Cambrian Way Part 1: Cardiff Castle to the Storey Arms


Trail photos

Photo ofCambrian Way Part 1: Cardiff Castle to the Storey Arms Photo ofCambrian Way Part 1: Cardiff Castle to the Storey Arms Photo ofCambrian Way Part 1: Cardiff Castle to the Storey Arms


Trail stats

91 mi
Elevation gain
15,981 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
14,583 ft
Max elevation
2,840 ft
67 5
Min elevation
28 ft
Trail type
One Way
May 26, 2020
May 2020
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  •   5 1 review
2,840 ft
28 ft
91.0 mi

near Cardiff, Wales (United Kingdom)

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Trail photos

Photo ofCambrian Way Part 1: Cardiff Castle to the Storey Arms Photo ofCambrian Way Part 1: Cardiff Castle to the Storey Arms Photo ofCambrian Way Part 1: Cardiff Castle to the Storey Arms

Itinerary description

The Cambrian Way is one of the finest long distance footpaths in Wales, stretching from Cardiff in the south to Conwy in the north, winding its way across all the major mountains of the principality (so a lot of climbs and panoramic views)! This is the first section from Cardiff to the Storey Arms in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Waymarking is by a black Welsh hat symbol, although you really need a GPS track and a copy of Cicerone's "The Cambrian Way" (
Starting at Cardiff Castle, urban walking is avoided by following a ribbon of green beside the River Taff. The path then climbs through woodland by Castle Coch up to the ridge that runs behind Cardiff. Following this ridge east through trees and fields the path arrives at the village of Machen. After the village the Cambrian Way climbs steeply to the summit of Mynydd Machen, marked by a group of aerials, before dropping down the other side to Crosskeys. Crossing a railway and a disused canal the next climb is up to the hillfort on top of Twmbarlwm. A long ridge walk takes you to Pontypool, where there are shops, cafes and accommodation.
Another ridge walk then follows to the summit of Blorenge after which the path drops into Abergavenny, the next opportunity for food and accommodation. A classic climb takes you up the Sugar Loaf, and down into the valley beyond, before another climb up to a ridge, which is followed northwards until the path drops down into Capel-y-ffin, a tiny village with a small, white church. Climbing out of the village the Cambrian Way leads to a summit called Lord Hereford's knob across rough moorland, with large views over the Wye valley beyond. The route than loops back towards the south, and after another long ridge walk on open hillside among heather, whinberries and cotton sedge reaches the small town of Crickhowell with food shops, cafes, accommodation and an outdoor shop.
Beyond Crickhowell the path crosses a plateau with a historic cave, and a disused quarry. After some kilometres over rough ground, the most popular area of the Brecon Beacons is reached, where the Cambrian Way crosses the multiple peaks of Fan y Big, the Cribyn, Pen y Fan, and Corn Du. Below Corn Ddu there is a visit to the monument of Tommy Jones, who died after becoming lost on the moors. This section ends at the Storey Arms, where there is a car park, bus stop, a trailer selling bacon baps but sadly no public house, although there is a Youth Hostel down the road.
More information is at the website of the Cambrian trust, which has the GPX tracks on which this one is based, see also my blog The next part on Wikiloc is at Happy Hiking!

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PictographCave Altitude 574 ft
Photo of3 Bears Cave

3 Bears Cave

3 Bears Cave is actually an old iron ore mine. Mining in the area began in the 1560's helping fuel local industry.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 213 ft

Abergavenny shops and cafes

Abergavenny is a fine town with a castle, meadow, train station, little shops and cafes on a pedestrianised street, as well as accommodation.

PictographBridge Altitude 155 ft
Photo ofBridge over River Usk

Bridge over River Usk

Abergavenny bridge crosses the River Usk in a series of stone arches. Originally dating from the 15th century it was substantially modified in the 19th century.

PictographCastle Altitude 54 ft
Photo ofCardiff Castle and start of Cambrian Way Photo ofCardiff Castle and start of Cambrian Way Photo ofCardiff Castle and start of Cambrian Way

Cardiff Castle and start of Cambrian Way

Starting point for the Cambrian Way is at the entrance to Cardiff Castle in the centre of Cardiff. While the castle has Roman and Norman origins the current structure is a Victorian fantasy built for the 3rd Marquess of Bute. The elaborate indoor decor of animals and plants makes it worth a visit.

PictographCastle Altitude 342 ft
Photo ofCastell Coch

Castell Coch

Castell Coch or in English Red Castle, was originally a Norman fortification, with stone fortifications built in the 13th century, however, the present structure is a medieval fantasy built for the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the 19th century. Its atmospheric setting has made it the set for several films and television programmes.

PictographCave Altitude 1,798 ft
Photo ofChartist cave Photo ofChartist cave

Chartist cave

The Chartist cave was where weapons were stored and meetings held by the Chartists in 1839. They believed that working men should be able to vote for Members of Parliament, that democracy should not be restricted to the property owning class. To pursue this aim there was an armed clash with the authorities at Newport in November 1839, in which the Chartists were defeated and tried for treason, but eventually their aims were achieved.

PictographSummit Altitude 2,555 ft
Photo ofCribyn Photo ofCribyn


The Cribyn, with its summit at 795 metres, is one of the four summits crossed by the Cambrian Way in this section. A steep climb is required to reach it but the views to the north over the steep north face are worth the effort.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 285 ft
Photo ofCrickhowell shops and cafes Photo ofCrickhowell shops and cafes Photo ofCrickhowell shops and cafes

Crickhowell shops and cafes

Crickhowell is a small town with shops for food, cafes, a good outdoor shop, and accommodation. Like most of the villages and towns in this section of the Cambrian Way, it lies in a valley.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 207 ft

Crosskeys shops

A small shop or two in this ribbon development in the valley of the Ebbw River

PictographProvisioning Altitude 377 ft

Esso Petrol station and shop

A petrol station with a useful shop for picking up sandwiches and the like.

PictographSummit Altitude 2,315 ft
Photo ofFan y Big

Fan y Big

Fan y Big is one of four summits in this section with a height of 717 metres, like the other mountains in this group it has a very steep drop to the north.

PictographMonument Altitude 949 ft
Photo ofFolly Tower

Folly Tower

A tower originally built in the 18th century, it was demolished in the Second World War in case it acted as a navigational aid for the enemy, and rebuilt in 1994.

PictographWaypoint Altitude 112 ft
Photo ofGlamorgan Canal Photo ofGlamorgan Canal

Glamorgan Canal

An abandoned canal that once brought coal to Cardiff docks, now a haven of wild life and wildflowers.

Photo ofLlandaff Cathedral

Llandaff Cathedral

Llandaff cathedral was originally built in the 12th century but many changes have been made since then. In the Second World War it was damaged by enemy action and instead of restoring the cathedral as it was, an arch with a modern statue of Christ by Epstein now dominates the nave.

PictographPanorama Altitude 2,225 ft
Photo ofLord Hereford's Knob Photo ofLord Hereford's Knob Photo ofLord Hereford's Knob

Lord Hereford's Knob

Lord Hereford's knob or Twmpa, is a summit, 690 metres high, on the northern escarpment of the Black Mountains. While not a large summit it has spectacular views across the Wye valley and along the ridge.

PictographSummit Altitude 1,178 ft
Photo ofMachen Mountain Photo ofMachen Mountain Photo ofMachen Mountain

Machen Mountain

Machen mountain or Mynydd Machen is a 362 metre peak on the ridge between the Rhymney and Ebbw valleys, at the edge of the South Wales Coalfield. There a some aerials, a bench and some great views.

PictographWaypoint Altitude 80 ft
Photo ofMelingriffith Water Pump

Melingriffith Water Pump

This is a beam pump that once lifted water from a stream into the Glamorgan canal, it is powered by a waterwheel driven by the flow of the stream.

PictographSummit Altitude 2,298 ft
Photo ofPen Cerrig Calch

Pen Cerrig Calch

A 707 metre summit above the town of Crickhowell

PictographSummit Altitude 2,829 ft
Photo ofPen y Fan Photo ofPen y Fan Photo ofPen y Fan

Pen y Fan

Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales at 886 metres, and the most popular mountain walk.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 455 ft

Pontypool shops and cafe

Pontypool is a town with shops, cafes and accommodation

PictographWaypoint Altitude 1,643 ft
Photo ofQuarry


The quarry called Cwar yr Hendre is a little off the Cambrian Way which follows the line of the old Brinore Tramway at this point

PictographMonument Altitude 724 ft
Photo ofShell Grotto Photo ofShell Grotto

Shell Grotto

An 18th century building apparently decorated inside with shells and bones. Difficult to know as you cannot get in.

PictographProvisioning Altitude 171 ft

Shop in Machen

There are two shops selling food, the Coop also has a coffee machine.

Comments  (1)

  • Photo of Ivo Aceto
    Ivo Aceto Jan 29, 2022

    Sounds and looks a great place to walk.

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