komoot
  • Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features
Discover

Hike the high, emerald spine of South Wales — Beacons Way

Amy Hughes

Hike the high, emerald spine of South Wales — Beacons Way

Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield

8-16

days

3-6 h

/ day

103 mi

18,450 ft

18,625 ft

The Brecon Beacons National Park is a land of soaring emerald hills that tower over dramatic, glacially sculpted cwms. Sparkling llyns sit silent beneath tiered sandstone escarpments, nestled in an expansive and beautiful landscape. Tranquil forests cloak the slopes, offering a haven to wildlife and shelter for the hikers who seek out these wild places. On clear nights, the heavens are ablaze thanks to the lack of light pollution. It’s a wonderful place to explore.

The Beacons Way is a 99-mile (159 km) high level hike that snakes its way across the national park, ascending to its most dramatic summits and visiting many of its most spellbinding spots. Launched in 2005, it has quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest long-distance trails in Britain.

On your journey from the historic market town of Abergavenny to the village of Llangadog, you traverse four distinct regions. Each area flaunts its own charms but still retains the character of the wider landscape as a whole. There’s the wild, broad ridges of the Black Mountains; the glory of the Central Beacons, including Pen y Fan, South Wales’ highest peak; the quiet solitude and limestone moorland of Forest Fawr; and the awesome escarpments of the Black Mountain.

In this Collection, I have split the Way into 8 stages of between 10 and 17 miles (16 and 27 km), with each ending at suitable accommodation. There are no easy days here, with at least 2,000 feet (600 m) of ascent required during each stage apart from the last, between Carreg Cennen Castle and Llangadog.

Officially, the Way ends at the village of Bethlehem, on the western boundary of the national park. However, for practical purposes, it’s usual for hikers to continue to Llangadog, which is what I have plotted here.

Campsites, bunkhouses, B&Bs and hostels are common along the route, so there are plenty of accommodation options, while cafes and pubs provide welcome pit stops. Where food and lodgings are sparse, I name specific options in the Tour descriptions.

This is a challenging long-distance hike that crosses plenty of rough terrain and is often exposed to the elements. Waterproofs, plenty of layers and sturdy footwear are prerequisite, while the warmer months represent the ideal season, with longer days and more colour on the trails. In winter and when blanketed in snow, some of the higher summits may present difficulties without mountaineering experience and equipment. Waymarking is adequate during the valley sections, but is absent for long stints along the hills and moorland.

After Llangynidr, at the end of the third stage, resupply opportunities are few and far between, so self-sufficiency is key. Plenty of water and snacks will keep morale up on the tougher sections, while accommodation and meals should be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Way is accessible by public transport, beginning and ending at railway stations. The start point of Abergavenny is less than an hour’s train ride from Cardiff and Newport, while the end point of Llangadog is around an hour and a quarter from Swansea. You can also use local bus services in Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Llangynidr and Llangadog.

On The Map

loading
loading

Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

Beacons Way

101 mi

17,975 ft

18,075 ft

Last updated: January 31, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

Learn More
komoot premium logo

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Abergavenny to Llanthony — Beacons Way

    Difficult
    06:59
    14.2 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Starting in Abergavenny, a historic market town that’s often referred to as ‘the gateway to Wales,’ this hike wastes almost no time on the flat. Before you know it, you’re ascending the Skirrid, a characterful hill to the northeast before dropping back into the valley and climbing once more onto Hatterrall

    by Alex Foxfield

    View
  • Difficult
    06:35
    12.7 mi
    1.9 mph
    2,700 ft
    3,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    An undulating and challenging journey across the southern end of the vast Black Mountains. This is the Way’s second most strenuous section with 2,700 feet (823 m) of ascent and even more descent over a distance of just less than 13 miles (21 km). Your efforts are rewarded with superb scenery, both from

    by Alex Foxfield

    View
  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • Difficult
    06:00
    12.3 mi
    2.0 mph
    2,125 ft
    2,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This is a beautiful journey that skirts the hills on either side of the Rhiangoll Valley, giving you wonderful views of green, undulating countryside. This is a less strenuous stage than the two that bookend it, though there’s still a hefty 2,125 feet (650 m) of ascent to tackle over more than 12 miles

    by Alex Foxfield

    View
  • Difficult
    08:14
    16.4 mi
    2.0 mph
    3,300 ft
    2,725 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This traverse of the Central Beacons is the most iconic section of the Way and also the toughest. With over 16 miles (26 km) to cover and 3,250 feet (990 m) of ascent to power through, it’s a long day that will test even the fittest hillwalkers. However, the rewards are plentiful, with the spectacular

    by Alex Foxfield

    View
  • Difficult
    06:41
    13.9 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,150 ft
    2,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Way feels increasingly wild, as you venture into the Fforest Fawr region of the national park. Glaciated cwms and green hills hewn of Old Red Sandstone characterise the first half of this hike, before a shift to limestone scenery sees the hills peppered with boulders and pockmarked by shake-holes

    by Alex Foxfield

    View
  • Difficult
    05:10
    9.95 mi
    1.9 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A glorious traverse of the Black Mountain along a stunning escarpment to the sweeping summits of Fan Brycheiniog and Picws Du, this hike rivals the journey across the Central Beacons as the Way’s most spectacular. It’s certainly less strenuous, with less than 10 miles (16 km) to cover and gentler gradients

    by Alex Foxfield

    View
  • Difficult
    06:33
    13.4 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,300 ft
    2,425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This hike takes you into the remote, unfrequented uplands to the west of Fan Brycheiniog, across the silent summits of Garreg Las, Foel Fraith and Garreg Lwyd, before descending gently to the valley of the River Cennen. The stage ends in style at the evocative ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle.

    From Llanddeusant

    by Alex Foxfield

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:40
    10.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    825 ft
    1,400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This is the easiest and shortest of all the stages on the Way, as you approach the official end point at the village of Bethlehem, before continuing to Llangadog’s accommodation and transport options. En route, you cross tranquil countryside and visit the impressive hill forts on Garn Goch.

    

    From Carreg

    by Alex Foxfield

    View

Like this Collection?

Comments

    loading

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    103 mi
  • Duration
    50:51 h
  • Elevation
    18,450 ft18,625 ft

You Might Also Like

Hike golden valleys and rolling, emerald pastures — Herefordshire Trail

Hiking Collection by Alex Foxfield

10 exquisite hill hikes — Little Hills of Joy

Hiking Collection by Country Walking Magazine

Tracing a historic canal through the South — Wey-South Path

Hiking Collection by Kit P

Up into the mountains with tailwind – eBike panoramic rides in the Heidiland

Bike Touring Collection by Bosch eBike Systems