GeoFest 2017

The next Fforest Fawr Geopark Festival will take place in 2017, over the course of 16 days from Saturday 20th May to Sunday 4th June. The full programme will be available by Christmas 2016. Please return to this page as the programme of walks, talks and other events develops.

For all walks, don’t forget to pack these essentials:

  • a picnic lunch for any of the all-day walks
  • something hot/cold to drink
  • emergency rations (chocolate bars etc)
  • appropriate weatherproof gear – you often need to pack not just sun-cream and a sun-hat but also a rainproof jacket and over-trousers for a day in these hills!
  • spare warm clothing – multiple layers work well.  Avoid jeans!
  • camera, binoculars, walking poles etc as required
  • appropriate footwear – generally that means walking boots

Dogs – or rather their owners! – should note that well-behaved dogs are welcome on some walks. However they are restricted from others since the festival takes place during the nesting season and many walks cross open moorland and/or nature reserves where the presence of a dog can disturb birds, and indeed livestock. By law, any dog on access land must be on a short lead between 1st March and 31st July.

Grades – each of the walks is given a grade:

  • Access for all – short, flat or gentle slopes – no barriers, suitable for wheelchairs & pushchairs
  • Easy – short(-ish), no steep slopes or difficult ground
  • Moderate – good exercise, may be long(-ish), some ascents involved
  • Energetic – long, may be one or two steep climbs,
  • Strenuous – long, with steep climbs and perhaps difficult ground

Maps – if you wish to follow any of these routes on a map then (unless otherwise indicated)  all walks will be found on OS 1:25,000 scale Explorer sheet OL12. Geology is covered by the 1:50,000 scale geological map of Fforest Fawr. These and other publications are available from the National Park on-line shop.

Language – all walks will be conducted in English except where otherwise indicated.

Further info & to book your place: phone Alan Bowring on 01874 620415

Cost: usually £3 for a half-day and £6 for a full-day walk. Please pay on the day. (Concessionary rates £2 and £4)

Disclaimer: the organisers reserve the right to change the route, length and time of walks both before and on the day according to circumstances (eg weather, adverse path conditions etc). Any participants already booked on a walk will be informed.


Saturday 20 May 2017   1.30pm – 5pm

Up and down the Nedd Fechan

An exploration of the natural history of this thickly wooded gorge. This special area of conservation (SAC) is noted for its bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) which thrive in the damp shady conditions.

  • Start: Pont Melin-fach car park (SN 908105)
  • Distance/time: 3.5km / 2miles     3.5 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 70m / 220ft               moderate
  • Cost: £4
  • Dogs: sorry – no dogs on this wildlife walk


Sunday 21 May 2017       1.30pm – 5.00pm

Lines in the Landscape

A walk from Coelbren Miners Welfare Hall exploring a section of the Roman Road, Sarn Helen and a length of the Brecon Forest Tramroad. And alongside the archaeology and industrial archaeology, a chance to take a close look at the wildflower interest in the nature reserve at Gors Llwyn.

  • Start: Miners Welfare Hall, Coelbren  (OS grid ref SN 851116)  SA10 9PN
  • Distance/time: 6.5km / 4 miles        3.5 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 90m / 300ft                Moderate
  • Cost: £3
  • Dogs: Sorry – no dogs on this wildlife walk


Tuesday 23rd May 2017       10.30am – 1pm

Rocky Ravines

A walk from the Black Mountain Centre in Brynaman exploring the rocky foundations of the village as revealed in the gorges cut by streams flowing down from the Black Mountain.

  • Start:  Black Mountain Centre  (OS grid ref SN 714143)  SA18 1BU
  • Distance/time: 4km / 2.5 miles        2.5 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 110m / 350ft               Moderate
  • Cost: £3
  • Dogs: to be advised


Wednesday 24th May 2017   10am – 4pm

Penderyn: a Sgwd yr Eira Circuit

A full-day exploration with Brecon Beacons Park Society of the triangular route from Penderyn Community Centre to the falls and Dinas Rock and returning via Moel Penderyn looking at geology and industrial archaeology.

  • Start: Penderyn Community Centre  (OS grid ref SN 950079)  CF44 9UX
  • Distance/time: 10km / 6 miles         6 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 400m / 1300ft           Moderate
  • Cost: £6 for non-BBPS members
  • Dogs: well-behaved dogs on leads welcome


Thursday 25 May 2017       10.30am – 3pm

River and Ridge Revisited

A walk following old tramroads and inclines from the heart of Abercrave to the top of Cribarth and returning through a secretive gorge. Explore the area’s geology and industrial archaeology – assets which it has in super-abundance. Bring a packed lunch – and enjoy tea and cake at the Hub afterwards!

  • Start: The Hub/PO, Abercrave  (OS grid ref SN 816126)  SA9 1XP
  • Distance/time: 7.5km / 4.5 miles       4.5 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 300m / 1000ft             Moderate
  • Cost: £6
  • Dogs: to be advised


Friday 26th May 2017      10am-4pm

Cadlan’s Cairns

An archaeological  study walk in partnership with the Brecon Beacons Park Society (BBPS) and Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust tracing the legacy of the Geopark’s early inhabitants around the upper reaches of Nant Cadlan –  Cefn Sychbant and Pant Sychbant. Touching on the area’s geology and botany too, the walk will seek out the many Bronze Age cairns which decorate these hillsides. Don’t forget a picnic lunch. May be rough or wet underfoot in parts.

  • Start: to be advised  (OS grid ref SN 993115)
  • Distance/time: 10km / 6miles      6 hours
  • Ascent/grade:  200m / 650ft         Moderate
  • Cost: £6 for non-BBPS members
  • Dogs: well-behaved dogs on leads welcome


Saturday 27 May 2017       10.30am – 4pm

Rottenstone Remnants

An all-day exploration of an often forgotten industry which left its distinctive mark on the landscape, set within an area especially rich in natural interest. Visiting Pwll yr Cawr and the rottenstone workings to Sinc y Giedd, returning over Carreg Goch.

  • Start: Craig-y-nos Country Park  (OS grid ref SN 840155)  SA9 1GL
  • Distance/time: 10km / 6 miles        5.5hours
  • Ascent/grade: 420m / 1300ft           Moderate
  • Cost: £6
  • Dogs: to be advised


Tuesday 30 May 2017   10am – 4.00pm

Carreg Cennen to Garreg Las

An exploration of the wildlife and landscape near Carreg Cennen Castle via the Beacons Way, through limestone and sandstone territory visiting the best example in the park of geology influencing vegetation.

  • Start: Carreg Cennen Castle car park  (OS grid ref SN 666193)  SA19 6UA
  • Distance/time: 8km / 5 miles            6 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 290m / 950ft              Moderate
  • Cost: £6
  • Dogs: sorry – no dogs on this wildlife walk


Wednesday 31st May 2017        10am – 4pm

Family activity day at Craig-y-nos Country Park

A firm favourite in the calendar each year. As in previous years, we expect to have the usual range of stalls and activities for all the family. More details in due course.


Wednesday 31st May 2017            times to be confirmed

Three Summits, Seven Stones

An exploration of Cribarth’s natural and cultural heritage with the Brecon Beacons Park Society – the title refers to the three summits of the mountain and Saith Maen, an outstanding archaeological feature.  Up Cribarth via NE shoulder, along to all 3 summits then out to rottenstone workings and the stone row, returning via Pwll yr Cawr and footpath to the country park.

  • Start: Craig-y-nos Country Park  (OS grid ref SN 840155)  SA9 1GL
  • Distance/time: 5km / 3 miles        2.5 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 230m /  750ft          Moderate
  • Cost: £3 for non-BBPS members
  • Dogs: well-behaved dogs on leads welcome


Thursday 1st June 2017       1.30pm – 5pm

Wildlife with a View

A walk with Brecknock Wildlife Trust exploring the natural history of Craig y Rhiwarth and the Allt Rhongyr nature reserve.

  • Start: Craig-y-nos Country Park  (OS grid ref SO 840155)  SA9 1GL
  • Distance/time: 5.5km / 3.5 miles         3.5 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 225m / 700ft                  Moderate
  • Cost: £3
  • Dogs: sorry – no dogs on this wildlife walk


Thursday 1 June 2017   am – pm

Henllys Tramroads

Following the Geotrail to the old Henllys Vale colliery then via Cyllie and bridleway to Cefn Carn Fadog and return south via long tramroad incline – an all-day exploration of the geological and archaeological interest of a part of the Black Mountain.

  • Start: Ystradowen Community Centre  (OS grid ref SN 750123)  SA9 2YY
  • Distance/time: 9.5km / 5.5 miles        4 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 350m / 1150ft                Moderate
  • Cost: £6
  • Dogs: to be advised


Friday 2nd June 2017       10am – 4pm

A Walk with the National Trust in the Central Beacons

A walk in partnership with the Brecon Beacons Park Society (BBPS) and the National Trust via Cefn Cwm Llwch, Pen y Fan, Corn Du and visiting Llyn Cwm Llwch before returning around Twyn y Dyfnant. Join Rob Reith, the Trust’s lead ranger, to explore the landscape, history, management and conservation of this special place.

  • Start: National Trust’s Cwm Gwdi car park  (OS grid ref SO 024247)
  • Distance/time: 13km / 8miles        6 hours
  • Ascent/grade:  600m / 2000ft        Energetic
  • Cost: £6 for non-BBPS members
  • Dogs: well-behaved dogs on leads welcome


Saturday 3rd June 2017       10.30am – 3.30pm

A Circuit of Circles

An exploration of a newly aligned section of the Beacons Way in a lesser visited part of the Black Mountain, visiting Blaenllynfell, Cefn y Cylchau and Cefn Truman. Plenty of circular depressions along the way.

  • Start: top car park, Black Mountain quarries  (OS grid ref SN 732187)
  • Distance/time: 8km / 5 miles         5 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 260m / 850ft            Moderate
  • Cost: £4
  • Dogs: to be advised


Sunday 4 June 2017   am – pm

Pontsticill: rock & rail, river & reserve

An all-day walk in association with South and West Wales Wildlife Trust from the village via Vaynor and the Taff Trail. Back through the nature reserve & quiet lane to village

  • Start: outside Pontsticill village hall (OS grid ref SO 056112)
  • Distance/time: km / miles           hours
  • Ascent/grade: m / ft                       Moderate
  • Cost: £6
  • Dogs: sorry – no dogs on this wildlife walk


. . .  and below are a selection of walks which are likely to go ahead but for which dates have not yet been fixed. Check back here early in 2017 for further details!




May/June 2017         1pm – 5pm 

Penwyllt and Pwll Byfre

An exploration of a part of the Beacons Way and Ogof Ffynnon Ddu national nature reserve in an area of exceptional geological and former industrial interest. Following the old silica brickworks tramway and examining the OFD stream on the surface

  • Start: NRW car park, Penwyllt  (OS grid ref SN 856155)
  • Distance/time: 8km / 5 miles         4 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 240m / 800ft           Energetic
  • Cost: £4
  • Dogs: to be advised


May/June 2017   am – pm

Ystradgynlais: river & rail, canal & colliery

A half-day exploration of a fascinating part of the Swansea Valley via Sustrans route and river and canal corridor.

  • Start: outside The Welfare, Ystradgynlais  (OS grid ref SN 788103)  SA9 1JJ
  • Distance/time: 8.3km / 5 miles         4 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 162m / 550ft               Moderate
  • Cost: £6
  • Dogs: to be advised


May/June 2017   am – pm

From Brecon to Pen y crug

A half-day walk from the town to explore Brecknockshire’s finest Iron Age hill-fort, visiting Maen Du Well en route.

  • Start: outside Brecon Tourist Information Centre  (OS grid ref SO 046286)  LD3 9DA
  • Distance/time: 6km / 4 miles        3 hours
  • Ascent/grade: 200m / 650ft           Easy
  • Cost: £6
  • Dogs: to be advised