Experience MORE. With Outdooractive PRO and PRO+.

Get 10 EURO off the Outdooractive Pro or Pro+ Subscription* with voucher code - » Redeem Code.

Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

Walk this route yourself in 3D!

The Video is a 3D walk through of this route, it will give you a unique sense of having walked through the route before you start.

I have created 3D Videos of my adventures and have shared them with the OutdoorActive community as well as my walking community.

Watch it here with Autoplay

The Dragons Back as you can imagine is named because you have a collection of up and down mounds that resemble the back of a sleeping dragon, as you walk up to the ‘Waun Fach’ (Small Moor) peak. This peak is the highest mountain in the ‘Black Mountains’ and the second highest peak in Southern Britain at 811m, after Pen Y Fan, which isn’t too far away. This isn’t just another mountain in Wales though, it is steeped in history, has wild ponies, and I think the most spectacular views of any mountain in South Wales.

And as you can see in the pic above, if you find the right spot, you can actually float in the air above the mountain, and look like a bunch of superheros…

Anyway.

The history is pretty impressive, at 450 metres you will come across the highest castle in England and Wales, called ‘Castell Dinas Hill Fort’. It was built so it could defend the Rhiangoll pass, which is a river in the Brecon Beacons National Park and it rises on the western slopes of Waun Fach. There not much left of the castle unfortunately, just crumbling walls and the outlines of ditches and ramparts from the original Iron Age fortification.

Getting There: Directions, GPX and App Link

The Hiking app I use to plan the walks and to aslo guide me around is the ‘Outdooractive App‘, which has a free a Pro and a Pro+ version, the Pro version will allow you to download the routes to your phone, and use them without using up your data.

The reason I mention it is that if you were to download a route, they are FREE and you can find this link to this route in my hike listings. You can then follow the arrows and voice on your mobile, as most of these walks are a bit tricky to explain.

  • Luckily this hike has a designated car park, and it’s named after the mountain and also the name of the pub right next to it called the ‘The Dragons Back & Bunkhouse’, which by the way is the highest pub in the Brecon Beacons! Can have a nice drink and meal after the walk.
  • Car park postcode is LD3 0EP, Pengenffordd. There is a small parking charge which is paid into a honesty box at the entrance.
  • Pengenffordd is on the A479, about 8 miles East of Brecon, and 9 about miles North of Crickhowell.

Navigation Aids:

Hike Map

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

Hike Profile

  • Distance: 7m / 12km
  • Duration: 3/4 hours
  • Highest point: 2660ft / 811m
  • Difficulty: Hard (multiple short climbs up to the peak)
  • Route conditions: Well-worn pathways all around, good walking shoes are a must really.

Hike Description & Pics

The best place to start is the ‘Dragons Back’ car park, the postcode is LD3 0EP, and the village is called Pengenffordd. The car park is attached to the pub, and there a small charge which is paid into the honesty box on the way in.

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

The start of the walk is in the top corner of the car park, you will see an information sign which is right where there is a gap in the tree line, that will take you onto a path, so you’re walking safely away from the main road to your left.

Continue along the narrow path until you reach a tarmac lane. Turn right onto the lane and head towards the farm house. By the farm house there is a gate which will take you into the field and from that point you can see the ‘Dragons Back’ in front of you and the first climb. This is quite hard so be prepared to have to work pretty hard, but once you’re up, it is then an up and down walk up to Waun Fach. You will then be able to stop and do a 360 turn and look at the landscape, which is amazing, and seems to get better the further you walk.

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

In terms of directions there not much more to say other than head towards the peak in the distance from the Dragons Back, I guarantee you will want to stop and just look around and take it all in, I enjoy the tough climb and the workout but if there no views then what’s the point really, and this walk is just fantastic, you will be shocked and glad you have walked it.

So. as you head towards the peak you will see the terrain turn to more of a moorland type, it can get very boggy after heavy rain, but the paths have recently been improved so you should be fine. Also please be aware the winds can really pick up, and that brings me nicely onto the video I have embedded below so you can see what I am talking about.

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

But before I get to where the video was shot you will reach the peak and start heading at an angle to start your descent back down, where you will pick those incredible views back up again, and possibly feel the full force of the wind as it makes it way through the Grwyne Fechan valley.

Click to view the video below, and be sure to have the volume on, and just listen and look at that wind coming through the valley, it caught us all by surprise, but really added to the adventure.

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

So then make your way down to the next large cairn which will highlight where you make a very sharp right turn down into the Rhiangoll valley, onto a lane, passed Cwmforest farm and you are on you’re way back to the car park. Couple more pics below of the last stage of the walk.

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking
Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

That’s it, you’ve done the Dragons Back circular, back to the car and hopefully the weather has been good and you have had a great experience.

It is worth downloading this route onto your outdooractive app, it’ll re-assure you time wise and that you’re not heading in the wrong directions. There is so much space up there and lots of alternative paths you could accidently join.

Hope you enjoy this walk, and I’d love it if you could share this post either with the social media buttons that follow you down the screen on your left, or below you in the footer. Also, comments are very welcome, I love meeting new people and talking and you never know we could meet up on one of our walks.

Dragons Back, Dragons Back & Waun Fach Circular – Pengenffordd, Black Mountains, Welsh Man Walking

Fundraising for CALM, they do save lives!

Do you want to join me in making a difference? I’m raising money in aid of Campaign Against Living Miserably and every donation will help. Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause which means so much to me.

More information about Campaign Against Living Miserably: Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide. Every week 125 people in the UK take their own lives. And 75% of all UK suicides are male.

CALM exists to change this. Join the campaign to take a stand against suicide.

Please donate an amount you can afford, everything helps these poor people.

I have raised £572 so far, and I will keep trying to raise more.

2 Comments

  1. Mathew Llewellyn
    16 August 2023

    Absolutely stunning route! Completed this early this Morning and it’s absolutely spectacular! Thanks for the tips and the route, so much easier with a bit of insider information 👍🏻

    Reply
    1. WelshManWalking
      16 August 2023

      Thanks Matt, I knew you’d enjoyed it, its one of the best I’d say, the views and just the general route and also the history around it makes it one of my favourites for sure. See you soon buddy

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top