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  Four Waterfalls Trail - Brecon Beacons, Wales  

sgwd pannwr

Sgwd Y Pannwr Waterfall
By Leigh Cousins 28/04/2016
Canon 5D Mark II 16-35 USM 16mm F/9 1.6seconds ISO100


The Four Falls Trail in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is an awesome walk following the Afon Mellte river as it produces 4 fantastic waterfalls. Once at the Gwaun Hepste car park the sign clearly states four and a half hour walk with the term 'strenuous', do not underestimate the sheer graft needed to make it all the way especially carrying camera equipment. Sgwd Y Pannwr waterfall, in the shot above, is the main reason I decided on this trail and I was not disappointed, relaxing by the fall for an hour or so was mystical and magical. It is located near the bottom of the trail and takes approx. 2 hours to reach at a steady pace but is well worth it.



Car Park SignTrail 1
Trail 2Trail 3

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees on the Trail
By Leigh Cousins 28/04/2016
Canon 5D Mark II 16-35 USM 16mm F/4 1/1600second ISO100


The initial walk from the Gwaun Hepste car park starts as open dirt roads before becoming more rural and uneven, it takes about 45 minutes before you reach the first waterfall, Sgwd Clun-gwyn. Along the way you may be lucky enough to pass a forest of Christmas trees as far as the eye can see which looks pretty magical.



Sgwd Clun-Gwyn

Sgwd Clun-Gwyn Waterfall
By Leigh Cousins 28/04/2016
Canon 5D Mark II 16-35 USM 16mm f/7.1 0.8seconds ISO100


When you finally reach the first waterfall the first thing you will notice is the thunderous sound of the water and as you get closer a sign will remind you : Danger High Cliffs. These cliffs are mostly unprotected and edging yourself closer and closer for a better view can be very nerve-strickening for someone like me who has a height issue, nevertheless I set up my tripod right on the edge and took some shots, I don't think this shot fully captures the depth and power but perhaps I rushed it just to get back a bit!



Standing on the edge

After you pass Sgwd Clun-gwyn waterfall and continue on the trail you reach a sign that reads something like :
The next part of this trail is very dangerous, it has very narrow walkways around the cliff where some places you will have to use your hands. Please use this alternative route!

Ofcourse the first thing I thought was 'Yeah right' and so I followed the so called dangerous path and after about 10 minutes I encountered what I can only describe as a Bear Grylls situation. You can see in the shot above the path leads left around the cliff and once you get around it narrows to about 2foot wide with a 100m drop down to the flowing water, the mud was wet and slippery and there was nothing to hold onto, so without much more thought I turned around and came back but instead of heading back to the 'Alternative route' I found a tree that had fallen down offering a perfect chance to climb down to the river.


Stream near sgwd isaf clun-gwyn

Stream near Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn
By Leigh Cousins 28/04/2016
Canon 5D Mark II 16-35 USM 16mm f/8 1second ISO100


Exploring the river near Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall was quite special, I don't think there is a route down to where I was and the fact I didn't see anyone for the hour I was there probably is correct. To be completely secluded sitting on a rock with my feet in the river, the sound of rushing water and birds chirping is truly blissful, to be one with nature without the sound of people or cars, amazing!



Trial 6Trial 7


Footbridge over the River Afon
By Leigh Cousins 28/04/2016
Canon 5D Mark II 16-35 USM 19mm f/9 1/50second ISO100


After climbing back up and returning to take the 'Alternative route' you follow a woodlands walk up and down some steep paths and then onto some very scenic routes with a real deep forest feel to it. Eventually you will find the sign for Sgwd Pannwr waterfall which is 25 minutes further walk. If you come across the footbridge in the shot above I believe you have taken the wrong path and this will lead you back to the other car park, everything is clearly sign-posted and I would advise reading the map at the start and dotted along the trail just to get an idea of how it works and where you want to go.

The shot below is one of the many views you find along the river and this particular fall has a rock formation that produces a whirlwind effect in the water, really good for long exposure photography.

Whirlwind stream


sgwd pannwr-front

Sgwd Y Pannwr
By Leigh Cousins 28/04/2016
Canon 5D Mark II 16-35 USM 16mm f/9 5second ISO100


Another shot of the fantastic Sgwd Y Pannwr waterfall, also known as 'The Fall of the Fuller', there is one more main waterfall which you can walk behind but I never made it there, in my opinion, this one is the best. Most of these shots were taken using a Nisi 4-500 variable neutral density filter Amazon Link, I highly recommend the Nisi brand as a great alternative.
Conclusion is that Waterfall Country in Wales is extraordinary, a few hours spent on only one of the several waterfall trails, the atmosphere and beautiful countryside is so calming and fresh, the people are very friendly, the roads are great to drive... if you live in the City, need a break and are not afraid of hill climbing walks... Visit Wales!


  Leigh Cousins RAW ©Copyright 2013-2016