Things to know before you go
There is often a high demand for visiting this area, which leads to congestion. We strongly advise that you plan your trip in advance.
Please be aware of the following key information:
- Roads around many waterfalls can be very narrow, and are often single track with little visibility and few passing places. Be prepared to give way and reverse on narrow lanes.
- We recommend you use the free park and ride service from Glynneath to Pontneddfechan and Gwaun Hepste car park where possible. The service will run on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday between then end of July and the beginning of September.
- Car parks are small, get very busy and are often full before midday.
- Only park in designated car parks, and not on verges or pavements. Be aware that if you park illegally, you will receive a fine.
- Most car parks are cash only so ensure you have change with you to pay for your parking.
- There are limited toilet facilities at the car parks and no toilets at the falls.
- The waterfalls are not close to the car parks. To reach the falls requires a long walk on uneven terrain.
- The falls are not accessible for buggies, pushchairs or wheelchairs.
- Make sure to follow one-way advisory signage where requested.
- Keep an eye on Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park social media for important announcements on the day you are visiting.
Looking after yourself and the countryside
- Keep on the waymarked paths – they will offer you the safest route.
- If you bring it here, take it home – litter can spoil everyone’s visit.
- Watch where you step! – plants, especially mosses, are fragile and slow growing and easily trampled.
- Fires are devastating, leave standing and fallen trees for the wildlife.
- Peace and quiet are appreciated by the local residents, both people and animals.
The National Park covers 520 square miles so there are plenty of other spots to discover - explore the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park website for more information.
Walking Trails in Waterfall Country
On the south-westerly edge of the National Park, three rivers – the Mellte, Hepste and Nedd-fechan - have carved their way through soft rocks to create steep wooded gorges full of caves and some of the most dramatic waterfalls, before joining to form the River Neath. This beautiful and popular region is known as ‘Waterfall Country’.
There are several waymarked walking trails which lead through this beautiful region of the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park. Four Falls Trail is the most well known and the most popular, so don’t expect to have the falls to yourself!
The trail is a long challenging walk, so you should allow at least three hours, plus snack-stops, to navigate it and expect a fair amount of up-and-down over uneven terrain. There are no toilets en-route, so make use of facilities before you set off. It's worth making a note of which car park you use so you don’t end up at the wrong one when you return at the end of the day!
Four Falls Trail
The Four Falls Trail takes in Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr and Sgwd yr Eira. The first three waterfalls are on the Afon Mellte (Mellte River) while the last is on the Afon Hepste (Hepste River).
From Gwaun Hepste car park it's a 30-40 minute walk, or 30 minutes walk from Cwm Porth car park, before you reach the (upper) Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, the upper, ‘fall of the white meadow’, and Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, the lower falls, which sit a few hundred metres apart. The upper falls are a broad Niagara with a scarily big drop. The lower falls are a picturesque series of cascades that flow like a staircase into a steep gorge.
A further 30 minute walk along the river is Sgwd y Pannwr, whose Welsh name reveals that it was once used for washing wool.
A 30-minute hike further on, brings you to Sgwd yr Eira, the ‘waterfall of snow’.
This is the most photographed of all the waterfalls, because it’s possible to walk behind the curtain of thundering water on a rough path used by sheep farmers.
As you’d expect, the path here is exceptionally slippery and you’re almost guaranteed to get wet so do be prepared!
Exploring the outdoors is but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.
- Find safety advice for exploring Wales' National Parks.
- Visit AdventureSmart.uk for information on how to stay safe whilst exploring Wales.