When we moved to South Wales at the beginning of June, one of the first places we visited was the stunning Four Waterfalls Trail at Ystradfellte in the Brecon Beacons. It set me well on my way to falling in love with Wales.
It’s not a very long trail (about 4 miles) but the paths are steep, narrow and rocky in places so you will definitely need proper walking boots. I managed without a walking pole but I might to invest in one for future hikes like this as I have poor balance!
It’s a magical place of cascading waterfalls, moss covered stones, dense intertwining trees of the forest and glimpses of the looming rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons.
I felt like I’d stepped back in time or into a fantasy land such as Rivendell in Lord of the Rings. There’s so much to see and absorb. Although the trail isn’t that long we spent hours there, soaking up the wilderness. This is why we came to Wales.
The second waterfall was my favourite part of the trail. A shallow river ran over step like shelves of stone littered with round stones. The waterfall then drops away from the shelf of rock, facing the steep valley side, rushing into a surprisingly deep pool. People were diving into it from quite a height!
Swifts dived, swooped and screamed above the slabs of rock. A dipper darted amongst the large pebbles constantly ducking out of sight. It was too quick for my camera. Pools had collected in the fissures and undulations in the rock. To my surprise and delight, these pools were filled with hundreds of tadpoles.
The third waterfall was actually three small waterfalls cascading down each into their own small pool. I’d love to go back and brave swimming in those pools.
At this point you have to turn back on yourself and return back up the path to carry on your way. It is possible to climb up the near vertical cliff face back to the higher path. We watched some (mad) people do it!
As we walked back past the second waterfall, we spotted a jay in an oak tree. It didn’t seem bothered by people. I’d never seen a jay this close before, jays I’d previously encountered were very wary of people!
After the fourth waterfall (which we skipped, you have to go down another steep dead end path to see it) the path left the trees and after a gradient opened out to show stunning views across the hills. It then took us 40 minutes to follow the rest of the loop back to the car park.
Near the car park we spotted a couple of fluffy fox moths mating and another male trying to get in on the action! It was about 7.00pm at this point (we had dawdled a lot after arriving at 1.00pm!) so the moths were out. Aren’t they adorable? (They aren’t mating in this photo, this was after the deed).
If you live in Cardiff or visiting South Wales, the four waterfalls trail is definitely a must see! It can be a tough walk but the distance is doable so just take it slow. Slow is the best way to enjoy it anyway. June was the perfect time to visit as the trees were bursting with vivid greens and we were surrounded by wildlife.