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Fancy doing the Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons?
Located in the south of the Brecon Beacons National Park in what is ironically coined as Waterfall Country, the Four Falls trail is probably one of the best waterfall walks in Wales! If you are someone who is drawn to water and bewitched by it cascading over ledges, then this walk is for you! Much of the trail passes through woodland, alongside rivers and around steep gorges, and it will take you to the following 4 waterfalls – Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd-yr-Eira (good luck pronouncing them)! I’ve created this complete guide, featuring travel tips and FAQs for the Brecon Beacons Four Waterfalls Walk, so you can get the best out of your day!
Note: A big thank you to my partner who helped to take some of these snaps on our walk around the Four Falls Trail!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQ #1 – How long is the 4 Waterfalls Walk?
Now this depends on the route you take, but in general you can expect the walk to be at least 6 miles, if not more (especially if, like me, you forget to focus on the map and signposts and end up practically doing 2 circles of the trail). There are a lot of steep descents and climbs to get to/from the waterfalls, so you can expect the walk to take around 4 hours depending on how long you spend at each of the falls.
Tip: Take a photo of the map which is located at the start of the walk near to the car park so you can zoom in on this and use it to guide you as you go.
FAQ #2 – Is the Four Waterfalls Walk hard?
Yes, the Four Waterfalls Walk is hard – it’s certainly not a stroll in the countryside. As I said above, there are lots of steep gradients you will need to navigate doing up and down, which can be slippery depending on how the weather has been. What’s more, there are various paths you can take to reach the waterfalls and if you deviate away from the gravel walkways (which you may do accidentally, like me), these may be muddy cliff side tracks which are pretty treacherous (believe me, I slipped and saved myself with a tree root).
Tip: Ensure you wear decent footwear to do this walk – I can assure you flip flops are not going to be sufficient (and yes, I did see some people wearing these). Decent trainers, walking shoes or boots, or wellingtons are all good options.
FAQ #3 – Where do you park for the 4 Waterfall Walk in Brecon Beacons?
There are various options for Four Waterfalls Walk parking and you can look at Google Maps to establish the best one for you. Perhaps the main car park is Four Waterfalls Car Park, Ystradfellte, Aberdare (just pop copy and paste this into Google Maps and it will come up) – there are some toilets here and a mega tiny shop which sells some souvenirs and refreshments. However, it is likely this could be full especially at peak times of the year and weekends so you may need to use overflow parking which is plentiful as you near the trail. I paid £5 for parking for the whole day (fees may change).
Tip: Make sure you pop some cash in your car to pay for car parking, alongside your card. I’m not sure whether the car parks accept card payment, and I paid by cash – better to have both options just in case!
FAQ #4 – Is the Four Waterfalls Walk dog friendly?
Yes, the Four Waterfalls Walk is dog friendly. However, as per FAQ #2, I would suggest you exercise caution regarding this to ensure your four legged friend doesn’t come to any harm. As I said before, some of the paths can be hazardous with steep drops, and near the waterfalls can be slippery, so I would suggest that you keep your pup on the lead. And, it goes without saying, you should ensure you take some bags with you to clear up any mess.
Tip: Please take your rubbish home with you. I did not see one bin along the Four Waterfalls Walk but nor did I see any rubbish. We all have a responsibility to take care of the environment so just pop it in your backpack and discard later.
FAQ #5 – Can you swim in the Four Waterfalls?
Yes, you can swim in some of the four waterfalls, but there aren’t any lifeguards on duty so please be sure you do this CAUTIOUSLY. The water is likely to be ice cold which could cause shock and the current can be fast. Some of the waterfalls are probably better to swim in than others, like the plunge pools at the bottom of Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd yr Eira, but this all depends on your ability. Something else to consider is that the rocks and slopes which lead to the possible swimming points can be slippery and uneven.
Four Waterfalls Walk, Brecon Beacons – Detailed Guide
Starting the walk
You can start the Four Falls Trail in the Brecon Beacons at various points. It is situated a stone’s throw north of the charming country village of Pontneddfechan and the starting points are easily accessible by road. Once you have found yourself some parking (I recommend Four Waterfalls Car Park, Ystradfellte, Aberdare or an overflow car park near there if you can) you can begin making your way towards the first waterfall – Sgwd Clun-Gwyn. (note: I will write this guide as if you are starting from my proposed Four Falls Walk Brecon Beacons car park noted in this paragraph.)
From the car park, begin the trail across the road. There are two routes you can take from the Four Waterfalls Car Park – the easy or more challenging one. The official and easy route is a shingle path (pictured above) which starts directly opposite the car park entrance. However there is another path which runs adjacent to the River Hepste (pictured below) and starts just down the road (this path is essentially sandwiched between the main shingle path and the river) which you can take – this will eventually join onto the official shingle path but it is very uneven, rocky and can be slippery (it’s certainly not accessible but it is rather lovely as it runs alongside the river).
After walking the first section of the path, you will reach a wooden bridge which marks the start of the somewhat circular trail around the Brecon Beacons Four Waterfalls Walk. To see the waterfalls, you are probably best to continue straight along the Four Falls Trail and not cross the bridge, however I would recommend you make a small detour across the bridge to the viewpoint to see the first waterfall, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, and then come back on yourself to start the trail.
Tip: The shingle footpath featured in the above photos is sporadic around the walk. Some parts of the somewhat circular section of the Four Falls Trail are rocky, uneven and have small streams trickling across them.
Waterfall 1 – Sgwd Clun-Gwyn
If all goes to plan, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn is usually the first waterfall walkers reach on this Brecon Beacons waterfall trail. Sgwd Clun-Gwyn translates as Fall of the White Meadow and is a two-tiered waterfall which cascades over a sheer cliff drop. It is best viewed from the viewing platform which can be accessed by crossing the wooden bridge at the start of the circular walk (as explained in the above paragraph). You can get closer to Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, by cautiously walking down some steps to the top or walking down a slippery slope to the bottom.
Waterfall 2 – Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn
After spending some time enjoying Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, it’s time to make your way to the second waterfall on the Four Falls Trail, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, which translates as Lower Fall of the White Meadow. If you have been viewing Sgwd Clun-Gwyn from the platform as suggested, then retrace your steps back to the wooden bridge, cross it and turn right to join the circular walk towards Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn. Follow the signs towards the second waterfall, which is a breathtaking multi-tiered downpour which wouldn’t look out of place in a jungle in Southeast Asia.
Waterfall 3 – Sgwd y Pannwr
From Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, you can reach Sgwd y Pannwr using the marked wooden waterfall link paths (useful for mud-dodging, pictured below). Translated as Fall of the Woollen Washer, Sgwd y Pannwr is an enchanting cascade hidden away in a forested part of the river. Although it would be hard to choose, this, along with Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, was probably one of the most magical waterfalls on the Four Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons for me, and again one which you might imagine in an overgrown and secluded jungle somewhere tropical.
Tip: By the time you reach Sgwd y Pannwr, you’ll probably be wanting some lunch to refuel. There are no shops, cafes or shacks along the Four Waterfalls Walk to buy food or water, so be sure to stash plenty of refreshments in your rucksack before you set off for the day.
Waterfall 4 – Sgwd-yr-Eira
The final and perhaps most popular waterfall on the Four Waterfalls Walk is Sgwd-yr-Eira. Sgwd-yr-Eira can be reached by continuing along the marked pathways and using a lot of steps to descend down to its base. In my experience, this waterfall was the busiest which kind of hindered the experience, although it was still very beautiful and certainly worth seeing. It is quite popular because you can walk behind the cascade of Sgwd-yr-Eira although I didn’t because of the crowds and viewed from afar. Once you have finished at Sgwd-yr-Eira, you will need to retrace your steps back north along the Four Falls Trail all the way back to the carpark, where you started.
Tip: You might want to walk from the car park to Sgwd-yr-Eira and then work your way back through waterfall 4, 3, 2, 1. This way, when you finish the walk at waterfall 1, you don’t have as far to walk back to the car after all of the steep climbs you’ve tackled throughout the day!
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