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8-Mile Circular Walk in the Black Mountains

An 8-mile circular walk in the Black Mountains, taking in the peaks of Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch and Table Mountain.

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Circular Walk in the Black Mountains

This circular walk takes in the peaks of Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch and Table Mountain (pictured above and named from left to right) and is an eight-mile loop right on the doorstep of Gliffaes Country House Hotel. These three peaks form a major part of the Black Mountains on the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The walk should take you somewhere between 4-5 hours, and you will need OS Explorer Map 13 and some lunch. This is essentially a ridge walk – once you are up high, you don’t have any more climbing to do.

Directions to the starting point

To get to the start, drive into Crickhowell and take the road signed to Llanbedr on your left before you come to the main part of Crickhowell. Follow that to the area of SO 236 228. Cross the small bridge and park your car in on the left. From here, you will see a stile on the side of the road. Cross into the field and you will see the footpath sign to ‘Pen Twyn Glas’.

Climb steeply up the bank to pick up the old cart track that runs all the way up the ridge. You will gain height quite quickly coming to a large cairn and then moving through some disused quarries.

Reaching Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch and Table Mountain

Once out on to the open hill, you climb steadily towards Pen Twyn Glas. Off to your left, you will see the big ridge which you will be walking on to make your return journey.

In good weather it is easy to pick up the track that swings left towards Pen Allt-mawr, press on and make the sharp climb up to the trig point. From here the views are wonderful in every direction.

Follow the wide rocky path SSE towards the next peak of Pen Cerrig-calch. Coming down from here we found a small hollow, just off the path, which made a perfect place for our lunch stop. Below you should be able to see the distinctive flat top of Table Mountain. By all means, go and explore the peak.

Directions back to the car park

Picking up the path north from Table Mountain back towards the car park spot is tricky when the bracken is very high. Do not follow the lower of the two mountain walls, follow the higher one. Do not be tempted to go all the way down to table mountain from Pen Cerrig-calch – keep your height and swing left. Find the wall in the bracken and you will find the path very close by on the uphill side of the wall.

Follow this path for about 30 minutes or so and you will come over the shoulder of the ridge and see in front of you the ridge you went up at the start of the day. In the area of SO 223 227, you will see a stile on your right with a white house below you off to the left. Climb over the stile, walk down the field to the next stile, cross it and the small lane in front of you. Climb over the next stile and you will be on the bridge where you left your car at the start of the day.

If you want to do this walk whilst staying at Gliffaes, we will be happy to mark up your map for you and give you more detailed instructions.

Book your Brecon Beacons escape

Gliffaes Country House Hotel is nestled in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. We’ve created a useful guide of local attractions and activities here, containing information on walks, things to do, local shopping and places to visit, which you can use to help map out your visit to the Brecon Beacons.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a fresh, locally-sourced lunch, dinner or afternoon tea, or somewhere comfortable to stay the night, our friendly country house hotel is the perfect base for your Brecon Beacons break.

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