Pen Y Fan, The Brecon Beacons, Powys
If hill bagging is your thing, Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons National Park should be high up on your list, although it’s actually a mountain, rather than a hill. At 886m, it’s the highest peak in South Wales and in fact, in the whole of southern England. The views from the top are incredible of course, stretching far across the Bristol Channel and Wales and on a very clear day, reaching into Exmoor and Shropshire.
Pen Y Fan is owned by the National Trust, whose main focus is to protect the peak from erosion caused by the thousands of feet that tread the paths to the summit each year. This certainly isn’t going to be one of those walks where you don’t see anyone – it can bet busy here and can feel like a pilgrimage at times. The easiest and most popular route to the summit starts from the education centre on the A470 or from the car park a little further up. It’s not long, at roughly 4 miles, but it’s strenuous and you’d be wise to take a compass, waterproofs and a torch as the weather can change surprisingly quickly in these mountains, catching you unawares.
At the top there’s a Bronze Age which shows how long weary feet have been climbing this peak. Curious to know what Pen Y Fan means? Well, there’s no literal translation but ‘the mountain’s peak’ will suffice.
All information correct at the time of writing