Walk Behind the Waterfall in The Four Falls Trail, Brecon Beacons
The Four Falls trail, Brecon Beacons is a challenging walk. But, and it’s a big BUT, you will be rewarded with the most stunning country views and spectacular cascading waterfalls. The walk climaxes in the final and most impressive waterfall, Sgwd yr Eira. This is probably the most famous waterfall in the Brecon Beacons as its here that you can walk behind the waterfall. Standing beneath the waterfall with a curtain of water plummeting down in front of you is an amazing experience and one you won’t forget in a hurry. It was certainly an experience my kids loved and will treasure for years to come.
You start the walk by parking in Cwm Porth car park (£4 to park). There are toilets and picnic benches here which is handy as there are none on walk. From the car park you can pick up a map for a £1 which will highlight the circular route. You can either start with the trail along the river first or take the entrance just up left from the car park entrance.
Our advice is to take the route next to the river. This way you reach the most spectacular waterfall last and the waterfalls grow in impressiveness along the trail. So much better to do the trek this way round as the promise of being able to walk behind the waterfall at the end was the only thing that seemed to keep the kids going on which was a pretty long and difficult trek.
We tackled the walk mid-week on a sunny day. Thankfully a large part of the walk is through woodland and so it benefits from much needed shade. It also means that the ground stays pretty wet and can be slippery in places. It’s much better to do the waterfall walk after a dry spell as the paths are that much drier underfoot. After a drier spell you’ll have more chance of being able to walk beneath the waterfall as the water won’t be gushing so fast.
The Four Fours Trail Walk with Children
We started the walk along the river Mellte, which in itself was a pretty part of the walk. You will pass through some woodland and pass by a footbridge which goes over the river. You don’t take the footbridge as its not part of the trail but it’s a nice spot to stop and have a game of pooh sticks.
After about half an hour or so you reach the first waterfall. This is Sgwd Clun Gwyn, the ‘fall of the white meadow’. You scramble down some rock steps to view the waterfall from a platform.
It was just on from here that we stopped for our picnic. A nice shady spot on the grass under the trees.
The next stop for re descending down to the river bed rewards you with two waterfalls. When you get to the bottom turn right and follow the rough path upstream to Sgwd Isaf Clwn-gwyn. This part of the walk involved a bit of clambering over rocks to get close to the waterfall.
At this point you have to turn back on yourself to come to the other waterfall Sgwd y Pannwr which is a thundery waterfall with a pretty scary drop.
From here we headed back up the steep incline and on to the main path to head to the last waterfall. The final waterfall, Sgwd yr Eira, the waterfall of snow. At this point our legs were all so tired that we were almost tempted to not head down off the main path to the main waterfall. But, head down we did. We didn’t come this far to give up.
Sgwd yr Eira, The Waterfall of Snow
Once you’ve tackled the steep winding path down to the river bed, you are immediately faced with the waterfall in all its glory. Phew you think, it was worth the walk down (and back up) to see it. Thank goodness for that!
Again you have to clamber over some rocks to reach the waterfall. There is a path underneath the waterfall which used to be used by sheep farmers. You follow this path to walk behind the waterfall. It’s a wide enough path and the overhead of the waterfall protects you from much of the water.
Whist this was the most impressive, mainly due to the fact that you could walk underneath it, it was also the busiest. Apparently lots of walkers take the short walk here from the car park just to experience this waterfall, and who can blame them. But, if you can, do the whole four trails walk. As not only will you have seen some amazing waterfalls but you’ll also feel pretty smug that you managed the whole walk.
From here you have to turn back and manage the steep path you came down back up to the main path. You then follow a pretty straight forward path back to the car park. This part is only challenging as you are shattered by now, but the walk itself is easy otherwise. Some small inclines but nothing major. It’s also another reason for doing the walk this way round and leaving this part of the path for the end.
If you have any energy left by the time you reach the car park then take the steps down to the caves at Porth-yr-Ogof, White Horse Cave. This is the largest cave entrance in the Brecon Beacons and has been used as a backdrop in Dr Who and Merlin on BBC.
Don’t go too close though as the cave entrance floods quickly and stones can fall from above. If you turn back on yourself you can also peek into a smaller cave and see the river gushing through underneath.
Where to eat
We used the toilets in the car park for a quick freshen up and then headed into Pontneddfechan village for a bite to eat. We ate at The Old White Horse Inn. A lovely country pub which dates back to the 14th Century. We sampled a very filling beef pie and a very tasty pub thai chicken dish. The childrens meals were also good.
Additional Information about the Four Trails Waterfall Walk:
Distance: 5 ½ miles – Allow for 4 – 5 hours to complete with young ones which includes stops along the way
Difficulty Level: – Difficult. It is an undulating hike with some very steep sections. Most of the walk takes you through a woodland trail set up on high ground above the waterfalls. It is the steep descent and ascending again to the main path which is undoubtedly the toughest element of the walk.
Whilst you could potentially follow the rough riverside paths, with sections of steep drops this would not be advisable, especially for young children. It is also worth pointing out that there are steep drops in parts and slippery sections. You just need to be wary with kids and make sure you wear appropriate footwear.
Accessibility: The walk is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs. We took our three year old in a carrier. She walked sections of it and went in the carrier for the trickier sections and when she wanted a rest.
OS grid reference
SN935123 or SN928124
If you’d like to find out more about the walk of the Four Trails in the Brecon Beacons, have a look at our short video which will give you a glimpse of what to expect.
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