Forests and woodland in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Our woodlands are wonderful to explore in any season. They stimulate the senses, from the beautiful songs of the birds and the smell of wildflowers to the crunch of leaves underfoot.

Forests and woodlands used to dominate the lowlands of our National Park. Over the centuries, as people settled here, they burnt and cut the trees until forest was replaced by field.

The woods that remain are small but important patches within the mosaic of farmland. Mature conifers are a more recent addition to both the upland and lowland landscape.

Our woods are crucial pockets of biodiversity, providing a habitat for an enormous variety of trees, mosses, fungi, insects, birds and mammals. They create a naturally shady and humid place to thrive, with plenty of cover and food. Many of our native species are dependant on woodlands for at least part of the year. Some of the species found in our woods are unique to our region.

A variety of different woodlands occur in differet parts of our Park, according to the soil type, drainage and altitude. Within each woodland there can be differences in tree age and the structure of the canopy. Open rides and glades, abundant deadwood from fallen trees and a thick carpet of spring flowers are all key components of any woodland.

Woods and forests to visit


Abertreweren

OS grid reference: SN920260
Nearest village: Defynnog, Sennybridge
How to get there: The wood is off the A4067, south of Sennybridge.
Managed by: Woodland Trust

Located on a steep slope overlooking a deep, wide valley. In Spring there is a carpet of bluebells. However, access is difficult due to the steep slope and wet western end. There is also no parking along the busy A4067 which runs through the site.

Coed Cefn

OS grid reference: SO226186
Nearest town: Crickhowell
How to get there: The wood is east of Crickhowell, off the road to Llanbedr.
Managed by: Woodland Trust

Dominated by a canopy of oak and beech and ground flora including bluebells and bramble, this ancient woodland site with an Iron Age hilltop fort alongside dry stone walls and hedge boundary incorporates a historical angle to your woodland enjoyment.

Coed-y-Cerrig National Nature Reserve

OS grid reference: SO294212
Nearest town: Llanvihangel Crucorney, Abergavenny
How to get there: Leave the A465 at Llanvihangel Crucorney and take the road to Llanthony. After 1.25 miles turn left towards Forest Coal Pit. The reserve entrance is another 1.25 miles on the right.
Managed by: Natural Resources Wales

Lying in a small deep valley, the little wood at Coed y Cerrig is hidden away in the southern part of Black Mountains; its moist valley floor covered by an unusual type of alder woodland. Some areas of the woodland are coppiced to maintain this unique habitat. The road through the reserve along the bottom of the valley was once a busy railway line burrowing deeper into the mountains, carrying materials to construct the Grwyne Fawr reservoir 14 kilometres away.
Click here to find out more.

Coed Taf Fawr

OS grid reference: SO003132
Nearest town: Merthyr Tydfil
Managed by: Forestry Commission Wales
How to get there: The wood is situated 5 km north of Merthyr Tydfil, just off the A470.

Large upland mixed woodland with pleasant walks and streams running through it. Nestled around three reservoirs, with serene views. Within the wood is Garwnant Visitor Centre, an attractive, family-friendly venue with a café, gift shop and, for kids, a play area, mountain bike course and activity programme. Several forest walks start from the centre, including an easy-access walk beside a stream with platforms over a pond.

Coed Tregib

OS grid reference: SN641217
Nearest town: Llandeilo
How to get there: The wood is off Bethlehem Road, south-east of Llandeilo.
Managed by: Woodland Trust

Coed Tregib is a beautiful site set within a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Ancient woodland (predominantly oak and ash), grassland and new native woodland are the prominent features. Wetland plants are supported within the wood, and dormice have been recorded at this site.

Craig-y-Cilau National Nature Reserve

OS grid reference: SO186160
Nearest village: Llangattock
How to get there: There are access points from the unmarked road out of Llangattock which joins the B4506 road between Llangynidr and Brynmawr.
Managed by: Natural Resources Wales

This former limestone quarry is one of Wales' most outstanding botanical sites, famous for its exceptional variety of alpine plants and trees, some extremely rare.
Click here to find out more.

Craig-y-Nos Country Park

OS grid reference: SN840155
Nearest village: Pen-y-Cae
How to get there: The park is off the A4067 between Ystradgynlais and Sennybridge.
Managed by: Brecon Beacons National Park

This 40-acre Victorian park contains beautiful ornamental woodland. Easily accessible and family-friendly, it's glorious to visit in every season.
Click here to find out more.

Cwm Clydach National Nature Reserve

OS grid reference: SO218125
Nearest village: Brynmawr
How to get there: The reserve is beside the A465, two miles east of Brynmawr.
Managed by: Natural Resources Wales

The woodland of Cwm Clydach near Brynmawr (not to be confused with RSPB Cwm Clydach near Swansea) grows on steep slopes alongside a deep river gorge. It is the largest and most representative area of native beechwood in southeast Wales. The river has cut deep into the valley forming steep limestone cliffs and spectacular waterfalls. The air is humid close to the fast-moving river, and many species of moss can be found growing here. Clinging precariously to the cliffs are yew and whitebeam trees. Ground plants are relatively sparse, especially in the shade under the beech trees. A good variety of woodland birds can be seen.
Click here to find out more.

Cwm Giedd

OS grid reference: SN792128
Nearest village: Ystradgynlais
How to get there: Take A4067 Swansea to Ystragynlais road, turn left up Giedd valley and continue past the end of the public road.
Managed by: Forestry Commission Wales

Although a relatively small wood, from the car park, there are a number of internal roads and paths suitable for linear scenic walks and out onto the Black Mountains and up to one of several aircraft crash sites. There is a desire to develop a circular walk up the river Giedd - returning along the Nant Ceiliog.

Glasfynydd

OS grid reference: SN821272
Nearest village: Trecastle
How to get there: Follow A40 to Trecastle, then signs to the Usk Reservoir. Glasfynydd Forest surrounds the reservoir.
Managed by: Forestry Commission Wales

Nestling in the upper reaches of the River Usk, Glasfynydd Forest provides excellent opportunities for walking and cycling around the Usk Reservoir.

Great Triley Wood

OS grid reference: SO311181
Nearest town: Abergavenny
How to get there: The wood is off the A465, north of Abergavenny.
Managed by: Woodland Trust

Great Triley Wood is a wet woodland that is periodically flooded by the Afon Gafenni stream that runs through the site. These damp conditions provide ideal habitat for marsh marigold, water dropwort, wood avens and sedges. Access is permitted, but please be aware that ground conditions are difficult.

Llangattock Beechwood

OS grid reference: SO13176
Nearest towns: Llangattock
How to get there: One mile south of the town of Crickhowell is the village of Llangattock. The main entrance to the site can be found on Park Drive opposite the Horseshoe Inn (beyond the cattle grid and kissing gate).
Managed by: Brecon Beacons National Park

Although there are no longer any mature beech trees, this attractive site has lots of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for several wooden sculptures by Neil Gow depicting the different plants and animals found within the wood.

Mynydd Du

OS grid reference: SO268252
Nearest towns: Abergavenny, Hay-on-Wye
How to get there: From Abergavenny follow the A465 north. After appoximately 4 miles turn left at Llanvihangel Crucorney towards Llanthony Abbey. At Stanton (appoximately 2 miles) turn left and follow Forest Coal Pit signs. Follow the road to Mynydd Du (6 miles).
Managed by: Forestry Commission Wales

The forest of Mynydd Du lies in the upper reaches of the Grwyne Fawr on the southern side of the Black Mountains. Until the 19th century the valley was intensively settled with over 30 farmsteads surrounded by small stone-walled fields. In the early 20th century the Grwyne Fawr reservoir was built at the head of the valley and a village was established to house the workers. Foundations of several village buildings, including the old stone school can still be seen. There are picnic sites beside the stream, ideal for peace and shade on a hot day. The most popular spot is Yr Eithin, at the upper end of the forest. From here there's a pleasant 1.5-mile walk up to the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir.

Park Wood

OS grid reference: SO166346
Nearest town: Talgarth
How to get there: The wood is north-east of Talgarth.
Managed by: Woodland Trust

A beautiful site consisting of mature broadleaf woodland, pioneer woodland after clearfell and existing stands of conifer. Very peaceful with some woodland plants and lots of bird activity. Good views from the top of the woods.

Pwll-y-Wrach Nature Reserve

OS grid reference: S0165326
Nearest town: Talgarth
How to get there: The wood is one mile south-east of Talgarth. Post code: LD3 0DS.
Managed by: Brecknock Wildlife Trust

Pwll-y-Wrach is 17.5 hectares of beautiful ancient woodland, sloping down to the banks of the River Enig. Near the eastern end of the reserve the river plunges over a spectacular waterfall into a dark pool known as the Witches Pool, from which the reserve gets it name.
The woodland is particularly beautiful in early spring when white patches of wood anemones merge with a yellow carpet of lesser celandines. In late spring bluebells fleck the woodland floor with shimmering blue and the white flowers of wild garlic give the air a pungent smell. Look out for the strange looking toothwort plant near the base of trees (especially hazel), down by the river. It lacks chlorophyll and is parasitic on the trees.
Dormice live in the reserve, although you are unlikely to see these golden brown creatures. In some parts of the reserve small groups of trees have been felled to encourage the food-plants of dormice, such as bramble and honeysuckle, to grow.
Click here to find out more.

Taf Fechan

OS grid reference: SO003132
Nearest village: Pontsticill
How to get there: Turn off the A470 at Cefn-Coed-y-Cymmer. Follow signs to Pontsticill and Vaynor. Follow the edge of Pontsticill Reservoir to get to Taf Fechan Forest.
Managed by: Forestry Commission Wales

Large upland forest situated on the south side of the Brecon Beacons, deep into the National Park. Planted around the reservoirs, Taf Fechan is a picturesque area which although popular, is a good place to find secluded picnic spots and resting places.

Talybont Forest

OS grid reference: SO056178
Nearest village: Talybont-on-Usk
How to get there: Turn off the A40 following signs for Talybont-on-Usk between Brecon and Bwlch. Once in Talybont-on-Usk follow signs for Talybont Reservoir, passing through the village of Aber, continuing until Forestry Commission signs are seen.
Managed by: Forestry Commission Wales

Talybont forest lies along the side of Glyn Collwn and the Talybont Reservoir. At the head of the forest are the waterfalls of Blaen-y-Glyn. At the end of the 19th century the valley contained at least ten farms. Small fields with stone walls surrounded each farmstead, and the nearby woodland provided timber for building and wood for fuel. During the 19th century limestone was quarried and transported along the Brinore Tramway and Brecon-Merthyr railway to the mountains of South Wales. The old course of the railway is now part of the Taff trail which is suitable for walkers and cyclists.

Waterfall Country

OS grid reference: SN912079
Nearest village: Pontneddfechan
How to get there: Follow signs to Pontneddfechan/Waterfalls from the A465 (Heads of the Valley Road) from Bridgend to Penderyn.
Managed by: Forestry Commission Wales

You won't find anywhere else in Wales with so many spectacular waterfalls in such a small area. Water is inseparable from the Welsh landscape whether flowing in a river or babbling in a brook. Here the rivers Mellte, Hepste and Neddfechan have worn away soft rocks to create steep wooded gorges full of caves and the famous waterfalls.