Walk: Cribyn, Powys

Often overshadowed by its towering neighbour, Pen y Fan, this verdant mountain in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is one of Britain's most understated peaks

Published: October 28th, 2021 at 11:14 am
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Amid the lumps, bumps and rounded humps that form the ridgelines of the Brecon Beacons, sits Cribyn.


It’s the kind of peak a child may draw; pyramidal and stacked with brawn. Yet in spite of its mountain status, its summit is neither as high nor as insurmountable as you may imagine.

The Brecon Beacons comprises an Old Red Sandstone ridge formed over 400 million years ago during the Devonian period. In the millennia that followed, glacial erosion shaped the landscape that we see today, of steep escarpments to the north and east, banked at their bases with heaps of grey moraine.

A Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) spreading its wings.
Peregrine falcons can be seen above the ridges of the national park ©Getty

Cribyn walk

18.5km/11.5miles | 6 hours | moderate/hard

Cribyn, at 795m, sits 101m below the tallest peak in southern Britain, Pen y Fan. But far from inferior, the angular mount affords spectacular views over the surrounding countryside, making it well worth the climb.

1. From Llanfrynach

To avoid the crowds, park at Llanfrynach and follow the Three Rivers Ride route to the base of Bryn Teg, a ridge that leads up to Cribyn. The way is steady going, with a short section requiring a half-scramble. The tactility of the rock beneath your hands brings you closer to the land and offers the sense that you are not just summiting some humble hill, but a true mountain.

Castle and countryside

2. Southbound

Jut after Neuadd, the road swings to the left beside a sign post for the Three Rivers Ride – leave the way marked trail and stay on the road. crossing over a bridge and continuing on for another mile or so.

3. Ridgeback

Continue straight on to leave the roadway and begin your climb up the Bryn Teg ridge. The way is steady going, with a short section requiring a half-scramble. The tactility of the rock beneath your hands brings you closer to the land and offers the sense that you are not just summiting some humble hill, but a true mountain.

Red Kite
Juvenile red kite/Getty

4. Summit

From the peak, the impressive rock face of Pen y Fan glows green with mosses and plants, while trailing off to the east is Fan y Big. Look for peregrine falcons, buzzards and red kites swooping gracefully above the national park’s monoliths. The Black Mountains mark the eastern skyline, while to the south, on a clear day, you can gaze across the Bristol Channel to Exmoor and Devon’s rugged north coast. Drop gently from the peak to the east to meet ‘The Gap Road’.

5. To the pub

Drop gently from the peak to the east to meet ‘The Gap Road’. This clear track is popular among bikers and hikers, and leads down to rejoin the Three Rivers Ride. As you descend north to The White Swan Inn in Llanfrynach for a well-deserved drink, look back and marvel at your day’s muse: beautiful Cribyn.


Cribyn map

Cribyn walking route and map

Cribyn walking route and map


Christopher Ridout is a walker and writer with a keen interest in history and mythology.


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