The Highest Mountains In The Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons is one of three national parks in Wales and has an area of 519 square miles. The park consists of flat-topped peaks and glacial valleys (cwms), managed forestries and reservoirs and a large selection of waterfalls, castles and ancient monuments.

There are 34 mountains (Nuttalls) in the Brecon Beacons National Park which range from 886m to 616m in height. There are many more peaks dotted throughout the park however they aren’t tall enough to qualify as mountains. 

In this guide I list the highest peaks in the Brecon Beacons and provide walking descriptions on how to reach them.

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Brecon Beacons Mountains

The Brecon Beacons are broadly made up of three mountain ranges. The mountain ranges are the Black Mountain (Y Mynydd Du) in the west, the Brecon Beacons also known as the Central Beacons across the middle and the Black Mountains (plural) in the east which stretch to the border with England. Just to confuse matters more, there is also a mountain in the Black Mountains called the Black Mountain! 

Fforest Fawr is an upland area of the Central Beacons range and a UNESCO Geopark. The Brecon Beacons is commonly divided into four regions consisting of the Black Mountain, the Central Beacons, Fforest Fawr and the Black Mountains. The Beacons mountains are all formed from old red sandstone.

The park and its mountains are spread across the counties of Carmarthenshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen.

The highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park is Pen y Fan (886m), the second highest is Corn Du (871m) and the third highest is Craig Gwaun Taf (Bwlch Duwynt). These 3 summits are bagged during the classic Pen y Fan Horseshoe walk from the Neuadd car park, in the Taf Fechan Forest.

Mountains and Nuttalls

The classification of mountains is very specific and can vary in name from country to country. For example you may have heard of Wainwrights in England or Munros in Scotland. For the purposes of this list, I will include all peaks in the Brecon Beacons classified as a mountain or a Nuttall. In Welsh Nuttall classification, a mountain is defined as being over 2000ft (610m) in height, with a rise of 50ft (15m) from all its surroundings. There are 34 peaks (Nuttalls) in the Brecon Beacons.

Struggling to pronounce all the Welsh names? Take a look at this handy guide to learn more!

The Tallest Mountains in the Brecon Beacons

Rank Mountain Height (metres) Height (feet) Range
1 Pen y Fan 886m 2907ft Brecon Beacons
2 Corn Du 871m 2859ft Brecon Beacons
3 Craig Gwaun Taf (Bwlch Duwynt) 826m 2710ft Brecon Beacons
4 Waun Fach 811m 2662ft Black Mountains
5 Fan Brycheiniog (Twr y Fan Foel) 802m 2632ft The Black Mountain
6 Pen y Gadair Fawr 800m 2625ft Black Mountains
Cribyn 795m 2609ft Brecon Beacons
8 Waun Rydd 769m 2524ft Brecon Beacons
9 Fan Hir 760m 2494ft The Black Mountain
10 Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion (Bwlch y Ddwyallt) 754m 2475ft Brecon Beacons
11 Picws Du (Bannau Sir Gaer) 749m 2458ft The Black Mountain
12 Fan Fawr 734m 2409ft Brecon Beacons
13 Fan Gyhirych 725m 2379ft Brecon Beacons
14 Pen Allt-mawr 719m 2362ft Black Mountains
15 Fan y Big 716m 2351ft Brecon Beacons
16 Rhos Dirion 713m 2340ft Black Mountains
17 Black Mountain 703m 2307ft Black Mountains
18 Pen Cerrig-calch 701m 2300ft Black Mountains
19 Twmpa (Lord Hereford’s Knob) 690m 2264ft Black Mountains
20 Chwarel y Fan 679m 2228ft Black Mountains
21 Waun Lefrith (Bannau Sir Gaer) 677m 2221ft The Black Mountain
22 Fan Fraith 668m 2192ft Brecon Beacons
23 Fan Nedd 663m 2175ft Brecon Beacons
24 Mynydd Llaysiau 663m 2175ft Black Mountains
25 Pen Twyn Mawr 658m 2160ft Black Mountains
26 Allt Lwyd 654m 2146ft Brecon Beacons
27 Pen Twyn Glas 646m 2120ft Black Mountains
28 Garreg Las (Twyn Swnd) 635m 2084ft The Black Mountain
29 Fan Llia 631m 2073ft Brecon Beacons
30 Craig Cerrig-gleisiad 629m 2064ft Brecon Beacons
31 Fan Frynych 628m 2062ft Brecon Beacons
32 Y Gyrn 619m 2032ft Brecon Beacons
33 Cefn yr Ystrad 617m 2025ft Brecon Beacons
34 Moel Gornach (Garreg Lwyd) 616m 2021ft The Black Mountain

 

Hiking the 10 Highest Mountains in the Brecon Beacons

1. Pen y Fan, 886m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

As the highest summit in the Brecon Beacons, Pen y Fan is the most well known Beacons peak and a popular hiking destination. There are multiple routes that lead to the summit of Pen y Fan and multiple starting locations. Each route varies in length and difficulty, with the easiest being an ascent from the Pont ar Daf car park on the A470.

For a guide to all the routes up Pen y Fan, see this guide.

2. Corn Du, 871m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

The second highest peak in the Brecon beacons is located right next Pen y Fan and can easily be summited during a hike of Pen y Fan. The easiest hike to Corn Du begins at the Pont ar Daf car park and follows a well-made stone path all the way to the summit.

Corn Du is the second highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons
Corn Du

3. Craig Gwaun Taf (Bwlch Duwynt), 826m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

Craig Gwaun Taf is another summit in the Central Beacons in close proximity to Pen y Fan and just 760m from Corn Du. This flat peak was promoted to a Nuttall in 2016 and is bagged during the classic Pen y Fan Horseshoe hike.

Snow covered Pen y Fan at sunset
Views from atop Bwlch Duwynt

4. Waun Fach, 811m

Map: OS Explorer OL13 Brecon Beacons National Park

Waun Fach is the highest mountain in the Black Mountains of the east and the 40th highest mountain in Wales. The summit is broad and often boggy, but offers great views over the Black Mountains region. One the best hikes of Waun Fach is a circular loop which starts from Pengenffordd and takes in the Dragon’s Back ridge.

Click here to learn more about walking Waun Fach.

5. Fan Brycheiniog (Twr y Fan Foel), 802m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

Fan Brycheiniog is the highest mountain in the Black Mountain range of the Brecon Beacons. It overlooks Llyn y Fan Fawr and is part of a stunning ridge walk along the Carmarthen Fans. There are several walking routes that take in Fan Brycheiniog which have different starting locations.

For all the walks of Fan Brycheiniog, see this guide. 

Fan Brycheiniog is the fifth highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons
Fan Brycheiniog overlooking Llyn y Fan Fawr

6. Pen y Gadair Fawr, 800m

Map: OS Explorer OL13 Brecon Beacons National Park

Located in the Black Mountains, Pen y Gadair Fawr is an outlier of Waun Fach, sitting on one of several ridges in the region that run from Northwest to Southeast. Ascents to the summit can be made from the Grwyne Fawr Valley, Llanbedr or Pengenffordd.

7. Cribyn, 795m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

Cribyn is another mountain located along a loop of the classic Pen y Fan horseshoe. An out and back route to Cribyn can be enjoyed along the old Roman Road from the Neuadd car park in the Taf Fechan Forest or on a longer route along the summits from Upper Blaen y Glyn car park.

Cribyn is in the top 10 tallest mountains in the Brecon Beacons
Cribyn at sunrise

8. Waun Rydd, 769m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

Waun Rydd is a large plateau peak on the eastern edge of the Central Beacons. The top is often boggy and there are steep escarpments on several sides. On its western flank lies the remains of a Wellington Bomber which crashed into the hill in 1942.

There are a few options to walk Waun Rydd. One option is a horseshoe loop which starts from the northern end of Talybont Reservoir and takes in the lesser peaks of Allt Lwyd and Twyn Du. Another option is a loop which starts at Blaen y Glyn and skirts around its southwestern cwm.

Read more about hiking Waun Rydd in this guide.

Waun Rydd summit plateau

9. Fan Hir, 760m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

Located on the Black Mountain ridge in the western Beacons, Fan Hir is the southern neighbour of Fan Brycheiniog. Fan Hir has a steep eastern face and provides views over Llyn y Fan Fawr to the north. Fan Hir is mostly climbed on a loop of the Carmarthen Fans which starts from the A4067. A shorter walk to the summit can be achieved from the lay-by on Heol Lan.

These routes are both described on the guides to walking Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr.

Fan Hir’s eastern ridge

10. Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion (Bwlch y Ddwyallt), 754m

Map: OS Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park

Bwlch y Ddwyallt is the high point of Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion and is marked by a stone cairn. Located in the Central Beacons, it is a sub peak of Waun Rydd. Walks to Bwlch y Ddwyallt are often added or included on walks of Waun Rydd, starting at Talybont Reservoir or Upper Blaen y Glyn car park.

Alternatively, this peak can be included as part of a loop walk to Fan y Big from Upper Blaen y Glyn car park.

The 10th highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons is Bwlch y Ddwyallt
Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion escarpment with a dusting of snow

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Hiking routes include the ever popular Pen y Fan, Llyn y Fan Fach, Sugar Loaf and the Four Falls.

Click here to learn more!

Final Thoughts on the Highest Mountains in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons are a range of mountains that stretch across the width of South Wales. The mountains are made from old red sandstone and are broadly divided into 3 ranges. Under Welsh Nuttall classification, there are 34 mountains in the Brecon Beacons, the highest of which is Pen y Fan.

There are many more hills and peaks to explore around the Brecon Beacons which don’t qualify as mountains on this list. For a guide to my favourite hill walks in the Brecon Beacons see this post and for all the best waterfall walks in the Brecon Beacons see this guide.

Louise

Louise is a tour leader from South Wales who runs adventure tours in Africa, Asia and the Americas. She lives in her converted campervan & is currently based in the UK. Louise is trained in mountain leadership and is a published photographer.

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