Discover enchanting falls with the Four Waterfalls walk in the Brecon Beacons

Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall on the Four Waterfall Walk in the Brecon Beacons

The Four Waterfalls walk is a captivating woodland walk exploring the Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons. As its name suggests, this circular walk lets you discover the four falls of Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd-yr-Eira. All different and unique in their own way, these cascades along the River Mellte enchant and delight with their roaring sounds and tumbling waters.

The Waterfall Country is an hour away from Cardiff and a top place to visit in South Wales. The Four Waterfalls walk takes you through peaceful forest, rendered even more so by the soft bubbling sound of the falls. The circular walk is challenging and includes muddy paths, steep descents to and strenuous ascents from the cascades. The waterfalls are best enjoyed in spring or autumn when the falls are roaring and spectacular.

Location: Aberdare, Brecon Beacons, South Wales

Walk difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 3 to 3 ½ hours

Distance: 4.7 miles (7.5 km)

From country lanes to woodland trails

The Four Waterfalls walk starts at one of two National Park car parks: Gwaun Hepste or Cwn Porth. I started from Cwn Porth, the smallest but closest car park to the falls. At the car parks, you can view the route for the walk as well as buy printed maps. The route is clearly signposted throughout the walk.

Country lane and stone wall on the Brecon Beacons Four Waterfall Trail
Walking along a quaint country lane

The Four Waterfalls walk first leads you along a pleasant country lane and follows a delightful stone wall. The stroll across the peaceful valley enjoys a touch of the characteristic wilderness of the Brecon Beacons, but I found the landscape of the Waterfall Country more serene than the breathtaking Brecon Beacons Mountains. In the valley, you can’t actually see the mountains, but you can feel their majestic pull.

Sgwd Clun-Gwyn: The thunderous waterfall

The walk then takes you through a charming forest, from where you can hear the enchanting sound of the cascading waters. As you speed up your pace, stirred on by excitement, you reach the pebbled woodland path that leads to the first waterfall, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn. The descent to the cliff edge is steep, but short. The first waterfall is the easiest to access as it is the closest to the main forest trail.

Sgwd Clun-Gwyn Waterfall in the Brecon Beacons
Sgwd Clun-Gwyn waterfall

From the bird’s eye viewpoint, you can admire Sgwd Clun-Gwyn cascading over the rock. You can watch with awe the River Mellte rushing towards the drop, gracefully arching over it and then disappearing below the cliff edge. You can feel the majesty of the Brecon Beacons and the Waterfall Country.

Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn: The surprise cascade

Back on the main woodland trail, you then follow another small path that leads to the second and third waterfalls. The descent to the river is long and steep and is made via sharp flights of steps and a muddy path. When you reach the bottom, you’re greeted by a large river rushing past you on its bed of black rock. On the riverside, you can admire the pools and rock formations carved by the powerful water.

Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall on the Four Waterfall Walk
The first section of Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn

You first glimpse the first section of the Swgd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall, a small and quaint horseshoe of cascading water. You then notice the second part hidden behind a large tree. Viewed from the cliff top, the gushing water elegantly falls to the river below. This is the smallest waterfall and yet the most charming by its size and its setting in the heart of the woods.

Sgwd y Pannwr: The step waterfall

From the Swgd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall, you then follow a muddy trail up the river. Thankfully, wooden planks have been laid out over the muddy forest floor to help you navigate the trail more easily. As you approach the third and highest waterfall, Sfwd y Pannwr, you hear its incessant roar. The last few feet of the trail are spent carefully climbing over small rocks.

Sgwd y Pannwr waterfall in the Brecon Beacons
Sgwd y Pannwr waterfall

As you reach the foot of Sgwd y Pannwr, you’re struck with awe by the majestic beauty of the cascading waterfall. The water flows step by step down to the river bed and swirls past you. On the ledge by the River Mellte, you can’t quite seem to glimpse the top of the waterfall. As you make your way back along the muddy trail and up the steep steps to the main woodland path, you wonder what the fourth waterfall will have in store.

Sgwd-yr-Eira: The mysterious cascade

From the main woodland trail, you then take another small path down steep steps to the fourth and final waterfall, Sgwd-yr-Eira. The descent to this waterfall is the steepest and the most strenuous. When you reach the bottom, you are once again greeted by the large flowing river. However, this time, the river side is very narrow and peppered with rocks you need to climb over.

Sgwd-yr-Eira waterfall on the Four Waterfall Walk
Sgwd-yr-Eira waterfall

Sgwd-yr-Eira is the largest waterfall and the water tumbles down like a white veil. The highlight of this waterfall is that you can walk behind the curtain of cascading water. The walk to the side of the waterfall is along an uneven path of rocks that is very slippery. Once you reach the waterfall, you can fully appreciate the force of the flowing water. As you walk behind the tumbling cascade, you are once again awestruck by the majesty and charm of the waterfall.

From woodland trails to mountain views

After walking back up the steep steps to the main woodland path, regularly stopping to catch your breath, you then follow the country lane as it loops back to the car parks. After a short ascent, the path opens up and you can enjoy lovely views of the valley and the surrounding mountains of the Brecon Beacons. This is a lovely end to an enchanting walk.

Country lane and lovely views of the Brecon Beacons on the Four Waterfall walk
Lovely views of the Brecon Beacons

The Four Waterfall walk route and map can be found at both car parks on notice boards and as printed maps in the shops. The walk is very well signposted throughout the paths and trails.

To download the GPX file for the Four Waterfall walk, please visit walkranger.com.

Explore the Brecon Beacons further

Walks in the Waterfall Country

The Waterfall Country in the Brecon Beacons boasts a great many woodland lanes, bubbling streams and cascading waterfalls. There are many more trails maintained by the Brecon Beacons National Park that explore spectacular cascades through peaceful woodland. For more information, please visit breconbeacons.org.

Walks in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons offer many breathtaking walks across enchanting valleys, through wild moorlands and up majestic peaks. From the famed Pen y Fan Mountain to the Llyn y Fan Fach lake, you’ll enjoy magnificent scenery with every step you take. Explore the striking national park with the Brecon Beacons walk guides by A Dragon’s Escape.

Views of valleys and hills of Brecon Beacons, with a herd of sheep during the Sugar Loaf hike
Walking up Sugar Loaf Mountain

 The Four Waterfalls walk details

Location: Aberdare, Brecon Beacons, South Wales

Walk difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 3 to 3 ½ hours

Distance: 4.7 miles (7.5 km)

Ascent: Very steep

Itinerary: Four Falls Trail

Trail condition: Muddy, especially in wet weather

Accessibility: Not suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs or bikes.

Parking: Gwaun Hepste or Cwm Porth car parks (CF44 9JF)

Facilities: Toilets and small shop in both car parks

Notes: Please be careful on cliff edges and on slippery riverside trails.

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Featured image: The surprise Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall

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