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.
A lot of people go to the Brecon Beacons to walk up to Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain, and they go for the challenge of walking to it, to say they have done it, and mostly to see the spectacular views all around the ridge when the weather is good. On a good day you can see for miles, but on a bad day which can happen very quickly the weather can be very bad. So always be prepared, waterproofs, good walking shoes, a hat, sun cream, water, some food and so on. It can be nice at the bottom, and minus conditions at the top with very strong winds.
Pen Y Fan is just the one peak, there are another 3 in close proximity, and they are all a challenge. The best way to take them in, is to do the Horseshoe Ridge Walk, which takes you on a large circular starting from ‘The Neuadd Car Park’, over all 4 peaks, and then back along the ridge and down to the path back to the car park, it’s an incredible walk, I love it.
Pen Y Fan and Corn Du where also bronze age burial sites, so you will get a sense of the magic up there, it has a mystical feel to them all.
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 Outdooractive route here 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.
- If you Google ‘Horseshoe Ridge Walk car park’ you will be given the postcode CF48 2UT, this is right but there are a couple of car parks in the area, and I prefer to start from the ‘Neuadd Car Park‘. It’s closer, but it’s still a 4/5 hour walk so it’s enough, adding an extra 2 miles onto your walk is just not necessary in this case.
- The drive to the car park takes you through lots of narrow lanes, and sharp turns, so be careful, and there are 2 main ways to get to it, one is along the A470 around Merthyr, the other popular way is along the A40, turn off that road and go to Talybont-on-Usk and then to Abercynafon and onto the Neuadd car park from there.
- Distance: 10m / 16km
- Duration: 4/5 hours
- Highest point: 2913ft / 888m
- Difficulty: Hard (4 steep short climbs)
- Route conditions: Well-worn pathways all around, good walking shoes are a must really.
Hike Description & Pics
The best place to start for the Horseshoe Ridge Walk is in my opinion the ‘Neuadd Car Park‘, it has the same postcode as the others, but if you’re using Google Maps to drive there, then use ‘Neuadd Car Park Brecon Beacons‘.
Once there, walk to the to the top of the car park and a little path appears on the right to take you onto the main pathway. From this main path you can take the walk to the left or to the right. Below I will explain the walk going to the right, as I think it’s a better walk, and you get the legs warmed up for the big climbs, instead of a very difficult walk up a steep hill to reach the ridge top, almost straight away.
To start the Horseshoe Ridge Walk follow this path up to the gate, down into the dip, over the little stream, up the other side and at this point all 4 peaks will come into view. Just keep going along the path until you reach the shoulder between the first two peaks in the distance, ‘Fan Y Big’ on your right and ‘Cribyn’ on your left approximately 1.5 miles.
You have reached the ‘gap’ and you can now start walking the peaks by turning right and heading up to ‘Fan Y Big’ which translates to ‘Point of the Peak’. At the top make sure you brave the ‘Diving Board’, and take in the views across the Brecon Beacons for the first time.
To return to the bottom, walk directly behind you towards the peak in the distance, and you will see a return path on your right heading back down to the gap. You can obviously just head back the way you came, but doing it this way, does add to the walk. Then once you return to the gap in front of you is Cribyn, and that’s your next climb to that peak.
Cribyn is smaller than the other 2 further on, but again once you reach the peak the views are incredible, with views up and down the valley. Also, not to be outdone Cribyn has its own ‘Diving Board’ and is very popular again for great pictures, and you will see the small cairn as you walk to the peak section. There are really well-maintained paths all around, but in bad weather be careful heading down from Cribyn to Pen-Fan as it’s steep, and can be very slippery.
The next peak climb is up to Pen-Y-Fan, and this is the toughest, and will bust your lungs and your legs, and be aware of the false ridge, this catches people out. You then have a steep last 20 meters or so and over some rocks. You will need to step up to these rocks, so take your time, but the last couple of steps will then get you to the ridge of Pen Y Fan, and this is where you will see the majority of people who are walking to Pen-Y-Fan from the other side up.
There are plenty of places to sit down and take a break, before you que to have your pic taken and then continue onto Corn Du. You will easily see Corn Du in good weather, but if there is bad weather, it can pretty much disappear, so when doing this route, look to see where other people are walking to and coming from as there are set paths, but they again can be difficult to find if you’re not familiar and also if the fog is there or a snow storm.
Corn Du is the last peak on this part of the hike, you can skirt to the left of it or take the last couple of steps up to it, and then make your way back along the ridge. The ridge has some very steep edges, so be very careful how close you get. But you can give yourself a pat on the back as you walk along it, as you reflect on the 4 peaks you have just completed, all to your left.
The paths in places are very uneven, and you will need to watch your step, but this is a 3 mile walk back to the point where you will head down from the ridge, and down to the Lower Neuadd Reservoir.
You can spot the point where you need to walk down as you will see a very straight tree line appear beneath you, the path is to the left of it, and again I want to stress, it is very steep. There is usually some water running down it, and there are always people coming up, so take your time.
At the bottom, cross over the really well-made bridge and up the other side, head to the right, along the path and you will soon reach the little lane that took you up from the car park.
That’s it, you have completed the Horseshoe Ridge Walk, you’re back at 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.
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.
I have raised £572 so far, and I will keep trying to raise more.