1 DAY in Wales, a little taste of Brecon Beacons National Park
Brecon Beacons National Park is one of the best spots in Wales that you can visit if you have a spare day and feel like hiking, staying connected with nature.
So finally, after one year living just half an hour from the Welsh border, I finally had some time to spend a whole day in this amazing place.
Although the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Wales is Cardiff or Swansea, I want to talk about one if not the most amazing place in Wales: Brecon Beacons and specifically Pen Y Fan, which roughly translates as “Top Spot”.
But let me first introduce the national park to you. The Breckon Beacons is a range of mountains in South Wales, north of Cardiff and Newport, just a few hours away from London (less than 4 hours) and Bristol (less than 2 hours). It became a National Park in 1957 for its beautiful landscapes and natural highlights but also for the pre-historic sites which are present around the park. Of course, in one day it is impossible to see it all, but you will definitely be able to explore most of the beauty this stunning national park can offer in a couple of days or more.
There are many hiking routes that you can take to reach the Pen y Fan’ s 886m peak, and different starting point such us Pont ar Daf and Storey Car Park.
I have decided to start from Pont ar Daf, which is 2 miles walk and it approximately takes one hour each way to walk the whole path. Mind you, it is steep! But it is manageable because it gradually gets steeper as you go along. This route is family and pet friendly compared to the alternative ones which might be a little bit more challenging.
The other alternative is to go down a 5 miles route, which is a little bit more challenging as there is an alternation of uphill and downhills as opposed to a steady, linear, and gradually steep walk as discussed above. This usually takes on average 3 hours to walk each way.
As I said above, this walk started in Pont ar Daf car park. The climb started to be very interesting as far as landscape is concerned, as you will have to cross a tiny wooden bridge crossing a river. This is very Intagrammable and picturesque (took some amazing shots with my GoPro and Osmo mobile3). The whole walk deserved several stops as every few meters offered a new scenery with a different breathtaking perspective of the surrounding scenery. The whole experience was made even more authentic and picturesque by the hundreds of sheep scattered around the hills, free to wonder minding their own businesses eating the grass.
Another tip that I would like to give you is to layer up. This of course really depends on the time of the year you are going, but if you are going in spring/summer and is a sunny day, wear a t-shirt as it can get really hot under the sun, as well as a jumper you can wear should it get too cloudy. Also, it is a pretty exposed area, no trees or hills around to protect you from the wind, and it can get quite windy and cold!
After about one hour and a half of walking uphill, I have reached a junction with two paths that offered a breathtaking landscape reveal. At this point you really realize how high you have climbed. The first path took to Corn Du Peak and the other one took to Pen Y Fan.
I decided to take the path for Corn Du peak first, which is only 13 meters lower than Pen Y Fan.
I sat down on a rock to have lunch with a stunning view to say the least. The whole landscape was so harmonic, peaceful and it generated in me a sense of peace that only these wonderful gifts of nature can give.
After few pics and videos on different points of view, I continued the path for Pen Y Fan. The view was amazing too, but I honestly think it is a bit overrated when compared to the view that Corn Du peak offers. There were just too many people around and it was harder to reach.
Next time I will definitely go to see the sunset! Descending down the path was pretty easy to do and in less than an hour I was again at Pont ar Daf car Park which offers toilets and really cheap takeaways trucks (the whippy ice-cream is still with the original price £1).
Should I go to hike Pen Y Fan?
Please DO IT! It has been an amazing outdoor experience. Perfect for who loves hiking, amazing landscapes and photography.