Ystradfellte Waterfalls

Map: OS (1:25K) Explorer 12 Brecon Beacons West and Central (1:50K) Landranger 160 Brecon Beacons

Circular walk from Pontneddfechan

Suggested Start Point: Car Park at end of road SN911079

Distance: 14.4km / 8.9 miles (approx 5hrs) 529m ascent, 529m descent.

Walking Directions

From the car park at SN911079, the permissive footpath heads away from the road in an easterly direction before joining the bridle way at SN916081. Take the left fork which heads uphill and into the forest. As you approach the first waterfall of Sgwd yr Eira (Welsh for: The snow cascade) at SN929099, I typically follow the dotted path, although the waterfall itself is signposted and hard to miss!. To cross the river it is necessary to walk underneath the waterfall. This is not difficult to do, and is not that slippery either if care is taken. This is part of the footpath! After crossing underneath, head up the hill to the path junction at SN928101.

Take the permitted path westwards towards Sgwd y Pannwr. The permitted path forks on the map, although in practice I have found that the route I've taken previously is not marked on the map. The path diverts at SN926102, although any route is fine. This waterfall is equally impressive.

From here until the road it is a case of following the River Mellte, past Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn and Sgwd Clun-Gwyn and then along the footpath to the road. Once at the road (SN928124) it is worth having a look at the large cave system nearby. The river disappears underground for 400m or so at Porth yr Ogof. Simply cross the road, keeping the car park on your right and then head over the style and down into the valley. At the bottom you'll see the beginnings of the cave system (popular with pot-holers).

Getting back to the hike, the path required starts near where the last one emerged onto the road. The track leaves the road approx 50m to the northwest (to the left as emerging from last path). The track continues until the road at SN919117. From here, you want to head westwards, first along the road and then the footpath to the falls at SN913116. The route now follows the river Nedd Fechan. At Pont Melin-Fach, the path emerges onto the road. Cross the bridge and the footpath continues on the other bank, via the large open picnic area. When following the river, the route passes Scwd Ddwli and even more unnamed waterfalls. Where two rivers meet at SN899091, there is the option of diverting briefly to another waterfall (Sgwd Gwladys). It is only 200m or so up the River Pyrddin. There is a large plunge pool, making for a cold swimming area!

Back at the river meet, cross the footbridge and continue to follow the river along the obvious path all the way back to Pontneddfechan.

Hike Profile

Hike Gradient

Maps provided by www.openstreetmap.org under a Creative Commons license

Notable Features and Highlights

Porth yr Ogof

This is a large cave system, and the initial part can be easily explored with only a torch and a bit of care and not even that much bending over to avoid hitting of the head

Sgwd Gwladys

While there are many amazing waterfalls on this route, this one also has the rather special feature of freezing completely under the right temperatures. Because the Afon Pyrddin does not flow underground this means that both the river and most of the waterfall typically freezes in cold weather. As opposed to the rivers Nedd Fechan and Mellte which don't freeze.

© Rhodri L T Bevan