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Discover the beating heart of Wales on this epic hike — Taff Trail

Dmitry Djouce (CC BY 2.0)

Discover the beating heart of Wales on this epic hike — Taff Trail

Hiking Collection by Kit P

4-8

days

3-6 h

/ day

57.6 mi

3,300 ft

2,800 ft

The Taff Trail follows the course of the River Taff from the Welsh Capital into spellbinding scenery and through the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The 55-mile (89 km) route begins from Cardiff Bay and journeys north along pretty riverside paths, old railway railway lines, serene canal towpaths, forest roads, and rugged mountain passes to finish in Brecon.

The trail uses a closed branch of the Taff Vale Railway and of the Glamorganshire Canal; both built in the 18th and 19th centuries to transport coal and iron ore to the docks at Cardiff and Barry.

Highlights along the way include: Cardiff Castle, a stunning site with a 2,000-year history; Castell Coch, the fairytale castle of Wales; the Rocking Stone, a glacial boulder surrounded by a stone circle; Pontsarn Viaduct, which was built in the 1860s; Pontsticill Reservoir, a vast water store situated in picturesque surroundings; the beautiful Blaen-y-Glyn waterfalls; the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal; the Usk Valley; Brecon Castle, a magnificent Gothic structure in the heart of the national park; plus more.

The most common way to walk the trail is from south to north (as per this Collection). However, there's no reason why you can't hike the other way.

In this Collection, we split the route into four stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.

Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. Places to stay are not always abundant so it's worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.

If you're planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Cardiff, which has direct trains from London, Birmingham, and Manchester, among others, and has connecting services around Britain. From the station, it's a 2-mile (3 km) walk to Cardiff Bay, where the hike begins.

To get home, you can catch the T4 TrawsCymru bus service from Brecon back to Cardiff, where you can easily find trains to your desired destination. Due to Beacon's geographic position, your route home can depend a great deal on where you are going but it shouldn't be too difficult using local buses or trains.

If you're planning to arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Cardiff. Alternatively, you could find long stay parking in Cardiff. To get back, you can catch the T4 TrawsCymru bus service from Brecon back to Cardiff.

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Taff Trail

54.5 mi

2,875 ft

2,450 ft

Last updated: November 25, 2021

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

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Cardiff to Pontypridd — Taff Trail

    Difficult
    07:13
    17.0 mi
    2.4 mph
    850 ft
    600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Taff Trail starts its 55-mile (88 km) journey from Cardiff Bay, right in the heart of the Welsh capital.

    

    From the waterside, the trail follows the Taff corridor through the city; meandering past Cardiff Castle, through parks and green lanes, all the way to Castell Coch.

    

    Whilst there's been a castle

    by Kit P

    View
  • Difficult
    06:18
    14.8 mi
    2.3 mph
    875 ft
    575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stage explores a landscape with a rich industrial heritage.

    

    Before leaving Pontypridd, it is worth visiting the Rocking Stone; a glacial boulder from when ice sheets covered these lands that is surrounded by a 19th-century stone circle.

    

    The trail diverts from the shaded banks of the Taff on a few

    by Kit P

    View
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  • Difficult
    07:50
    17.8 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,425 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This challenging stage takes you through the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

    

    With 17.5 miles (28 km) of distance and a hilly terrain to contend with, this hike will really test your fitness and stamina.

    

    The trail climbs gradually out of Merthyr Tydfil, passing over Pontsarn Viaduct, which was

    by Kit P

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  • Intermediate
    03:17
    7.98 mi
    2.4 mph
    175 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After a gruelling penultimate stage, the Taff Trail concludes with a leisurely saunter along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.

    

    With less than 8 miles (13 km) of distance and a near flat terrain, you've plenty of time to enjoy your surroundings on this hike.

    

    From Talybont, you join the canal towpath and

    by Kit P

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    57.6 mi
  • Duration
    24:38 h
  • Elevation
    3,300 ft2,800 ft

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