Welcome to my wild camping Brecon Beacons guide! I’ll share the best spots for wild camping in the Brecon Beacons, along with valuable tips to enhance your camping experience. For newcomers to the world of wild camping, I recommend starting with my dedicated wild camping UK page. It offers a broader perspective on essential practices, equipment, and the art of embracing nature’s call.
The Brecon Beacons is a fantastic place to go wild camping! Although not as vast as nearby Snowdonia National Park, it is rural enough that finding a quiet spot is very possible. From below, the Brecon Beacons could be mistaken for gently rolling hills, but these mountains shouldn’t be underestimated. Their fast-changing climate and, in some areas, featureless terrain make a tough challenge at times.
There’s a reason why the Brecon Beacons are used a lot for military practices, even by the SAS!
In this wild camping Brecon Beacon guide, I will cover all the basics to make your South Wales campout go as smoothly as it can. One thing I would note is that if this is your first time wild camping, you may wish to head to Snowdonia instead, as there are more options, and it is generally more tolerated (read my wild camping Snowdonia guide here).
Don’t let that put you off, though. With a bit of common sense and good practice, it is definitely possible to wild camp in the Brecon Beacons!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has sadly been a rise in anti-social wild camping behaviour. Please, please read this guide carefully and always follow the ‘leave no trace’ camping rules!
Before we start….
If you are new to this blog, I’m Bex Band – a full-time UK adventurer, author and founder of the women’s adventure community Love Her Wild. I’m on a mission to make getting outdoors and going on adventures as easy as possible. You can read more about me here. I share all my advice in this Brecon Beacons Wild Camping guide to help make your overnight adventure as smooth and easy as possible.
If you have any questions, please use the comments box below. And for ongoing tips and inspiration on camping and adventure, make sure you follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I’d appreciate the like 🙂
Also, grab a copy of my best-selling adventure memoir – Three Stripes South.
Can you wild camp in the Brecon Beacons – is it legal?
No, it’s not legal to camp in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Unless you first seek the permission of landowners (about 70% of the Brecon Beacons is privately owned)
However, as long as you follow the correct etiquette for wildcamping (ie, no fires!), it is widely tolerated. You should never jump fences. Aim to be away from roads, not in view of houses or farms and should not ‘hang about’. That means pitching late, leaving early and only staying for 1 night.
I’ve done it lots of times without problems.
The only legal place you can camp in the UK is in Dartmoor (find out more information here) and in Scotland.
How to choose a wild camping spot in the Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons have the advantage of very few craggy peaks or steep drop-offs which make it easy to find potential wild camp spots.
There are areas that are very boggy, so it’s worth keeping this in mind. A flat area with lots of tarns could be a sign of boggy ground. Sometimes, these areas are also marked on your map (check the key so you understand the symbols).
To choose a wildcamping spot, I’d first work out a hiking route, deciding how far I was willing to travel to the camp spot. Looking at an OS map (details of the maps I use below under the ‘resources’ heading) I’d plot out this route, marking the area where I’d like to roughly finish for the day.
Using the contour lines, I’d be looking for flat spots in this area (the closer the contour lines are together, the steeper the terrain), ideally with a running water source nearby for drinking and cooking water.
You want to avoid being on the peak where you are most exposed to strong winds. But also not in a ditch or spot that might flood if it rains. Try to be a couple of kilometres away from the nearest road.
Before heading out I usually aim to have 2-4 potential wild camping spots, which I can check properly when I get there.
Best Brecon Beacons Wild Camping Spots
The Brecon Beacons have a number of farmers who are happy for wild campers to use their fields. Facilities vary greatly, but there are some that have none.
This is an excellent option for anyone who wants the experience of wild camping without the worry of having to find a place. Or the worry of being moved on (which is definitely something that plays on your mind the first few times you try it).
For a full list of willing farms, check out this Brecon Beacon Camping directory.
For wild camping, here are a few suggestions of areas I have considered previously. Rather than use them directly, use them as a suggestion. See how the spaces look on an OS map, and then try to work out your own hidden spots.
Sinc y Giedd
Nestled in the breathtaking beauty of the Brecon Beacons, Sinc y Giedd is a charming hamlet that provides a perfect base for exploring the natural wonders and hiking trails of the area. Surrounded by lush green landscapes and rugged terrain, it’s an ideal destination for wild campers.
Black Mountain, situated in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, is a rugged and strikingly beautiful part of this national park. The sweeping moorlands make for a perfect wild camp.
(Note we’re talking about Black Mountain and not the Black Mountains)
Cwm Llwch is a captivating glacial valley known for its pristine natural beauty. Surrounded by lush hills and sheltered by Cefn Cwm Llwch, it’s a popular starting point for hikers exploring the region’s rugged terrain and serene lakes, including Llyn Cwm Llwch, where the reflections of the surrounding peaks create a stunning mirror-like effect. Head to the field under trees on the river. This is a good camp for anyone wanting to hike Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyan and Fan y Big.
(Occasionally, a farmer might come by in the mornings to ask for a few £ if they spot someone wild camping)
Maen Llia is a remarkable standing stone, shrouded in myth and history. There are lots of great spots for wild camping in the area.
Can you wild camp at Pen Y Fan?
Pen y Fan, standing at 886 meters (2,907 feet) above sea level, is the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons National Park and the entire South Wales region. Its iconic prominence and panoramic vistas make it a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding Welsh countryside.
It is not possible to wild camp on Pen y Fan. The footfall is too high, and there are limited options.
If you want to combine hiking Pen y Fan and wild camping, head to Cem Llwch instead (more details on this option in the list above).
What’s the best tent for Wild Camping?
Among my collection of tents, one stands out as the clear choice for wild camping. It’s exceptionally lightweight, capable of enduring rain and winds, discreet while offering surprising spaciousness, and incredibly simple and swift to set up.
The MSR Hubba Hubba (photo above) really is the greatest wild camping tent!
Getting to the Brecon Beacons
Like always, but especially when involving our National Parks, I’d urge you to use public transport if possible to help protect our natural spaces.
The Brecon Beacons are very easily accessible by trains, and with a short bus, hike, or cycle ride, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the mountains. The nest train stations for accessing the Brecon Beacons are Llandeilo and Llandovery (west side of the park) and Pontypool and Abergavenny (east side of the park).
To check times and fares, use the National Rail website.
There are also coaches from major cities in the Uk who go to Abergavenny.
To look up local public transport options, use the www.traveline-cymru.info website. There are lots of buses operating in the area. Including the famous T4 Cardiff to Newton (passing through the Brecon Beacons), known as the ‘route with a view’.
Authorities are also encouraging visitors to hire a small electric eco-car if they plan to get around using a car.
Parking in the Brecon Beacons
Parking in the Brecon Beacons is very limited, especially for overnight trips. Many of the car parks in the area have a 24-hour limit, and it is not wise to leave your car unattended for long.
Many of the campsites in the area are willing to let you park for a fee. This is a good option for anyone travelling to the Brecon Beacons by car.
You might also want to check out these relevant blog posts:
- How to pack a hiking backpack like a pro
- 7 tips for staying warm when camping
- 19 Fun camping games for adults
Where’s the best place to base yourself in the Brecon Beacons?
If you want to have a base before or after your wildcamp, I’d suggest using one of the following places. These are also great places to pick up last-minute camping gear or food supplies.
- Hay-on-Wye – a historical town with nice traditional shops and cages. Suggested accommodation: The Swan at Hat (£100)
- Brecon – A bustling market town set in the heart of the Usk Valley. Suggested accommodation: Borderers Guest House (£88) or Bryndu Farm (£24)
- Abergavenny – a larger town on the East of the Brecon Beacons, accessible by train. Suggested accommodation: Llansabbath Country Farmhouse B&B (£98)
Wild camping Brecon Beacons: Resources and books
Make sure you have an OS map and compass with you to help plan and navigate your adventure in the Brecon Beacons. There are 2 maps that cover the area:
For books to inspire you and help with planning check out:
- For hiking, ideas check out Circular Routes in the Brecon Beacons
- Wild Guide to Wales and the Marches (inspiring book with adventure ideas for the region)
- Walking on the Brecon Beacons is also a good guide to have
- Britain’s Best Small Hill’s (a great all-around wild camping guide for suggestions across the UK on where to sleep wild for a night)
For reliable weather forecasts, go to:
- Brecon Beacon MetOffice Weather Forecast
- There is also a webcam at the Visitor Centre, which is pointed across the valley to Pen y Fan, making it easy to check the weather in the central Beacons in real time. www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/pages/livewebcams
If you want to get a feel for what wild camping might be like in the Brecon Beacons, then you can watch these videos. The second video shows an especially beautiful spot!
- The Brecon Beacons are often underestimated. From the ground, they can look very gentle, but the weather can turn drastically. Always check the forecast, have suitable gear and stay off the peaks if any lighting is predicted.
- Pen Y Fan is the most popular hike, so avoid that area if you don’t want crowds. For something more unusual, I’d recommend searching out the 3 aeroplane wrecks (more details here).
- If you want to try an even ‘wilder’ experience, you could leave the tent behind and opt for a bivvy bag instead. Check out this guide to bivvy bag camping for more advice.
- Always tell someone where you are planning to go and what time you plan to be back.
It’s very important that you understand and follow the leave no trace protocol. This includes not lighting any fires, removing all rubbish with you off the mountain and following toilet etiquette. For more details, check out Wild Camping UK.
- The Brecon Beacons are used regularly by the military, so don’t be alarmed if you get walked in on by a drill….I’ve heard about it happening to friends!
Other relevant posts to help you get ready:
- How to pack a hiking backpack like a pro
- 7 tips for staying warm when camping
- 19 Fun camping games for adults
I hope you’ve found this Brecon Beacons wild camping guide helpful when it comes to planning your adventure. If this is your first wild camp, don’t let nerves hold you back. It takes a few attempts to build confidence.
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Good luck with your Brecon Beacons adventure……I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments!