Pen Y Fan is one of the most iconic hills in the Brecon Beacons, if not all of Wales. If you are an avid hiker or hill bagger, Pen Y Fan is surely on your list. Here is our experience of Pen Y Fan with kids.
Noted to be a good family stroll, we thought we would tick it off our list and headed to Wales on a Sunday in early February. We were expecting snowy tops and a long slog to the summit.
Parking was busy, but easy to find a spot. The parking area is pretty big. There are port-a-loo’s available to empty before your walk, and tea and coffee vans parked up too, giving us the best bribing tool for the kids! There was a smell of chips and burgers that would tease us all the way up the 886m hill and back.
The walk starts at the end of the car park, crossing over the stream and straight onto a well marked path, leading straight up. The climb starts straight away, a slow burn to the calves making it’s appearance early on. It’s a straight forward path, no twists or turns which makes it easy for the kids to navigate. No chance of losing them behind boulders or around corners. Every 100 yards or so, gullies have been placed along the path to lead water downhill and off the footpath. This is to avoid erosion, keeping the mountains as preserved as possible, considering the traffic that walks up it daily.
After about half an hour or so, you will reach a cairn, located at a spot called Windy Pass. Take the left path and carry on, on the right hand side to follow the footpath straight on to the Pen Y Fan cairn stones. You should reach the summit from here in about 15 minutes. The valleys open up to reveal dizzying heights, and views across the whole peninsula.
As it is an open summit, it does get windy. Be prepared for a change in weather due to the height. We happened to visit in an unusually stormy month for the UK. The wind wasn’t too bad, but there were gusts that unnerved us a little.
Good For All Generations.
Pen Y Fan is a very simple route to follow, with an easy access summit. For a family walk, straight up and down will suit all generations. You can follow on for circular routes, or even the Fan Dance, which takes in 24km of welsh hills and the old roman road.
We managed to be up and down in less than 2 hours, but we didn’t hang around at the summit for very long, due to the wind. If it were a nicer day, we probably would have carried on for a while, taking in the scenery. Parking is free, but will fill up quick in the summer months.
Have you ticked off Pen Y Fan with kids? What else would you recommend?