We don’t have all that many waterfalls in Somerset, not many big ones anyway!
So when we were visiting Wales recently, we jumped at the chance to do the famous Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
This trail is in the southwestern region of the National Park, known as Waterfall Country as it has over a dozen waterfalls to explore. As the name of this walk suggests, you’ll get to lay your eyes on 4 of them during this route.
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Where is the four waterfalls walk?
This scenic walk is situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park, near Ystradfellte, Powys, in South Wales. We did this walk when we were staying at the lovely Hay Loft.
Breacon Beacons Four Waterfalls Walk Map:
What is the four waterfalls walk?
The Four Waterfalls Walk is a serene trail that takes you through rolling fields, alongside gentle streams and has you wandering through ancient woodland.
Its a peaceful walk with the sound of tumbling water never too far away. This loop will take you down steep muddy paths where each waterfall will showcase its own unique charm & natural beauty.
Throughout the walk you’ll visit the following waterfalls: Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Y Pannwr and Sgwd Yr Eira.
Good luck with your pronunciations! Sgwd Yr Eira was our favourite, you’ll see why later!
Is the four waterfalls walk hard?
The majority of the walk is pretty smooth sailing with a gravelled woodland path. However, the linking trails to the base of the waterfalls are uneven under foot, steep, slippery in places and super muddy. Because of that, I’d say this walk is intermediate.
One of the waterfalls has steps with a handrail most of the way. Others are more organic and rocky with plenty of tree roots to negotiate. These uneven paths could become treacherous after heavy rain, I recommend wearing appropriate footwear for this walk no matter the season.
The most challenging part of the walk is hiking back up from the foot of the waterfalls. It’s steep and zig-zags for quite some time, leaving you panting. However, after hiking Pen y Fan the day before – this was far easier!
Are dogs allowed?
Yup, bring your furry friends along for the walk and perhaps even a paddle. With all the steep drops you may feel it’s best to keep them on a lead to keep them safe though.
There are no bins on route, so you’ll need to bag up any mess and take it with you to discard later.
Can you do wild swimming on the Four Waterfalls Walk?
Wild swimming is allowed at the four waterfalls walk, however, caution should always be taken. There will be no lifeguard on duty and even during the warmer months the water will most likely be Icey cold too.
Always make sure you have a safe and easy route in and out of the water and know your own capabilities. The plunge pools at the bottom of Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd yr Eira are probably the safer wild swimming options here – but make your own judgment on that.
Do I need walking boots?
Walking boots are only going to help aid you on this walk. Ideally you want to leave the flip flops behind and lace up your trainers, walking shoes or walking boots instead.
I did see quite a few trying to attempt this walk in sliders and heeled ankle boots! Maybe they were more worried about the Instagram photo than rolling an ankle.
Is there a car park?
There are a few different carparks for the four waterfalls walk, all starting the loop at different locations.
We parked at Cwm Porth Car Park, Ystradfellte, Aberdare CF44 9JF.
It was £5 to park all day (when we went) and the machine accepted cash & contactless card payments which was super handy.
It’s a one way system to get to this carpark, and its the largest of the carpark options (although it’s not massive!) I would imagine it gets full rather quickly during peak season so you’d want to get there before midday. There is also a toilet block here which is handy if you’ve had to drive a bit of a distance to get here.
The start of the route was signposted and easy to find, and it wasn’t too long before you reached the first (although probably least impressive) waterfall.
I think this carpark is a great place to head off on your waterfall adventure, as this route saves the best till last.
How long is the Four Waterfalls Walk?
If you begin at Cwm Porth carpark the walk is a around a 4.5 mile loop and will take you roughly 3 hours (depending on how long you spend admiring each waterfall)
The route is easy to follow as there are numbered signposts to guide you around.
Is there anywhere to get refreshments on the waterfall walk?
Once you’ve set off there is nowhere to get any refreshments on route, so I’d pack some snacks and bring plenty of water with you.
In the Cwm Porth carpark there was a mobile burger van which we stopped at after completing our walk. We grabbed a couple beef burgers and a hot drink each. The staff were very lovely but I cant say I enjoyed the burger at all – It was very chewy!
I left mine and just ate the bread roll – James didn’t mind the burger but said it wasn’t amazing. The cup of tea was good though!
Can you take a push chair/ wheelchair on the waterfall walk?
Unfortunately this walk isn’t accessible for prams or wheelchairs. It’s far too uneven and steep.
Is the walk suitable for children?
Depending on their age and stamina it’s a fun route for children to get involved. If you don’t think their legs could cope with the entire walk, I’d avoid coming off all the linking trails. Instead stay on the main woodland path and head straight to the most impressive waterfall; Sgwd Yr Eira.
When is the best time to visit?
Waterfalls are always most impressive and powerful after heavy rainfall, making spring and autumn both fabulous times to visit.
Summer will bring nicer weather but potentially less impressive waterfalls, and winter could make this route rather Icy and dangerous.
Top tip: Take a photo of the map
Whenever we go on a walk, we take a quick photo of the map so that we can reference it on route. Not all walks are well signposted and it can be really helpful! Although this particular route is well marked throughout.
Waterfall one: Sgwd Clun-Gwyn
You’ll begin the walk along a gravelled country path which winds around a field, following an old tumbling stone wall.
Reaching the first waterfall after a relatively small and mostly flat walk, you’ll find a short, yet rocky path down to the viewing point. This one has a birds-eye viewpoint which is partially hidden by fallen trees, but you can still get a good view of the River Mellte rushing towards the drop and tumbling over the cliff.
Waterfall 2: Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn
Turn around and head back up to the main path following the well numbered signposts for directions.
You’ll cross a small stream with stepping stones, which leads the way through the charming woodland. Eventually you’ll divert from the main path and head down a steep, uneven and muddy path to reach waterfalls 2 & 3.
The first one you’ll reach is Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn. You walk right beside the rushing river which flows over black rock before turning and falling over the edge of this beautiful horseshoe shaped waterfall.
We stopped for a little lunch break here as it’s a nice open space where it’s easy to get out of other people’s way.
Waterfall 3: Sgwd y Pannwr
Head upstream, following a muddy path with wooden planks to navigate your way to Sgwd y Pannwr a little easier.
The last segment of this walk you’ll need to carefully climb and hop over some rocks to reach the foot of Sgwd y Pannwr. This is the tallest waterfall on the route, the sound of water crashing over the cascading waterfall is incredible.
Waterfall 4: Sgwd Yr Eira
Sgwd Yr Eira waterfall was the last one we saw, and was by far our favourite out of all 4.
To get to it, you need to retrace your steps and head back up the gorge to the main path once more. This is the most challenging part of the walk! Once you’ve made it back to the top, continue the path for a short walk, then follow the linking trail all the way back down towards Sgwd Yr Eira.
This path is very steep with deep steps and handrails the majority of the way. It’s still slippery though, so take care navigating the route.
Sgwd Yr Eira, named ‘waterfall of snow’ is an impressive 30ft wide roaring waterfall. A bit of rock hoping is required to get close to the waterfall. But you’re rewarded by walking behind the thunderous curtain of tumbling water that flows from the Hepste river above. It’s incredible!
Be prepared to get soaked from the spray, and watch your footing as the path gets slippery too.
Get a taste of the beautiful waterfalls this country has on offer by completing the Four Waterfall walk in the Brecon Beacons.
A peaceful 4.5 mile trail for anyone who loves being out in nature, or those that are drawn to water. This intermediate walk is full of scenic woodland views and impressive waterfalls.
Have you been?
Which waterfall was your favourite? Let me know in the comments section below.
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