Pen y Fan – Reviewing the Walk

The A470 main road runs more or less parallel to this, the original road to Brecon, the regional town of the Brecon Beacons. I suspect it was relatively busy in its day but perhaps a little quieter than the current road.

There may have been quite a lot of people on my walk this week but I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Original Brecon Road

Pen y Fan Voices

Taf Fechan

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Looking Up and Looking Down

Backwards and forwards, looking up and looking down, these photos from my walk this week up Pen y Fan with the Living Taff group, show how clearly defined the footpath is and the sort of surface it has. I understand that the laying of the path started in the 1990s as a result of the ground getting mashed up by so many people doing the climb.

Having already walked in the Brecon Beacons for a few years, I think it was about 1989 or 1990 that I first climbed these particular peaks – Corn Du and Pen y Fan. That was before they started laying the path and I remember being lucky enough to have chosen a time that allowed me to have the place almost to myself.

Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons

The last shot below shows just a fraction of the parked cars on the main route through the Beacons on the A470 near the Storey Arms Outdoor Education Centre. There are other routes to climb these mountains but my favourite walks are further west by Fan Nedd and Fan Gyhirych.

Having complained about the crowds, I should say that I also think it is wonderful that so many people from all walks of life are keen to do this walk – it can only do them good, both physically and mentally and with hard wearing paths laid to protect the ground from so many feet, it is a win win situation.

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The Ground Underfoot and a Second Source

Walking with the Living Taff group, our mini expedition to find the two sources of the River Taff, or Afon Taf, on the slopes of Pen y Fan and Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons, we took a short cut across open grassland to the second and larger source of the river, the Taf Fawr.

“Fawr” meaning big, the source was indeed larger than the previous one round the other side of the mountain, but the river at this stage of its life is still quite small as you would expect.

grass in the Brecon Beacons

Walking through the dry, scratchy, springy grass was a very pleasant sensation. We listened to the sound of our footsteps and thought about its texture and colour and the peacefulness of this part of our walk.

I managed to record a small snippet of this part of our walk and whilst the soft murmur of voices from the rest of the group is still in the background, there is also the gentle flow of this youngest stage of the river accompanied by the flow of a warm breeze through the grass and across the shoulder of the hill. We had enjoyed the skylarks too but at the point of recording, they had decided to keep quiet.

Taf Fawr

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Looking East from Pen y Fan

The view looking east from Pen y Fan on my walk this week was as spectacular as it was in every other direction from this viewpoint. As can be seen from the shots below, there were plenty of people enjoying the vista from the peak of Corn Du too.

I am not a great fan of camera filters but there are definitely occasions when they can be useful – if only I had had a one with me!

Brecon Beacons

Cribyn in the Brecon Beacons

Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons

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Looking South from the Beacons

As I approached the first, (or smaller) source of the River Taff, Blaen Taf Fechan (correction – Taf Fechan, see comments on previous post), on my walk this week with the Living Taff group, I took yet another of my frequent stops to look at the view. Looking south from the slopes of Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, I could see all the way to the Bristol Channel, Flat Holm island and beyond to Somerset in England.

Brecon Beacons

England can’t be seen in the shot above which concentrates on the patterns and textures on the slopes of Craig Gwaun Taf which leads up to Corn Du, but the first of the shots below gives a pretty good wider view of the scene, even though the distant atmosphere was quite hazy. In the closer surroundings of the mountains the colours and patterns of light and shade kept changing with the passing clouds.

The Blaen Taf Fechan (below) joins the Blaen Taf Fawr (correction – Taf Fawr, see comments on previous post) at Merthyr Tydfil to become the Afon Taf or River Taff which then flows on down to Wales’ capital city, Cardiff.

These photos are devoid of humans but they were there and there was the constant murmur of voices all around us. It wasn’t disturbing or even annoying really, just present.

Pen y Fan Voices

My Walk this Week – The Taff and Pen y Fan


My walk this week is from a recent sunny Sunday morning when I met up with the Living Taff group for an exploration of the two sources of the River Taff. The river runs from the Brecon Beacons down to Cardiff on the south eastern coast of Wales. It has two sources which meet at Merthyr Tydfil – one of them rises from the earth just below Pen y Fan, the highest peak of the Brecon Beacons while the other starts a little lower and on the western slopes of Corn Du.

Looking west from Corn Du

Pen y Fan and Corn Du are popular places these days, and if the weather is good on a Sunday, the footpaths up these slopes can get very crowded. The photographs below only show a handful of the ascending crowd – it became very much busier later on!

My first photo today shows a view looking west from Corn Du with the others showing its slopes and the flat summit that walkers are heading for before continuing to Pen y Fan.