Waterfall walks in Wales

Walks with a primary aim of visiting waterfalls. Mostly.

Looking for waterfall walks in Wales? There are 141 route guides to choose from below, and there are also galleries covering each of the waterfalls I have visited. If you're just looking for somewhere to get started, I would suggest the Four Waterfalls and Elidir Trail walks in Waterfall Country, part of the Fforest Fawr mountain range in the Brecon Beacons National Park, in South Wales - by far the most popular place for waterfall walks in Wales. For the others, pick a route guide or gallery, and get walking.

Specials

Ability requirements

Each route guide may be graded either completely or in parts, using the following grading system:

None
May be visited without needing any countryside walking ability at all, such as where waterfalls are clearly visible from a road, or have a specially prepared all-access trail.
Beginner
Route follows established paths (or roads), without any major hazards. Suitable for most beginners, but may not be suitable for mobility impaired visitors. Some level of countryside walking ability is required.
Moderate
Route follows established paths or walking routes that need additional ability, or may present some hazards, such as a path that ascends a small rock outcrop, or passes over exposed drops.
Experienced
Route may follow paths that have become badly overgrown, or not follow paths at all. River crossings may be required. Hazards may be significant.
Expert
Route presents extreme hazards, such as scrambles over unprotected drops, very tricky ascents/descents, or falling debris. Mistakes could easily have severe consequences.
Not graded
Route has not been graded.
Map reading
Map reading skills and an appropriate map are required (may be used in combination with any of the other grades).

Rivers and streams will always present some natural hazards (pools, small drops, etc.), and children should always be supervised. Icy conditions will always increase the severity of any hazard, and can turn even a beginner walk into an expert walk. Grades do not cover routes behind waterfalls unless specifically mentioned in the route guides. These grades are intended as a guide only, and you should always use your own discretion.

Ystradfellte

See the Four Waterfalls.

Pontneddfechan

See the Elidir Trail, Four Waterfalls or Sychryd Gorge.

Four Waterfalls - Afon Mellte and Afon Hepste

Waterfall Country, Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Elidir Trail - Nedd Fechan and Afon Pyrddin

Waterfall Country, Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Sychryd Gorge

Waterfall Country, Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

North Ystradfellte

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Nant Llech

Waterfall Country, Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

South Black Mountain

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Glynhir

South Wales.

Nant-ddu

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Glyn Tarell

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Cwm Llwch

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Taf Fechan and Merthyr Tydfil

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Blaen-y-Glyn

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Dyffryn Crawnon

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Usk River

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Clydach Gorge

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Llangatwg Escarpment

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Black Mountains

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Pwll-y-Wrach

Brecon Beacons National Park, Mid Wales.

North Hirwaun

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales.

Cynon Valley and Ynysybwl

South Wales Valleys.

Blaenrhondda

South Wales Valleys.

Blaencwm

South Wales Valleys.

Lower Rhondda

South Wales Valleys.

Ogmore Valley

South Wales Valleys.

Glyncorrwg

South Wales Valleys.

Glyn-neath

South Wales Valleys.

Melincourt

Waterfall Country, South Wales Valleys.

Aberdulais

Waterfall Country, South Wales Valleys.

Neath

South Wales Valleys.

Lower Tawe

South Wales Valleys.

Lower Wye Valley

Wye Valley AONB, South Wales.

Vale of Glamorgan

Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales.

Pembrokeshire Coast

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, West Wales.

Cardigan

West Wales.

Llandovery

Mid Wales.

Mynydd Epynt

Mid Wales.

Builth Wells

Mid Wales.

Radnor Forest

Mid Wales.

Rhayader

Mid Wales.

Elan Valley

Mid Wales.

Western Elan Plateau

Mid Wales.

Ystwyth

Mid Wales.

Mynach

Mid Wales.

Hafren Forest

Mid Wales.

South Pumlumon

Mid Wales.

West Pumlumon

Mid Wales.

North Pumlumon

Mid Wales.

Northern Berwyn

North Wales.

Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant

North Wales.

Southwest Berwyn

North Wales.

Dinas Mawddwy

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. (Craig y Llyn lies outside the national park.)

Cadair Idris

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

West Bala

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Coed-y-Brenin

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Southwest Rhinogydd

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Vale of Ffestiniog

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Beddgelert

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Fairy Glen and Upper Afon Conwy

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Lower Conwy Valley

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Afon Llugwy

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Llanberis

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Afon Ogwen

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Aber Falls

Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Llŷn Peninsula

Llŷn Peninsula AONB, North Wales.

Afon Aled

North Wales.

Vale of Clwyd

North Wales.

Waterfalls that are not included or missing

This page is intended to cover natural waterfalls, not weirs. As a result, sites like the Big Wood Weir in Plas Power Woods, the Horseshoe Falls on the River Dee, the Cup and Saucer Waterfall at Erddig, Felin Newydd Falls on the Afon Rheidol, Dolanog Falls on the Afon Efyrnwy, Pwll y Ddar on the River Neath and Y Rhaeadr Dirgel/Y Rhaeadr Gudd/The Secret Waterfall on the Afon Barlwyd are intentionally ignored.

It is also intended to cover actual waterfalls, not rapids or waves in a river. As a result, sites that are relevant only to canoeists are intentionally ignored. Sites where a house has been named as a waterfall, perhaps due to its proximity to a minor feature in a nearby stream, are also ignored. Examples include Rhaiadr Wnion near Rhydymain and Rhaeadr-du on Nant Rhaeadr near Llyn Gwyddior. Waterfalls that are merely coincidental to a nearby named feature are not covered, unless the waterfall forms a major part of the feature - this means that many named crags that have small waterfalls nearby are not covered. Examples include Graig Fawr above Clegyrnant near Llyn Gwyddior.

It is also intended to cover only places where significant amounts of water can be seen to fall, or smaller amounts manage to fall continuously for very long distances. As a result, many ice climbing routes are ignored, as are small streams that tumble down scarps for long distances without breaking into proper waterfalls (such as those in Cwm Idwal).

It is also intended to cover only surface waterfalls, or waterfalls that are on the surface for part of their descent. There are many hundreds of spectacular named underground waterfalls, ranging to at least 30 metres high for single drops (big examples include Swamp Creek in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and Awe Chasm in Ogof Draenen), and at least 75 metres for multiple drops (such as Pwll Dwfn). These are all intentionally excluded from these listings.

Waterfalls are like fractals; the more detail you look in, the more little waterfalls you will see. Virtually every single mountain stream will have some little waterfalls. The idea of this page is to collect the waterfalls that are really worthy of notice. The general approach used for determining this was:

There are, of course, limitless possibilities, and several areas with many waterfalls have not been covered due to the constraints given above. Examples would include the streams draining the northern scarps of the Brecon Beacons.

Finally, yes, I may have missed important waterfalls that fall into these categories. If you know of one, please contact me using the details on the homepage.

Glossary

The following Welsh words are commonly used when naming waterfalls - they can also follow normal Welsh mutations:

Afon (plural; afonydd)
River.
Berw
Boiling.
Ceunant (plural; ceunentydd)
Gorge.
Carreg (plural; cerrig)
Stone.
Craig, Graig (plural; creigiau)
Crag or rock.
Cwm (plural; cymoedd/cymau)
Valley.
Ddu, Du
Black.
Ffrwd (plural; ffrydiau)
Torrent or stream.
Gwyn, Wyn, Gwen, Wen
White.
Llyn (plural; llynnoedd/llynau)
Lake.
Nant (plural; nentydd)
Stream.
Pistyll (plural; pistylloedd)
Spout waterfall, horsetail waterfall or (rare) spring.
Pwll (plural; pyllau)
Pool.
Rhaeadr (plural; rhaeadrau)
Waterfall or cascade. Sometimes written as "rayadr", "rhayadr", "rhaiadr" or "rhayader", but all of these are now considered incorrect.
Sgwd (plural; sgydiau)
Waterfall or cascade. Sometimes written as "sgŵd" or incorrectly as "scwd" or "scŵd".

Some of these words change meaning in various Welsh dialects. For example, on the Llŷn Peninsula, "nant" generally means valley, "ffrwd" exclusively means stream, and "lli" or "llifeiriant" are used to mean torrent (elsewhere, those words generally mean flooding). The translations given here are the meanings typically intended in the naming of the waterfalls.