Pontneddfechan, take the Elidir Trail and follow the marked path to Sgwd Gwladus (see previous route for details). From Sgwd Gwladus, climb up the bank to the right-hand side of the waterfall. Initially there is a well- trodden trail to follow along the right hand side of the river, but this doesn’t last long!
This trail crosses the river twice and it should be fairly obvious when this is necessary. The first crossing comes at a bend in the river, where a cliff of limestone blocks your path. Then, follow along the left hand side of the river for a few hundred meters before you are forced to cross the river once again.
After the second river crossing, the path rises up above the river along a steep exposed edge. It’s not for the faint hearted, so attempt this path at your own risk. If you feel more comfortable, you could walk upstream in the river instead.
The path then drops back down to the rivers edge and you will see Sgwd Einion Gam straight ahead of you. The waterfall has a tall main fall (second highest in South Wales), with a smaller ledge of cascades below.
Do not attempt this walk after heavy rain as the river will be treacherous. This route is an unofficial trail so only attempt this walk if you are a confident hiker. It’s best attempted in the summer months when water levels are lower.
7. Melincourt Falls
- Distance: 1km round trip
- Starting Point: Car park in Melincourt village near Resolven
- Time: 40 minutes
- Highlight: An easy stroll
- Waterfalls Visited: Melincourt Falls
Melincourt waterfall sits just outside of Waterfall Country but is a great short waterfall near the Brecon Beacons. From the car park, cross the road and walk along the signposted footpath which starts alongside the toilet block. This well trodden footpath is a gradual uphill walk which leads straight to the base of Melincourt Falls.
To extend this walk, as you return towards the car park you will notice a trail that branches off to the left of the main trail. Take this trail as it zig zags up to a higher trail and turn left. You will again be walking in the direction of the waterfall. This trail brings you to the top of the waterfall and to a set of smaller cascades above the main waterfall.
To finish the walk, retrace your steps back to the car park.
8. The Blue Pool Waterfall
- Distance: 6km round trip
- Starting Point: Cyfarthfa Park car park, Merthyr Tydfil
- Time: 3-4 hours
- Highlight: Explore Taf Fechan Nature Reserve
- Waterfalls Visited: The Blue Pool Falls & multiple unnamed cascades
The Blue Pool is a small waterfall on the Tef Fechan river which begins its life on the southern slopes of Pen y Fan. If you just want to see the waterfall you can park in a layby on Pontsarn Road near the Aberglais Inn, where the road crosses over the Taf Fechan river. Upriver you will see the Pontsarn Viaduct, but head downstream on the west side of the river for a few hundred meters to catch a sight of the falls. This is a popular spot for wild swimming.
The Taf Fechan Nature Reserve sits on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park near Merthyr Tydfil. Growing up here, it’s an area I’ve walked most of my life, through all seasons. On one lucky occasion I even had an otter run past me on this trail so keep your eyes peeled!
The Nature Reserve can be accessed from several points but for the best loop, begin on the well maintained path at the bottom of Cefn Coed High Street. Park in Cyfarthfa Park and exit through the North gate. Cross over the road and you will see an information board and an archway that marks the start of the trail.
The trail initially follows alongside the canal before descending to a path alongside the river. Follow this path alongside the river enjoying beautiful cascades and limestone rock formations in the gorge as you go.
After 3km the trail enters a meadow and veers off to the right, climbing a set of stairs that accesses Pontsarn road. Join the road and turn left to follow the road across Pontsarn bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn left to leave the road and get back onto the trail. On the left you will see the beautiful waterfall and the Blue Pool.
Follow this trail to loop back towards the start, this time walking along the north side of the river. After 2km the path leads down to a wooden bridge which must be crossed. Now retrace you steps along the river and canal, back to Cyfarthfa Park.
2023 Note: There is major construction on the A465 which crosses over the Taf Fechan on the early part of this walk, so follow any signposted diversions. This walk may not be possible for several months at the start of this year.
9. Nant Sere Waterall
- Distance: 8km round trip
- Starting Point: Cwm Gwdi car park
- Time: 3 hours
- Highlight: Stunning views along Cwm Sere
- Waterfalls Visited: Nant Sere Waterfallls
Nant Sere waterfalls are located in the valley to the north of Pen y Fan and Cribyn. The walk to reach these falls starts in the Cwm Gwdi car park which is the starting location for a hike of Pen y Fan along Cefn Cwm Llwch ridge.
From the car park this walk meanders through an ancient woodland before contouring around the base of Cefn Cwm Llwch. Upon reaching the northern end of the ridge, the trail then turns southbound to begin the walk along Cwm Sere.
Walking along this beautiful glacial valley provides stunning views of the quieter side of Cribyn and Pen y Fan. The waterfalls themselves are a series of cascades with two larger waterfalls of note. Pools along the Nant Sere provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy a quick dip on hot sunny days.
For a detailed description of this walk, see this guide or alternatively watch a short video of the walk here.
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Where to Stay in the Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons has several cute market towns and villages to use as a base for exploring the national park. There aren’t many large chain hotels but instead, you will find a selection of bed and breakfasts, pubs/Inns, glamping and camping opportunities.
As a central location, you can’t go far wrong with the town of Brecon. The beautiful Camden Lodge B&B offers exceptional service, with large, clean rooms that have delightful views over the hills. To experience the charm of a cosy, local pub try the Usk and Railway Inn at Sennybridge. This is a fabulous location for mountain bikers looking to get out in the hills.
If you’d prefer to be based near the Black Mountains in the east, opt for the Ty Croeso Boutique B&B which is an exquisitely renovated Victorian building located near the small town of Crickhowell. In the west, Cwtch Bach is a gorgeous stone bricked holiday home perfect for exploring The Black Mountain region.
For a luxury glamping experience try the Cuddfan, whose bell tent located along the banks of the river Grwyne offers a real escape back into nature. For more luxury glamping ideas take a look at this guide to glamping in the Brecon Beacons.
Summary of Waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons has a beautiful choice of waterfalls to explore and in this guide I have outlined 9 of the best options. There are walking options for families as well as hikes for the more adventurous.
Be sure to check the weather before you leave and pack accordingly….
- Waterproofs – the weather can change quickly in the Brecon Beacons so always be prepared for wet weather!
- Water – bottles with filters are very handy for safely refilling in streams and rivers. Discover which filtered water bottle is the best for hiking in this comprehensive review.
- Good hiking shoes/boots – some areas are often wet and slippery, especially in winter. Good footwear is essential.
- These paths are marked on the free maps.me app so download the map before you go.
Enjoy these nearby hikes next!
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