Pen-y-Fan

The Highest Mountain in the Brecon Beacons and Southern Britain

We offer three different routes to climb this iconic mountain: Storey Arms, the North Face and the Horseshoe

Pen-y-Fan Grade (A): Storey Arms

DISTANCE: 5.5 MILES, ASCENT: 563M
Includes picnic lunch, expert guiding by a mountain leader/geologist, and pick up from Abergavenny station or your local accommodation
Duration: 10am - 6pm
Number of places: 1-6 (or more if using your vehicle) 

£52 PER PERSON

(Based on 2 people, price is reduced with more people. We will run the tour with only one person for £78. Full pricing info is on our Booking and Prices page)

This is the easiest way up to the top of the highest mountain in southern Britain, Pen-y-Fan (886m).  The views at the top are superb. However it must be noted that because it is the easiest way up, it is also the busiest way up. If you are seeking a more isolated feeling and are fit enough to do so, we strongly suggest taking routes (b) or (c). However if your mission is to get to the top but you know you are less fit, then this is the way for you to  go.

A photograph of Cribyn as seen from Pen y Fan and a Brecon Beacons walking tour
The view of Cribyn from the summit of Pen-y-Fan
The summit of Pen-y-Fan viewed from Corn Du
Looking back at the summit of Pen-y-Fan from the summit of Corn Du.
Decending the ridge from above Llyn Cwm Llwch
Decending the ridge from above Llyn Cwm Llwch
The path to Corn Du
The path that we descend back to the road from Corn Du

Route

We start and finish at Storey Arms on the main A470 road between Brecon and Cardiff. Our ascent is up a very popular route nicknamed 'The Motorway'. This route is a relatively easy plod that continuously climbs. Eventually we reach Bwlch Duwynt where we get great views looking down on to the Neuadd Resevoir and the southern horseshoe  that is walked on walk grade (c). We then continue on bypassing Corn Du to reach the summit of Pen-y-Fan. Here the views are amazing. Looking north it is possible to see Brecon, Llangorse Lake, the Black Mountains, the Cambrian Mountains and in the far distance the Malvern Hills. On exceptional days you can even see Cadair Idris in Snowdonia! Looking south it is possible to see the Bristol Channel, Mumbles Lighthouse in Swansea and even the coast of Devon. On the summit there are also the remains of an iron age cairn.

We then move on to the slightly lower peak of Corn Du, which again has superb views. We then climb down the ridge of Craig Cwm Llwch and get great views looking down on to the glacial lake of Llyn Cwm Llwch and its impressive moraines. Our next stop is the Obelisk of Tommy Jones. Here we learn the sad story of Tommy who died aged 5, lost and looking for his grandparents' farm house. Finally we descend all the way back down to Storey Arms on the main road.

BOOTS SYMBOL EXPLAINED

weather clip art

When booking this tour please also read our Weather page, because it can be affected by bad weather.

Pen-y-Fan Grade (B): The North Face

DISTANCE: 5.5 MILES, ASCENT: 563M
Includes picnic lunch, expert guiding by a mountain leader/geologist, and pick up from Abergavenny station or your local accommodation
Duration: 10am - 6pm
Number of places: 1-6 (or more if using your vehicle) 

£50 PER PERSON

(Based on 2 people, price is reduced with more people. We will run the tour with only one person for £75. Full pricing info is on our Booking and Prices page)
DISTANCE: 7 MILES, ASCENT: 727M

This is our personal favourite way up Pen-y-Fan. It is not very long but is steeper and harder than route (A). It is also much quieter than routes (A) or (C) which can both be reasonably busy. Normally you will not see another soul in Cwm Sere, which is in contrast from the peaks which can be quiet busy.

Ascending the beautiful and secluded valley of Cwm Sere.
Ascending the beautiful and secluded valley of Cwm Sere.
The route we use to ascend the north face of Pen-y-Fan, via Craig Cwm Sere at the head of the Cwm Sere valley.
The route we use to ascend the north face of Pen-y-Fan, via Craig Cwm Sere at the head of the Cwm Sere valley.
On the steep slope of Craig Cwm Sere on the north face of Pen-y-Fan
On the steep slope of Craig Cwm Sere on the north face of Pen-y-Fan
Arriving onto the ridge of Craig Cwm Sere
Arriving onto the ridge of Craig Cwm Sere

Route

We start the walk at the National Trust car park at Cwm Gwdi. The first stage of the walk is on fairly flat ground that can be quite muddy in places and we pass the Iron Age Fort of Plas-y-Gaer.  We then ascend one of the most spectacular and wildest valleys in the Brecon Beacons: Cwm Sere. The lower reaches of the valley are well wooded and lead into an amphitheater created by the steep northern slopes of Cribyn and Pen-y-Fan, the two highest peaks in the Beacons. We then climb up the very steep northern head-wall of Craig Cwm Sere, however, the path has a good angle and it is not as difficult as it looks!

From the lowest point between Cribyn and Pen-y-Fan, we climb the main path up to the top of Pen-y-Fan (886m). Here the views are amazing. Looking north it is possible to see Brecon, Llangorse Lake, the Black Mountains, the Cambrian Mountains and in the far distance the Malvern Hills. On exceptional days you can even see Cadair Idris in Snowdonia! Looking south it is possible to see the Bristol Channel, Mumbles Lighthouse in Swansea and even the coast of Devon. On the summit there are also the remains of an iron age cairn.

After gaining the summit, we descend via Cefn Cwm Llwch and have great views down into Cwm Llwch which has a beautiful glacial formed lake (Llyn Cwm Llwch) and moraines. Our path leads us all the way back to Cwm Gwdi where we started.

BOOTS SYMBOL EXPLAINED

weather clip art

When booking this tour please also read our Weather page, because it can be affected by bad weather.

Pen-y-Fan Grade (C): The Horseshoe

DISTANCE: 9.5 MILES, ASCENT: 834M
Includes picnic lunch, expert guiding by a mountain leader/geologist, and pick up from Abergavenny station or your local accommodation
Duration: 10am - 6pm
Number of places: 1-6 (or more if using your vehicle) 

£50 PER PERSON

(Based on 2 people, price is reduced with more people. We will run the tour with only one person for £75. Full pricing info is on our Booking and Prices page)

It is difficult to fully describe the beauty of this walk. It is a classic route that takes in all the highest peaks of the Brecon Beacons. The walk is deceptively long but well worth it.

Looking down on to the Neuadd Reservoir from Craig Cwm Sere on the eastern ridge of Pen-y-Fan
Looking down on to the Neuadd Reservoir from Craig Cwm Sere on the eastern ridge of Pen-y-Fan
Pausing for a snack on Corn Du enroute to the summit of Pen-y-Fan
Pausing for a snack on Corn Du en route to the summit of Pen-y-Fan
Looking down to Cribyn from Pen-y-Fan
Looking down to Cribyn from Pen-y-Fan

Route

We start at the Taf Fechan car park and take a short steep climb on to the ridge to our left. We then walk along this ridge to our first summit, Corn Du. From here we have superb views. We then continue to our highest point, the highest mountain in southern Britain, Pen-y-Fan.

Here the views are amazing. Looking north it is possible to see Brecon, Llangorse Lake, the Black Mountains, the Cambrian Mountains and in the far distance the Malvern Hills. On exceptional days you can even see Cadair Idris in Snowdonia! Looking south it is possible to see the Bristol Channel, Mumbles Lighthouse in Swansea and even the coast of Devon. On the summit there are also the remains of an iron age cairn.

After climbing Pen-y-Fan we descend Craig Cwm Sere and then climb Cribyn and once again have superb views. After Cribyn we follow the main ridge of the Brecon Beacons and descend to a point where a Roman road crosses our path. We then ascend our 4th peak, that of Fan-y-Big. From here we make our descent back to our starting point.

BOOTS SYMBOL EXPLAINED

weather clip art

When booking these tours please also read our Weather page, because they can be affected by bad weather.

Reviews

PEN -Y-FAN (WALKING TOUR)

"James lead the Pen-y-Fan Horseshoe walk. It was an excellent walk on a beautiful day with great views. I highly recommend Brecon Beacons Tours."

Greg B., Sussex, England
Review was posted to TripAdvisorJune 2017

PEN -Y-FAN (WALKING TOUR)

"My boyfriend and I signed up with James' tour after doing a spot of research and reading reviews. We put in an enquiry via James' website and his replies were timely. We stayed at his parents' B&B, being Tara B&B where we enjoyed fantastic food, hot showers and comfortable beds. We went for the Pen y Fan and the Brecon Beacons horseshoe tour, setting off from the B&B at 9am. James was very knowledgeable about all things - geology, history, culture. He took us off the beaten track so we wouldn't run into throngs of other people on our walk up. He also gave us options on various routes to take. I chose a slightly more adventurous route walking along the edge of the mountain and James ensured that we completed our entire hike safely. He also had a nice emergency tent which we used as shelter for eating a nice picnic lunch in at the top of Pen y Fan. As we still had some daylight when we were finished with our hike, James also took us to see Llangorse Lake which was not part of our itinerary. All in all a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend James as a reliable, knowledgeable and flexible guide. Thanks James!"

Tabitha Q., Singapore
Review was posted to TripAdvisorDecember 2016