Walk Distance: 3.8 km
Walk Duration: 1 hour 45 (about half at toddler pace and via the trickier riverside route (farmyard route would be quite a bit faster as much easier walking).
Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 160 Brecon Beacons ; OS Explorer OL12 Breacon Beacons National Park (Western Area)
Suitable for: Full circular route suited to older children only, going there and back along the return route described below makes this accessible for good little walkers too. Babies in carriers ok but terrain is very uneven on full circular route and good footwear essential.
Walk Features: Woodland and riverside walking, farmland, spectacular waterfall, visitor and information centre with toilets and basic shop.
This walk starts from Cwm Porth information centre and is a lovely, tranquil option if you are looking to escape the very popular main four waterfalls route.
If however you prefer free parking and a shorter walk or want to see all the waterfalls then consider starting from the off-road parking spot by the cattle grid on the main road between Pontneddfechan and Cwm Porth. The path there is more accessible and well marked.
We did the whole circular route with Roo walking the outward trail. However the first half of the route was very uneven – basically scrambling along the edge of the river bed – and Roo struggled with her little legs. The return route was much easier (and faster) along a straight flat farm track and I would recommend using this for both outward and return legs if you are walking with little ones or after heavy rain.
From the Cwm Porth Information Centre, head back out of the car park onto the lane and cross over. If you are walking the full circular route then straight over there is a little path leading through two wooden posts and down into the woods. Head down this path. For those walking the gentler and easier there-and-back again route, turn left and walk up the lane instead until you come to a farm drive on the right marked with a footpath sign. This is your route which is described in reverse at the end of this walk description.
Follow the main footpath through the trees, passing the gaping spaces into which potholers can frequently be seen disappearing in this area. The cave here of Porth yr Ogof is one of the largest in the UK and with its many entrances is used as an introduction to caving for the intrepid underground explorer. Visiting on a busy weekend as we did, it was eery to hear the shouts and chatter of an invisble people echoing up from below the ground we walked on!
Continue on the main path, ignoring signs for the cavers. The footpath heads downhill, through a gate and joins the River (or Afon as it’s known in Welsh) Mellte . Here the path follows a pretty section with the irridescent green of trees in their young summer foliage reflected into the wide pools and tinkling stream of the river.
A short distance on, through another gate and the path descends closer to the river and becomes a lot more rugged. Showing evidence of the sudden and frequent flooding the rivers in this area are prone to, the path frequently descends into effectively dry river bed, traversing exposed tree roots and boulders.
The walk continues like this until eventually emerging by the side of a meadow and joining the main Four Waterfalls Way at the footbridge.
From here, with your back to the footbridge, walk slightly right uphill on the stony path. It’s a bit steep with large steps in places and slippy when wet but fairly manageable with good footwear. Little ones will need a helping hand to scramble up here though.
Continue uphill, heading generally right (but do not go down to the river edge). At the top of the climb the path follows an earthen track for a short while before once again descending down a steep, stony hillside via some shallow stone steps.
At the bottom of the steps, veer to the right and you will find the viewing point for Sgwd Clun-Gwyn Waterfall. Keep a close eye on children here – the drop by the waterfall viewing spot is quite big. Sgwd Clun-Gwyn is pretty impressive and dramatic as it thunders down to the river below. We visited in a dry period of summer but after more generous rain it is even more impressive.
From here, those heading off on the full four waterfall walk can continue onwards. For those returning to Cwm Porth now though, head back up the stone steps and along the earthen path. This time, instead of descending the hill again at the far end of the path, instead follow the small trail that leads straight ahead through the trees.
This brings you back to another junction where you want to follow the sign back to Cwm Porth straight ahead. The path now leads you through woodland before opening out onto farmland. The path emerges by a farm house and after passing through the gate, turns into a larger farm vehicle track. There are some lovely views down the wooded valley from here and the foxgloves are beautiful in early summer.
Continue along this track, passing over several stiles and gates until eventually the track emerges onto the lane above the Cwm Porth car park. Turn left down the lane and Cwm Porth Information Centre and your starting point for the walk is on your right.
Light snacks and drinks are available from the centre when it is open with cash only. Don’t rely on this – it is a little haphazard as the warden who looks after the centre has to regularly leave for short periods of time to attend to other duties!
Map of Route:
Parking is available at Cwm Porth Information Centre on a pay-and-display basis. The track to Cwm Porth is narrow with no real passing points so nervous drivers may be better off starting the walk from the main trail on the road to Pontneddfechan.
Rate this walk: