The Brecon Beacons is a mountain range in southern Wales, stretching from Llandeilo in the west to Hay-on-Wye on the English/Welsh border in the east. It is one of three national parks in Wales and is a popular destination for visitors who love the freedom and openness of the great outdoors.
The park is around 42 miles wide and includes parts of Powys, Carmarthenshire, Monmouthshire, Rhondda, and Merthyr Tydfil. Pen y Fan is the highest peak in southern Britain.
The Brecon Beacons is known for its waterfalls, caves, and mountains, so there’s lots for owners and their pets to explore.
Dog-friendly days out and attractions in the Brecon Beacons
- Dan-yr-Ogof The National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Abercrave — a must-visit attraction for anyone visiting the Brecon Beacons, and dogs are welcome too. Explore the three incredible caves: Dan yr Ogof, Cathedral Cave, and Bone Cave, and wander around the outside dinosaur park. Dogs are not allowed in the coffee shop, the farm, and Shire Horse Centre. They must be on a short lead around the attraction. For further information visit www.showcaves.co.uk
- Brecon Mountain Railway, Pant, Merthyr Tydfil — you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the national park from a steam train. Travel in one of the observation carriages behind a vintage steam locomotive to Torpantau, high in the Brecon Beacons. Dogs are welcome on board at a charge of £2.50. For further information visit www.breconmountainrailway.co.uk or call 01685 722988.
- Hay-on-Wye, Powys — the town’s position on the English/Welsh border makes it easily accessible for people visiting the Brecon Beacons. Hay is famous for its bookshops and is known as the ‘town of books’. It lies just inside the Brecon Beacons National Park.
- Usk Reservoir — a remote area surrounded by forest and moorland, overlooking the Black Mountain. There is an 8km circular trail around the reservoir which you can walk with your dog.
- Craig y Nos Country Park, Penycae — explore 40-acres of scenic countryside in the upper Swansea valley where you will fi nd shady woodlands, meadows, and rivers. Dogs are not allowed in the hay meadow while sheep are grazing in the winter months.
- Raglan Castle, Usk — situated on the edge of the national park, this stunning medieval fortress is definitely worth a visit. The building of the castle started in the 1430s and featured various mod cons of the day such as massive mullioned windows. An episode of the BBC show ‘Merlin’ was also filmed on the site. Dogs are welcome to explore the ruins on the ground level, but cannot go up the towers. They must be kept on a short lead and owners should ensure they clean up after their pets. For further information visit cadw.gov.wales/daysout/raglancastle/
Dog-friendly places to eat in the Brecon Beacons
- The Dragon’s Back, Pengenffordd — well-behaved dogs are allowed in the bar of this 300-year-old pub, which is the highest pub in the Brecon Beacons National Park as it is more than 1,000ft above sea level. If you’re looking for somewhere to rest your head, the inn also welcomes dogs on its campsite for a charge of £1 per dog, per night, and in the bunkhouses at £5 per dog, per night. For further information visit www.thedragonsback.co.uk or call 01874 711353.
- The Star Inn, Talybont-on-Usk — a CAMRA award-winning village pub six miles from Brecon, located next to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in all areas of the pub provided they are on a lead. For further information visit www.starinntalybont.co.uk or call 01874 676635.
Dog-friendly places to stay in the Brecon Beacons
- Craig y Nos Castle, Penycae — spend your dog-friendly break in a stunning castle complete with its own theatre and a country park for the back garden! Craig y Nos is a hotel that warmly welcomes dogs; it even has its own website detailing walks and places to visit for dog-owning guests. Dogs are welcome to stay in the rooms with their owners, and can also accompany them to the bar for evening meals and breakfast. There might be a sausage for breakfast for hungry canines too. Craig y Nos also has a 16th century self-catering farmhouse which welcomes dogs. Various deals for dog owners are available throughout the year. For further information on staying at Craig y Nos Castle visit www.dogfriendlywales.com or call 01639 731167.
- The Felin Fach Griffin, near Brecon — a dining pub with dog-friendly accommodation, situated between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. The Griffin has a resident dog. Pets can sleep in the rooms with their owners at no extra cost. Canine visitors can also go in the bar; they can accompany their owners for a meal in certain sections of the pub. Rooms are individually priced, starting from around £130 for a standard double room including breakfast. For further information visit www.felinfachgriffin.co.uk or call 01874 620111.
Henrhyd Falls walk route
A short walk that will take you to Henrhyd Falls — the highest waterfall in south Wales — and then down the Nant Llech valley, passing the site of a landslide and also a disused watermill.
At a glance
Distance: 3½ miles.
Time: 2½ hours.
Terrain: Well-made footpaths and rough woodland paths that can be wet and uneven. Some steep drops to the side. Take care as paths can get very slippery.
How to get there: Henrhyd is signposted from the A4067 and A4221. The National Trust car park is located outside Coelbren on the minor road to Penycae.
- Start the walk from the National Trust car park and pass through two gates, following the footpath down the slope to a track junction at the bottom. Turn left and cross the wooden bridge, walking up the staircase to the footpath at the top. Continue along the footpath to the waterfall. Henrhyd Falls are the highest in south Wales at 90ft tall. Take care as the spray from the falls can make the ground slippery. Make sure your dog doesn’t get too close to the edge. Once you’ve taken time to enjoy the waterfall, retrace your steps back across the bridge to the track junction.
- Go straight ahead, following the footpath with the river Nant Llech on your left-hand side. The trees that cling to the steep sides of the valley are mainly sessile oak and ash, although you can also find small-leafed lime, alder, and wychelm. Keep following the footpath and just after you cross a boardwalk, a smaller waterfall can be seen on your left.
- Keep following the footpath until you pass through a gate which marks the end of National Trust land. Cross a small bridge and continue to follow the path down the valley. After about 15 minutes, you’ll reach the site of a large landslide where the path narrows and negotiates its way through the debris.
- Continue along this path until you reach the site of the disused watermill — the Melin Llech (do not enter the buildings as they are private property). From here, do not cross the bridge on the left but follow the track uphill for about 25 yards. Then join the footpath on your left. Continue along the path to a kissing gate and minor road. Cross the road and turn right to another kissing gate on your left. Follow the path for another two minutes and the River Tawe will come into view. The River Tawe flows all the way to Swansea and into the Bristol Channel.
- Return to the minor road by the path you’ve just followed. Once at the minor road, you can either follow the path that brought you down the Nant Llech back to the car park, or return along the minor roads via Coelbren.