Craig Cerrig Gleisiad a Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve, near Brecon

What's here

Welcome

Experience a craggy mountain landscape just a few hundred metres from the A470 in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Here you will find yourself enclosed within an atmospheric amphitheatre created by the soaring cliffs of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad.

Try our waymarked walks to get a flavour of the reserve or, for map-readers wanting a longer walk, footpaths lead upwards to the lofty, exposed moorlands of Fan Frynych and across to the spectacular cliffs at Craig Cwm-du.

There is a small picnic site next to the reserve entrance.

Toilets and a café are a short drive away at the Brecon Beacon’s National Park Visitor Centre in Libanus and in the car park opposite the Storey Arms outdoor education centre.

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Under the Cliff Walk

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile/1.8 kilometres (there and back)
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Trail information: The trail follows an uneven and increasingly steep narrow path and returns along the same route. The reserve is grazed by cattle, sheep and mountain ponies - please keep dogs under close control.

Experience the majestic landscape on this walk along the river to the base of the rocky slopes of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad.

Bluestone Walk

  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Distance: 2 miles/3.4 kilometres
  • Time: 1½ hours
  • Trail information: The trail follows an uneven and increasingly steep narrow path over uneven ground with loose stones. It returns down a steep, grassy slope and has stepping stones to cross a stream. The reserve is grazed by cattle, sheep and mountain ponies - please keep dogs under close control.

You get a great feel for the craggy heights of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad from both near and far on this circular route.

It sets off alongside the river and climbs steeply through heather and bilberry to a cairn.

There are great views towards Pen y Fan on the return.

Other walking routes

There are footpaths leading upwards to the plateau of Fan Frynych and across to Craig Cwm-du.

These may not be signposted and we recommend that you take a map with you.

The Beacons Way

The Beacons Way goes along the southern edge of the reserve’s boundary.

This 99 mile (159 kilometre) long-distance route crosses remote and rugged terrain.

It has limited waymarking but the route is shown on the Ordnance Survey (OS) map or you can get a route guide from the Brecon Beacons National Park's online shop.

You can join the Beacons Way on a footpath from the lay-by at the reserve entrance.

For more information about the Beacons Way go to the Brecon Beacons National Park website.

What to see at the National Nature Reserve

Dramatic landscape created by glaciers

A glacier carved out this valley during the last ice age.

As it melted, about 18,000 years ago, it exposed the steep rock walls of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad.

Some time later, a catastrophic landslide cascaded millions of tonnes of rock from these crags down the slopes.

Archaeological remains found on the reserve show that the area has been inhabited for many thousands of years.

Apart from Iron Age huts there are also the remains of a Roman road and later farm settlements.

Rich variety of plantlife

The steep rocky slopes, sharp escarpments and crags are home to rare arctic-alpine plants. These are at their southernmost location in the UK and are not found again until the Alps.

Arctic-alpine wildflowers grow on the north-facing rocky cliffs. They include purple saxifrage, mossy saxifrage, serrated wintergreen and green spleenwort.

The cliffs are, in effect, a vertical woodland with trees and shrubs of hawthorn, rowan, ash and rare whitebeams.

There is a also rich variety of wildflowers and many different mosses and liverworts.

Seasonal highlights

Early spring to mid-summer is a great time to see the reserve’s spectacular range of wildflowers and also its birdlife including peregrines, kestrels, red grouse and rare ring ouzels.

In August and September the hillsides come alive with the glow of heather.

National Nature Reserves in Wales

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Brecon Beacons National Park

Craig Cerrig Gleisiad a Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve is situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The National Park covers approximately 520 square miles of mountains and moorland in South and Mid Wales.

It is looked after by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

For more information about visiting the Brecon Beacons go to the Brecon Beacons National Park website.

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • We may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.
  • Please always follow any instructions on site and any temporary diversion signs.

How to get here

Location

Craig Cerrig Gleisiad a Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve is approximately seven miles south of Brecon.

It is in the county of Powys.

Ordnance Survey map

Craig Cerrig Gleisiad a Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 12.

The OS grid reference is SN 971 222.

Directions

The best starting point to visit the reserve is a large lay-by adjacent to the A470, approximately seven miles south of Brecon – look out for the information panel just beyond the gate at the reserve entrance.

From Brecon: Follow the A470 towards Merthyr Tydfil. Go past the entrance to a youth hostel on the left and turn into the second lay-by on the right, 500 metres after the entrance to the youth hostel.

From Merthyr Tydfil: Follow the A470 towards Brecon and the lay-by is on the left, two miles north of the Storey Arms outdoor activity centre.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Aberdare.

There is a bus stop at the entrance road to the YHA Brecon Beacons on the A470. This bus top is around 500 metres from the reserve entrance – please take care walking from the bus stop to the reserve entrance.

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website.

Parking

There is free parking in the large lay-by adjacent to the entrance to the reserve - look out for the reserve sign just behind the gate.

Contact us

0300 065 3000

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

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