Where are the Brecon Beacons you Ask?
Before we came to Wales, I had no idea where the Brecon Beacons were, or that they even existed. Our current mode of travel is in a Motorhome and therefore we like to get out of the cities and see the natural landmarks of a country.
Thats how I happened upon the Brecon Beacons National Park. Well, that and a little help we had from a fellow traveller that recommended we go Hiking Pen Y Fan on our site ‘Tell Us Where to Go“.
What are the Brecon Beacons?
The Brecon Beacons are a National Park in the South East region of Wales. It covers a 519 square miles (1,340 km2) and is a beautiful hiking location.
When we arrived I was so glad that we had come to explore this area in Wales. I love to climb mountains. On your way up your legs hurt and your heart pounds, but I have never ever got to the top of a mountain and regretted the effort.
The views are always incredible. Yes, even when its foggy and wet there is that quiet eeriness that gives you a sense of peace.
About Pen Y Fan
Maintained by the National Trust, Pen Y Fan is the highest point in the Brecon Beacons, standing at 886m. The day we climbed it was misty. We couldn’t see the top for the whole climb.
The kids called it Peek a Boo mountain as each new ridge would appear and disappear before our eyes in the mist.
Quite a few times I thought we were almost there, just to get to the top of the ridge and find out it kept going up up up. The last stretch is rocks, they lead right up to the summit, which the kids loved scrambling over.
We savoured the moment at the top by sitting on an outcrop and were rewarded for our climb by the clouds parting and giving us about 30 seconds of clear view out over the valley, Corn Du and beyond.
The view is awe inspiring.
We had actually planned to do the Pen Y Fan and Corn Du Circuit walk, but unfortunately we had arrived too late in the afternoon and didn’t have time to go onto Corn Du.
There are plenty of sheep to see, grazing on the slopes, but you might be lucky enough to spot a Peregrine Falcon or Red Kite circling above. Unfortunately we didn’t, so we opted to take the kids to the Red Kite Feeding in Llanddeusant.
Although the Red Kite Feeding Station is a little drive from Pen Y Fan (approx 23 miles) , it is an excellent way to see these amazing birds up close and you can see them 365 days a year in sun or rain.
Hiking Pen Y Fan with Kids
So, Pen Y Fan is not the highest of mountains. Its really only a small mountain and that is why it is an excellent climb for kids. Its a about 3.25km and takes a couple of hours from the Pont ar Daf car park to the summit.
Although it can be quite steep in parts, their little legs will power on up and probably beat you to to the top like my three did.
It took us just over 2 hours, as we stopped a few times to look out at the view and catch our breath. Well, truth be told, for me to catch my breath!
I’m a true believer that kids are happier outdoors and that their is nothing like climbing a mountain to teach kids the value of persistence and that hard work pays off.
Hiking Gear For Pen Y Fan
You need to wear good footwear as on most hikes, but you definitely don’t need hiking boots for the climb from Pont ar Daf car park up Pen Y Fan. The kids and I all wore our trainers and found the well maintained path a breeze. The Path is wide and has cut outs for water run off, which makes it safer in the wet.
Make sure you pack a rain jacket as the weather can come in fast and you are in Wales after all where rain is pretty reliable. We visited in shoulder season (October) and it was quite cool at the top, so take make sure you wear your layers also.
In summer it will be hot and you’ll need plenty of sunscreen and water!
Where to Park to climb Pen Y Fan?
Park at Pont ar Daf Car Park in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Its maintained by the National Trust and has plenty of space, toilets and sometimes there is even a food truck. From the car park you can walk across the bridge and head straight on up the trail to Pen Y Fan.
You can also start your climb from just down the road at Storey Arms Outdoor Centre and there are a couple of other paths also, but if you just want to walk Pen Y Fan and not the other mountains on the circuit, then start at the Pont ar Daf car park.
If your looking for an Easier walk with kids in the Brecon Beacons try Twyn y Gaer.
Twyn y Gaer – An Easy walk for kids in the Brecon Beacons
Park at the Mountain Centre (Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre near Libanus), which is 5.9 miles from Brecon.
Pick up a map and head out on the well marked (mowed) path over the rolling green hills up to the site of the iron age fort. Its a gentle 1 1/2 to 2 hour hike out to Twyn y Gaer.
You can’t get lost as you can see the top of the hill with its white pillar (Trig Point) from a long way off, so even if you take the wrong path, you know which direction you are heading and can redirect yourself.
From Twyn y Gaer you can look back over the Brecon Beacons and even see to Pen Y Fan and Corn Du. On a clear day you have an excellent view out over the patchwork of fields beyond the Becons.
Have you climbed Pen Y Fan or hiked to Twyn y Gaer? Leave a comment to let us know what you thought, we would love to hear from you.
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