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  • Writer's pictureMair

Exploring the Brecon Beacons National Park

Updated: May 19, 2021

It doesn't matter how many times you have explored the Brecon Beacons National Park, there are always new parts waiting to be discovered. I can guarantee that you’ll leave the trail with some great new memories, whether it’s a fantastic view from a new angle, quirky landmarks, or a bit of history hidden on the track.

Me and the view! Credit: Ad Astra

This time, I went out with a group, organized by Ad Astra Adventures. Kat, my guide, has led tours through Columbia, Mongolia and Everest Base Camp, so she has a wealth of experience.

Credit: Nathan Young Photography

There is something special about walking with other people you do not know.

The trail is place where you can take a break from day to day life, turn off technology and have unexpected conversations. Especially during these times, walking outside in the fresh open air is one of the safest and most accessible activity to those who wish to go. As we all know, not only is it great for our physical health, but our mental health too.

We met at the Pontsticill reservoir, which is about 8.8 miles from Tal-Y-Bont on Usk (or 16 from Brecon). There are little places to park along the reservoir, but the roads are narrow and single lane so make sure you plan your starting point before you travel. Luckily for us, Kat had planned the transport back to the car park as our walk was linear and wouldn’t necessarily bring us back to the beginning. It was nice to have a day out where all the little things were organized (including lunch at the end!).

The Autumn colours were beautiful in the valley. This picture was taken on my phone, the reflections of the water were absolutely stunning and the skies were clear and blue.

We started along the road past the reservoir and made our way up a track. Old stone walls and landmarks lay quietly in the leafy lanes. The air was so clean and fresh, which is one of the things I’ve actually really noticed since moving back home from the city.

The stony track turned into grass as we reached the summit of our first hill. The views over the top of were breathtaking – you could see the Black Mountains straight in front of you, with Ysgyryd Fawr (more commonly known as The Skirrid) in Abergavenny beyond. It was relaxing to take time out, unwind and take in the beautiful scenery the Brecon Beacons has to offer.

Kat knew lots about the area- sharing tales, wisdom and facts about the landscape. The relaxed, friendly, atmosphere of the walk made it even more enjoyable as we strode across the stunning countryside.

We diverted left to the top of a peak to look down at the Talybont reservoir. We were so lucky with the weather – remember to always be prepared for cloud cover to change rapidly in Wales! Thankfully, that wasn’t forecast for today – so we took a break and enjoyed the views.

There’s a word in Welsh called ‘Hiraeth’, which doesn’t have a direct translation to English. It reflects of a feeling – where you long to be back in the hills of Wales. If you explore the Brecon Beacons once, you know that it will draw you back again!

We dropped down to a woodland path, which was a nice variation from the open top trail over the mountain range. The fresh air turned into pine as we meandered through the forest tracks. Every single tree was like a giant and provided shelter from a light rain which had began to fall. This only boosted the smell of fresh leaves and it was obvious this woodland was a haven for wildlife.

We didn’t see may people along this part of the walk, making it even more magical, and we stopped every now and then to look at waterfalls over the hill – but Kat had another surprise for us.

The meandering path brought us back to the tarmac, but we carried on up to a smaller track next to the car park at Blaen y Glyn Isaf.

Credit: Nathan Young Photography

“Wait until the top!” Kat smiled as we walked alongside a river bank which evolved into lots of little waterfalls. It was a small incline upwards, but there it was at the end. As soon as you walked over the wooden footbridge, there it was in front of you. A towering waterfall with such power from the icy cold mountain water. The Brecon Beacons at it's best.

Do you fancy walking this route for yourself? Head over to for more information.



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