Crickhowell to Table Mountain
Country town to Iron Age hillfort.
This energetic walk gets the pulses pounding in more ways than one. The short, sharp ascent of 380m is breathtaking, just like the views across the Usk valley and Brecon Beacons from the summit.
Need to know
Length: 4½ miles (7km)
Time: Around 3 hours
Start and finish: Resource and Information Centre (CRiC) in the middle of town OS map ref: SO 218184
OS map: Explorer OL13 (1:25 000 series)
Facilities: Visitor information, toilets, plentiful shops, inns and car parking in Crickhowell
Along the way
You’ll want to spend some time exploring this charming little country town. There’s a lot to see – a ruined Norman castle in peaceful parkland, 13-arched bridge across the river Usk dating from the 16th century, 14th-century St Edmund’s Church (note its fine interior), Market Hall and fine examples of domestic architecture that reflect medieval, Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian influences. The town is also noted for its speciality shopping in a range of independently owned stores, not to mention some excellent inns and restaurants – the Bear Hotel, for example, a former coaching inn, oozes character and maintains a long tradition of hospitality. Crickhowell is a Walkers are Welcome town and hosts a well-regarded walking festival each March.
The local Resource and Information Centre provides visitor information on attraction and activities. There’s also an art and craft gallery and internet café.
Looming over Crickhowell, it’s easy to see why this 451m peak was thus named. Sloping at a slightly tipsy angle, its flat top is an iconic Brecon Beacons feature. Etymologists will be interested to learn that Crickhowell’s name derives from this lofty spot. It’s an Anglicization of Crug Hywel, or Hywel’s Fort, a reference to the Iron Age hillfort that crowns Table Mountain. Despite the exposed, weatherbeaten location, extensive remnants of this ancient Celtic stronghold still survive in the form of ditches and ruined stone defences. The views are sensational. At your feet gazing westwards you have the lovely Usk valley rising into the central Brecon Beacons and industrial valleys of South Wales, while the brooding Black Mountains look over your shoulder.