How To Hike The Sugar Loaf Mountain, Wales


The Sugar Loaf mountain is a small peak in the Black Mountains of South wales. In this guide I describe two walking route options to reach the summit of Sugar Loaf.

The Sugarloaf mountain, Wales

The Sugar Loaf

At 596m high Sugar Loaf UK actually falls shy of full mountain status by just 4m. However, for a relatively small amount of effort the views from atop this Welsh hill reach far and wide.

On clear days there are impressive views of Abergavenny to the South, Pen y Fan and the Central Beacons to the west and the Severn Estuary to the South East.

From most angles, the Sugar Loaf, or Pen Y Fal as it’s known in Welsh, stands out from other flat top peaks in the Brecon Beacons as it appears to be conical in shape.

Sugar Loaf is often mistaken as an extinct volcano because of this conical shape but it is in fact red sandstone, like the rest of the Black Mountains.

That being said, once on top of Sugar Loaf you will soon discover that it too is a relatively flap-topped peak with a ridge running along its length. At the western most end of the summit ridge there are several rock pinnacle towers, which are worth exploring for some bouldering and photography fun.

Sugar Loaf mountain is located just 6km from the market town of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, South Wales. Sugar loaf, along with Skirrid Fawr and Blorenge comprise the Abergavenny 3 peaks.

Did you know? To be considered a mountain rather than a hill, the peak summit needs to stand at 600m or more. Sugar Loaf doesn’t qualify as a mountain but to discover all the highest mountains in Wales, take a look at this guide!

Views from the summit of Sugar Loaf UK
Rock pinnacles and views from the top of Sugar Loaf summit

Sugar Loaf Walk, Brecon Beacons

Paths to the summit of Sugar Loaf ascend from all directions, but the most interesting routes are from the South. There is no public transport available to these remote car parks so without a car there is the longer option to walk to Sugar Loaf from Abergavenny itself.

1. Sugar Loaf walk from Mynydd Llanwenarth (National Trust car park with no facilities)

Route overview: A partial loop walk across open moorland to the summit of Sugar Loaf.

From the car park take the trail to the right of the information board. The paths leading to Sugar Loaf are all wide and obvious to follow. After 1.3km the path forks into two. Take the fork to the right which heads towards the eastern end of the summit ridge. (you will return via the left fork)

Upon reaching the base of the hill the climb becomes steeper and one final push is required to reach the ridge summit. Once on the ridge turn left to walk along to the Sugar Loaf trig point.

Leave the summit from the western end of the ridge and follow the path until it rejoins the point where you branched off to the right on the outbound leg. Now simply retrace your steps back to the LLanwenarth car park.

  • Pros of this Sugar Loaf walk: Easy parking at the National trust car park
  • Cons of this Sugar Loaf hike: This is the most popular route up Sugar Loaf and can get very busy
Trig point on the summit of a Sugar Loaf walk
Sugar Loaf summit trig point

2. Sugar Loaf walk from Porth-y-parc (Lay-by with no facilities)

Route description: An out and back walk through old Oak woodland and open moorland

From the lay-by take the small tarmac lane opposite and begin walking uphill. This lane shortly becomes a footpath as you begin the ascent through a beautiful old oak woodland. The path is quite obvious to follow.

Once out of the forest and onto open moorland you will then see Sugar Loaf standing proud ahead of you. You will see various paths leading through the ferns to the summit. Cross through the gate and take the path to the right.

At the base of the hill the path becomes a little rocky and one big push is required to reach the summit ridge. Continue along the ridge to reach the summit trig point.

For the return journey simply retrace your steps back to Porth-y-parc lay-by.

  • Pros of this Sugar Loaf route: A fairly quiet trail which includes a walk through a beautiful old Oak forest
  • Cons of this Sugar Loaf trail: There is only a small lay-by at the start with room for around 10 cars to park and there is more elevation gain
The return path to Porth-y-parc lay-by

For more information on walks in the Brecon Beacons, take a look at this guide!

What to pack for your Sugar Loaf walking trip

For a complete mountain day packing list, take a look at this article.

Where To Stay After Hiking Sugar Loaf

The best place to stay after hiking Sugar Loaf is in nearby Abergavenny. Abergavenny is a historic market town which has a fabulous food festival in September. Throughout the year you can enjoy Michelin Starred fine dining, at the famed Walnut Inn or for tasty pub grub try the Lamb and Flag Inn which is just on the outskirts. For some wine tasting head to Sugarloaf Vineyard.

Abergavenny has numerous accommodation options which you can explore here.

Booking.com

Sugar Loaf Walk Summary

Sugar Loaf is a conical shaped peak on the outskirts of Abergavenny in South Wales. This peak sits in the Black Mountains region of the Brecon Beacons. Walking to the summit of Sugar Loaf usually takes around 2 – 2.5 hours to complete.

I describe two walks to reach the top of Sugar Loaf mountain in this guide, both of which start of gradually then have a short steep section to finish. Fabulous 360 degree views await those walkers who reach the summit.

LouFrance

Louise is an overland leader from South Wales who runs adventure tours in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Louise is trained in mountain leadership and has a passion for photography.

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