By our Professional Hill Guide, Kevin Walker.
September is a superb month for walking – without the heat of summer but often with clear skies and great visibility. Schools have gone back, so The Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons are less crowded.The Bear Hotel is a great base for exploring the fabulous scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park. This is a wonderful area for walking, offering plenty of opportunities for routes of varying length and difficulty; from simple strolls through easy terrain, to strenuous, high level mountain treks. Here are some of the best…
• The Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal runs from Brecon to Pontypool, and then on to Newport. Its towpath offers simple, straightforward, level walking through some spectacular scenery. The canal is elevated above the Usk Valley and passes within a mile of The Bear at LLangattock.
• The Waterfall Country in the central southern region of the National Park is full of rushing torrents and deep wooded gorges. There are several superb walks here, many of which are round trips, and some of which include crossing the rivers by walking behind waterfalls!
• The Central Brecon Beacons include the highest mountains in southern Britain, and a walk to the top of Pen y Fan, the highest peak, is thoroughly recommended, although it can get very busy on sunny weekends. For those of you who like your walks long and tough, there is also a classic circuit of all the central peaks. Simply stunning!
• The Black Mountains (in the east of the park and almost literally in the Bear’s back garden) comprise huge, rounded ridges which stretch for miles, offering relatively simple walking… once you have made the initial ascent.
• The Eastern Moors (almost literally in the Bear’s front garden!) offer wild walking on bleak upland moorland with fabulous views and lots of heritage interest – from Bronze Age cairns to more modern industrial archaeology.
• The Carmarthen Fan (in the west of the park, and confusingly also known as the Black Mountain) is a vast area of high peaks and featureless moorland. You can get further from a road here than anywhere else in Wales. There are some classic routes, such as the circuit of Llyn y Fan Fach and the awesome Fan Hir ridge, but the navigation can be tricky and they are for experienced walkers only.
There are lots more ideas and some route downloads available on my website at , or you might be lucky and catch me in the bar for a chat.
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