Which hiking paths in the Brecon Beacons are historically significant for Welsh princes?

There is no better place to explore Welsh history than in its labyrinths of trails. The Brecon Beacons, a range of mountains in South Wales, offer an enticing opportunity to delve into the past, one step at a time. Several of the trails you will walk on were once tread by Welsh princes, making the experience not just a physical but also a historical journey. Let's embark on an exploration of some of these significant routes.

Glyndwr's Way

Glyndwr's Way, named after Owain Glyndwr, the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales, is a route of great historical significance. This trail winds through some of the most picturesque areas of mid-Wales, covering a total of 135 miles.

The path begins in Knighton, on the English border, and meanders through the heartland of Wales, winding up in Welshpool. The trail traverses a variety of landscapes, showcasing the stunning natural beauty of the region. You'll encounter rolling farmland, open moorland, and dense forestry, offering a kaleidoscope of views that will continually captivate your senses.

The trail is not just a feast for the eyes, but also a journey back in time. As you walk the path, you're following in the footsteps of Owain Glyndwr, a symbol of Welsh nationalism. It's a deeply inspiring experience and a testament to Wales' rich historical fabric.

Offa's Dyke Path

Another historically and culturally significant trail is the Offa's Dyke Path. This 177-mile route was named for Offa, the King of Mercia in the 8th century, who is said to have ordered the construction of the dyke as a defensive structure.

The trail stretches from the Severn Estuary in the south to the north coast of Wales, offering breathtaking views at every turn. As you traverse the various landscapes of the trail, from valleys to mountains, you'll be treading the same ground as ancient Welsh princes and their armies. It's a trail that fulfills not only your craving for adventure but also your thirst for historical knowledge.

Brecon Beacons Way

The Brecon Beacons Way is a long distance trail that takes walkers through some of the most stunning parts of the national park. This 100-mile route is historically significant as it passes through areas that were of strategic importance to Welsh princes.

The path starts in the east at Abergavenny, a town nestled between seven mountains, and winds its way to Llangadog in the west. As you follow the trail, you'll pass through ancient woodland, climb rugged peaks, and stroll beside tranquil reservoirs. The trail offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical interest, making it a must-walk route for any history enthusiast.

The Beacons Way

The Beacons Way, a 99-mile-long trail, runs east to west through the Brecon Beacons National Park, showcasing the diverse landscapes of the area. The route also passes through many sites of historical significance, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the journey.

The trail starts in the Skirrid Foothills and winds its way through the national park, ending in Bethlehem. Along the way, you'll pass through sites that tell stories of the past, illuminating the history of the Welsh princes who once ruled the land. Each step you take on this trail brings you closer to the past, making it a truly immersive historical journey.

The Taff Trail

The Taff Trail, a 55-mile route from Brecon to Cardiff, has its roots deeply embedded in Welsh history. It follows the River Taff, and much of the path is built on historical tramways and railway lines.

As you walk this trail, you're not only exploring the natural beauty of Wales but also delving into the country's industrial past. Many of the paths you walk on were once the trails of Welsh princes and other historical figures, giving you a glimpse into a bygone era. In particular, the section of the trail running through Merthyr Tydfil offers a vivid window into the industrial revolution and its impact on the landscape and people of Wales.

Each of these trails offers a unique exploration of Welsh history and the lives of Welsh princes. As you stride along these paths, you're walking in the footsteps of history, connecting with the past in a profound way. What better way to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Welsh history than by exploring these historic trails?

Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr

Just a few miles from Llandovery, you'll find Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr, two stunning glacial lakes hidden within the Black Mountains. These natural treasures offer not just remarkable scenic beauty but also historical significance. The area is said to be full of ancient legends, including the tale of a Lady of the Lake who supposedly married a local shepherd and gave birth to three sons, who became known as the Physicians of Myddfai.

Starting at the car park in the village of Llanddeusant, a four-mile-long trail will lead you to Llyn y Fan Fach. The journey offers delightful views of the surrounding landscapes, with the highlight being the dramatic vista when the lake finally comes into view. Nestled beneath steep cliffs, the lake's tranquil waters offer a sense of calm and isolation.

From here, you can opt to extend your walk to Llyn y Fan Fawr, which is a further three miles away. The route takes you across high moorland, offering panoramic views over the Brecon Beacons National Park. As you hike this trail, you are literally walking in the footsteps of the Physicians of Myddfai, adding a layer of historical intrigue to your adventure.

Usk Valley Walk

The Usk Valley Walk is a long-distance footpath that takes you on a historical journey through the heartland of South Wales. Beginning in Caerleon, once a significant Roman fortress, the trail follows the River Usk for 48 miles, ending in the town of Brecon.

As you traverse this trail, you'll enjoy a diverse range of landscapes, from tranquil river valleys and rolling farmland to the rugged peaks of the Brecon Beacons. Key historical sites along the route include the Roman remains in Caerleon, the medieval castle in Abergavenny, and the cathedral in Brecon.

These sites, among others, offer intriguing insights into the lives of the Welsh princes who once ruled this land. Many of them would have travelled along the River Usk, either for trade, political negotiation, or military expeditions. Thus, the Usk Valley Walk is not just a trail of natural beauty, but also a journey through the rich tapestry of Welsh history.


The Brecon Beacons offers a rich tapestry of historical exploration. As you walk these trails, you'll not only experience the breathtaking natural beauty of the region but also the fascinating history of the Welsh princes who once ruled this land.

Whether you're exploring the legend-filled lakes of Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fawr, the industrial heritage of the Taff Trail, or the ancient sites along the Usk Valley Walk, there's a sense of connection with the past that is uniquely profound.

Undoubtedly, the Brecon Beacons is a hiker's paradise, offering an unrivalled blend of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. So, lace up your boots, pack your rucksack, and embark on a journey that will take you through the pages of Welsh history as you tread the same trails as the Welsh princes of old.