The Highest Mountains In The Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog)

Bannau Brycheiniog (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.

The Central Brecon Beacons is home to the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons

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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.

The Nuttall classification is applied to peaks in England and Wales. By this definition a mountain is defined as being over 2000ft (610m) in height, with a rise of 50ft (15m) from all its surroundings. This is different to a Hewitt which applies to peaks in England, Wales and Ireland. By this definition a mountain is defined as being over 200ft (610m) in height but with a rise of 98.4ft (30m).

There are 34 peaks (Nuttalls) in the Brecon Beacons. Several of these mountains don’t qualify as a Hewitt, the most famous of which is Fan y Big, which was remeasured in 2018 and found to only have a prominence of 93ft. It was subsequently downgraded!

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

The Tallest Mountains in the Brecon Beacons

RankMountainHeight (metres)Height (feet)Range
1Pen y Fan886m2907ftBrecon Beacons
2Corn Du871m2859ftBrecon Beacons
3Craig Gwaun Taf (Bwlch Duwynt)826m2710ftBrecon Beacons
4Waun Fach811m2662ftBlack Mountains
5Fan Brycheiniog (Twr y Fan Foel)802m2632ftThe Black Mountain
6Pen y Gadair Fawr800m2625ftBlack Mountains
Cribyn795m2609ftBrecon Beacons
8Waun Rydd769m2524ftBrecon Beacons
9Fan Hir760m2494ftThe Black Mountain
10Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion (Bwlch y Ddwyallt)754m2475ftBrecon Beacons
11Picws Du (Bannau Sir Gaer)749m2458ftThe Black Mountain
12Fan Fawr734m2409ftBrecon Beacons
13Fan Gyhirych725m2379ftBrecon Beacons
14Pen Allt-mawr719m2362ftBlack Mountains
15Fan y Big716m2351ftBrecon Beacons
16Rhos Dirion713m2340ftBlack Mountains
17Black Mountain703m2307ftBlack Mountains
18Pen Cerrig-calch701m2300ftBlack Mountains
19Twmpa (Lord Hereford’s Knob)690m2264ftBlack Mountains
20Chwarel y Fan679m2228ftBlack Mountains
21Waun Lefrith (Bannau Sir Gaer)677m2221ftThe Black Mountain
22Fan Fraith668m2192ftBrecon Beacons
23Fan Nedd663m2175ftBrecon Beacons
24Mynydd Llaysiau663m2175ftBlack Mountains
25Pen Twyn Mawr658m2160ftBlack Mountains
26Allt Lwyd654m2146ftBrecon Beacons
27Pen Twyn Glas646m2120ftBlack Mountains
28Garreg Las (Twyn Swnd)635m2084ftThe Black Mountain
29Fan Llia631m2073ftBrecon Beacons
30Craig Cerrig-gleisiad629m2064ftBrecon Beacons
31Fan Frynych628m2062ftBrecon Beacons
32Y Gyrn619m2032ftBrecon Beacons
33Cefn yr Ystrad617m2025ftBrecon Beacons
34Moel Gornach (Garreg Lwyd)616m2021ftThe Black Mountain

Hiking the 10 Highest Mountains in the Brecon Beacons

1. Pen y Fan, 886m

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Pen y Gadair

7. Cribyn, 795m

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

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

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 lay-bys on Heol Lan. These routes are both described on the guides to walking Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr.

The western slopes of Fan Hir is home to the wreckage of Vampire jet aircraft that crashed into the mountainside in 1953. To learn more about visiting this crash site, see this guide.

Fan Hir ridge
Fan Hir’s eastern ridge

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

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 or from Llanfrynach. Read more about all the hikes of Fan y Big here.

Bwlch y Ddwyallt is the 10th tallest peak in the Brecon Beacons
Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion

Now Available

Bannau Brycheiniog Hiking Routes

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

Enjoy 35 beautiful hikes in Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons) with the help of my pre-planned hiking routes. I have 35 beautiful hiking trails marked out on the free, offline app Maps.me. Simply download my pins into the app and choose which one of these epic hikes you’d like to enjoy!

Final Thoughts on the Highest Mountains in the Brecon Beacons

Bannau Brycheiniog (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.

Prefer not to walk alone? If you’re looking for a Mountain Leader to guide you on a mountain adventure, please contact me here to discuss rates and availability.

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Louise

Louise is a Mountain Leader and Snowboard Instructor from South Wales. As a former Adventure Tour Leader she has spent the last 15 years travelling Asia, Africa and the Americas. Louise is a published photographer and is currently based in the UK.

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