Walking Britain - www.walkingbritain.co.uk
Walk 2400 - Pen y Fan from Cwmgwdi near Brecon
Author - Rhydian Williams
Length - 5.0 miles / 8.1 km
Ascent - 2000 feet / 606 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SO024248
The Brecon Beacons offer many opportunities for walking and this route onto the highest summit in the range makes a pleasant half day excursion into this National Park. The start is the car park (grid ref. SO024248), which can be found about half a mile south of Cwmgwdi, a small hamlet easily reached from Brecon.
After parking walk south from the car park taking the well defined path leading to Cefn Cwm Llwych. The path soon climbs steeply for half a mile before the gradient eases. Quite early in the walk you are rewarded with improving views over the Wye Valley to the north. Ahead you can see the main objective of this walk, Pan y Fan (886 m.) with its sister peaks of Corn Du (873 m.) and Cribyn (795 m.) to its right and left respectively.
Having gained the ridge of Cefn Cwm Llwych you lose a little height before making the final climb onto Pen y Fan. This section of the route is steep but it offers a spectacular view of the north facing cliffs of the Brecon Beacons something which cannot be appreciated when approaching from the south.
It is unlikely you will be alone on Pen Y Fan as it is a very accessible summit especially from the west. Having gained all this height it might be worthwhile extending the walk either turning west to visit Corn Du or east to Cribyn. However do remember that the latter summit entails a stiff climb back onto Pen y Fan.
To return to the start retrace your steps to the start. Caution is needed on the initial descent from Pen y Fanís summit especially after rain or in winter conditions. With the route downhill all the way back to the start you can enjoy the superb panorama ahead with the hills of mid-Wales rising above the Wye Valley.