Brecon Beacons Winter Walk: Llyn Y Fan Fach - Waun Lefrith

Breathtakingly dramatic views of the lake and escarpments. Detailed hike guide with where to park.

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By Kaycee Gu

Panoramic shot of Llyn-Y-Fan Fach from Waun Lefrith by Kaycee Gu.

There is something about winter walks.

Perhaps it’s the frost hugging the ground or the lack of people around you or the refreshingly crisp winter air after a gust of gale-force wind.

It’s cold but cosy, distant but romantic.

That is how I felt when I started making my way up to the Llyn-Y-Fan Fach (Lake of the Small Hill) to climb up the Waun Lefrith (Milk Bog) in January.

At 677 metres above sea level, Waun Lefrith is a lower summit in the Carmarthen Fans - a group of peaks within the Black Mountain (not to be confused with the Black Mountains in the East of the Brecon Beacons). The other two are Picws Du, at 749 metres high, and Fan Foel, 802.5 metres.

Although it’s still a lesser-known group of peaks in Brecon Beacons, it’s definitely one for the bucket list. With the dramatic slopes carved out by ice during the last ice age and the beautiful glacial lake sitting at their base, the view is simply breathtaking.

Photo of Llyn-Y-Fan Fach by Kaycee Gu.

The Key Information

Mountain summited: Waun Lefrith (677m)

Hike duration: Around 3 hours

Hike difficulty: Moderate (with appropriate clothes and footwear for winter)

What Three Words location of start point: battling.daunted.carver


✅ Free parking
✅ Circular walk
❌ No toilet along the way

Ordnance Survey Map of Llyn Y Fan Fach.

The Parking

The walk starts from a gravel car park carefully tucked away in the hills of Brecon Beacons. If you follow the postcode SA19 9UN, you will get there after a few tight meet-and-greet* spots. Getting there early will increase the chances of an earlier journey.

It’s a long stretch of a narrow country road but have faith in the postcode.

*When you’re driving down a very narrow road and having to negotiate with oncoming traffic who goes first. Drive slowly and always be prepared to stop and give way.

It’s a small car park. Whilst there were no issues finding a spot on a cold winter’s day, I imagine it’ll get fairly busy during the rest of the seasons.

It’s also free! I don’t know about you but for me, free parking always puts me in a good mood before any hike.

Photo of Llyn-Y-Fan Fach car park by Kaycee Gu.

The Walk

From the car park, follow the gravel path in the same direction that you drove into the car park.

It’s a slight uphill but a good, natural warm-up for the rest of the walk!

Once you get to the lake, you’ll see a small stoney outhouse shelter with a large health and safety sign that clearly answers the popular question of whether you can swim in the lake. It’s a no by the way. No swimming at Llyn-Y-Fan Fach.

Here, you have a choice to complete the circular walk clockwise or anti-clockwise. I would suggest starting anti-clockwise, taking the path on your right hand side.

There are two reasons for this:

As we followed the ridge-line trail, the wintery landscape around us looked out of this world and, at times, even apocalyptic, especially given there was no one around us, not even a single set of footprints.

This caused a mild panic when the gale-force wind nearly blew us over. But given that the wind was blowing us away from the lake, we decided to continue.

As you’re admiring the scenery around you, don’t forget to look up. You may see a few red kites en-route to or from the nearby feeding station.

Photo by Kaycee Gu.

The Legend

Now, there is a local, and rather disturbing, legend about Llyn-Y-Fan Fach.

According to the legend of the Lady of the Lake, there was once a young farmer who would graze his sheep and cattle near Llyn-Y-Fan Fach. One day, he saw the most beautiful woman rising out of the lake.

He was struck by her beauty and fell in love instantly. He approached her, offering his hard bread and asking for her hand in marriage. She rejected his proposal. The next day, he tried again. Again, she refused.

On his third attempt, she accepted his bread and marriage proposal on the condition that she would return to the lake if he struck her three times.

For many years they lived happily on a farm not far from Myddfai and had three sons. But, over time, he did break his promise. And so, after the third strike, the lady returned to the lake and vanished, taking the cattle with her.

You thought the story ended there, didn’t you?

Not quite.

Some years later, her eldest son found her. She gave him instructions on how to practise herbal medicine and said to him that he and his family’s calling was to heal the sick.

Just like that, they became the first of a succession of Physicians of Myddfai - famed gifted healers in the region.

Photo of Waun Lefrith by Kaycee Gu.