The Brecon Beacons National Park consist of four individual mountain ranges, the names of which infuse almost everyone with confusion.
Mountain Range 1 is the Black Mountain which is the moutain range on the west side of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is fairly remote and the far west is largely unvisited. The most popular part of this range is the Carmarthen Fan with Fan Brycheiniog and the twin lakes, Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr.
Carreg Cennen Castle
Carreg Cennen Castle, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, sits atop a rocky outcrop dominating the landscape. The castle dates back to around the 13th century, although the site itself dates back to prehistoric times.
Cribarth, 423 metres above sea level, is also known as the "Sleeping Giant" due to its profile viewed from Swansea Valley.
Llyn y Fan Fach
Llyn y Fan Fach is the more popular twin of Llyn y Fan Fawr and associated with the legend of 'The Lady of the Lake'. It is said that she took her animals and walked into the lake as revenge for her husband who had struck her three times. Her husband tried to find her and drowned. It is said she can still be seen today...
Llyn y Fan Fawr
Llyn y Fan Fawr, 608 metres above sea level, was carved out by a glacier during the ice age. It is the source of Nant y Llyn which, after about two miles, flows into the Afon Tawe. The Afon Tawe reaches the sea at Abertawe / Swansea.
Maen Mawr, which sits with Cerrig Duon, is a standing stone fairly close to a minor road below the Carmarthen Fan. It is situated on a small plateau near the Afon Tawe.
Moel Gornach lies 616 metres above sea level and one of the most westerly hills in the Brecon Beacons. A cairn and shelter are situated next to the trig point on the highest point of the somewhat flat summit.
Mountain Range 2 is Fforest Fawr which is separated from the Black Mountain by the Afon Tawe. Fforest Fawr shouldnt be confused with the Fforest Fawr Geopark broadly comprises of the Black Mountain, Fforest Fawr and part of the Brecon Beacons. The south of this range is known as "Waterfall Country" because of the numerous waterfalls. Several of these waterfalls can be walked behind and it is home to the highest waterfall in south Wales, Henrhyd Falls.
Beacons Reservoir, right next to the A470, is the highest in a series of reservoirs along the Taff Valley. It is popular for trout fishing, for which a permit must be obtained.
Crai Reservoir is a small reservoir south of the village of Crai, just off the A4067. It is open for fishing for part of the year and you are likely to have the place to yourself due to its remoteness.
Craig Cerrig-gleisiad, part of the Craig Cerrig-gleisiad and Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve, was carved by a glacier and is home to rare arctic plants due to its north slopes rarely getting the sun. The climb up the steep path is rewarding for the views down onto the nature reserve and, of course, to Pen y Fan and Corn Du.
At 734 metres above sea level, the distinctively shaped Fan Fawr is a tough climb from the main access route by the Storey Arms.
The water at Henrhyd Falls free falls for around 27 metres and is the highest waterfall in south Wales. It is owned and managed by the National Trust.
These falls on the Nedd Fechan are accessible from Pontneddfechan. The path is narrow with sometimes precipitous drops to the river below and can be rather slippery in wet weather, but once there the spectacle of the river cascading down the falls in full flood is worth the effort.
Maen Llia is an impressive standing stone right next to the road. Its exact purpose is unknown, but it is thought that it was used for ceremonial purposes or possibly a marker of some kind.
This is an area of common land to the south west of Brecon. It offers great views of Corn Du and Pen y Fan and is also popular for astronomy as there is little light pollution. It is also home to the National Park Mountain Centre, well worth stopping at for coffee and cake.
Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn
The Afon Llia and the Afon Dringarth both start in the mountains. They flow for a few miles until they meet and become the Afon Mellte. The Afon Mellte cascades over many waterfalls, one of them being the Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn. In Pontneddfechan, the river becomes the Afon Nedd / River Neath.
Sgwd y Pannwr
Sgwd y Pannwr ("Fall of the Fuller") is a picturesque waterfall on the Afon Mellte.
Sgwd yr Eira
South of Ystradfellte, the Afon Hepste plummets over a band of Millstone Grit to create this spectacular waterfall. It is possible to walk behind this waterfall.
Mountain Range 3 is the Brecon Beacons, which happens to be the same name as the entire park. It is separated from Fforest Fawr by the Afon Tarrell to the north of the Storey Arms and the Afon Taff to the south of the Storey Arms. This mountain range includes Pen y Fan, the highest point in southern Britain and probably the most visited place in the National Park, with the path to it known locally as "The Motorway" because of the constant stream of people walking it in the summer.
Blaen-y-glyn, or The Glyn as it is known locally, is a series of amazingly beautiful waterfalls cascading down from the Brecon Beacons. The flow of water varies from day to day and is never the same.
The market town of Brecon / Aberhonddu sits on the confluence of the River Usk and Honddu and dates back to the 11th century, although there is evidence of occupation dating back to the Neolithic times. Within the town is a castle, cathedral and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
Craig y Fan Ddu
Craig y Fan Ddu, is a steep climb to 683 metres above sea level. It is a popular walking route on a circular walk to the Canadian War Memorial and also an arduous 14 mile Pen y Fan route. Once Craig y Fan Ddu has been ascended, there is a brisk walk along the mostly flat Graig Fan Las which offers commanding views over the valley below.
Fan y Big
Pen y Fan Massif
The Pen y Fan Massif comprises of Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyn and Fan y Big as well as the ridges leading to them. Of the four, Pen y Fan is the highest at 886 metres above sea level and is the highest point in southern Britain. They have a distinctive shape and are visible from all over the park and, when covered in snow, they can be seen from as far as Gower!
Talybont Reservoir, near to Talybont-on-Usk, is fed by Caerfanell from the Brecon hills. Much of the reservoir is surrounded by forest which can provide a wide variety of colours during Autumn. Fly fishing is allowed with a permit.
Upper Neuadd Reservoir
This reservoir is nestled below the Pen y Fan Massif and the views make it particularly popular with photographers. The Blaen Taf Fechan flows from their slopes into Upper Neuadd Reservoir, the start of the river's journey that eventually flows into the sea at Cardiff as the River Taff.
Mountain Range 4 is called the Black Mountains, just one letter different from the Black Mountain, and marks the far east of the National Park. It is separated from the Brecon Beacons range by the River Usk. To the north is Hay-on-Wye, famous for its secondhand bookshops and the Hay Festival of Literature which is held each year. Unlike the rest of the park with contiguous hills, the Black Mountains have separate, distinct hills such as Sugar Loaf and Ysgyryd Fawr.
Crickhowell is a small town on the River Usk. The first record of a bridge at Crickhowell is in the 16th century, although it has been rebuilt and widened since then. In 1979, cracks started to appear due to the heavy traffic crossing it so a temporary bridge was built beside it whilst repairs were carried out. Oddly, one side of the bridge has 13 arches whilst the other side has just 12!
At 677 metres above sea level, Hay Bluff is the northern most mountain in the National Park and also right on the eastern boundary. Offa's Dyke path passes the summit.
Hay-on-Wye is famous for its secondhand bookshops and the Hay Festival of Literature which is held there each year.
Llangorse Lake is the largest natural lake in the Brecon Beacons and also home to the only crannog in Wales. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with plentiful fish and birds. An almost complete dugout boat was discovered in 1925 and has been radiocarbon dated to the 9th century!
Mynydd Llangorse, to the east of Brecon, is 515 metres above sea level and looks down on Llangorse Lake.
Mynydd Troed peaks at 609 metres above sea level. It is situated to the north east of Mynydd Llangorse and is freely accessible thanks to The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Pen Cerrig-calch, 701m above sea level, is at the south end of a large, relatively flat, plateau with Pen Allt-mawr at the north end and Pen Gloch-y-pibwr at the west.
Sugar Loaf,596m above sea level, has a very distinctive shape and is recognisable across the park.
Tretower Castle is in the small village of Tretower, about three miles from Crickhowell.
This mountain in the far east of the National Park is a popular walk from the road below. On clear days, there are great views of the nearby peak, Sugar Loaf, and even Pen y Fan!