Visiting Waterfall Country
Waterfall Country is experiencing high visitor numbers at present. Before you visit please be aware that:
- Car parks are full before midday, if not earlier.
- Illegal parking will result in a fine and parking that causes an obstruction may result in your vehicle being towed. Only park in designated car parks and not on verges or pavements.
- Please check the car parking page at https://carpark.beacons-npa.gov.uk before deciding to visit.
- Car parks can go from half full to full in under an hour.
- Please note that all of the waterfalls are not close to the car parks.
- Car parks are cash only so please ensure you have change with you to pay for your parking - £4 for a car and £7
for a mini-bus.
- Make sure to follow one-way advisory signage where requested.
- Car parks get very busy, and are often full by midday.
- Keep an eye on our social media for any important announcements on the day you are visiting.
Nestled into the southern slopes of the Fforest Fawr massif, west of Merthyr Tydfil, Waterfall Country is one of the most beautiful and popular parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Fforest Fawr Geopark, with steep, tree-lined gorges and an abundance of tumbling water.
Known in Welsh as Bro'r Sgydau, Waterfall Country lies within the triangle formed by the villages of Hirwaun, Ystradfellte, and Pontneddfechan. Here, layers of sandstone, shale and limestone have created a highly distinctive environment of wooded gorges, caves and waterfalls.
The rivers Afon Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin and Nedd-Fechan, tributaries of the River Neath, rise amongst the peaks of Fforest Fawr, the Old Red Sandstone mountains further north, and wind their way south through Waterfall Country via steep-sided, tree-lined gorges.
The area contains two Sites of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation with fine specimens of sessile oak and ash trees and over 200 species of mosses, liverworts, and ferns. It is also of historical significance, as it contains the legacy of man’s attempts to make a living from this landscape. It receives around 300,000 visitors a year, including walkers, outdoor groups, photographers, climbers, cavers and canoeists.
The most famous waterfall is Sgwd-y-Eira - meaning 'fall of snow' - on the River Hepste, where a natural path leads right behind the curtain of water.
***Please be aware the roads in this area can be very narrow, becoming single track with little visibility and few passing places. Be prepared to give way and reverse on narrow lanes***
Patrol teams from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales, the National Trust, Neath Port Talbot Council and partners will regularly update the status of each car park.
Please check the status of each car park here - https://carpark.beacons-npa.gov.uk . If it's red, please head elsewhere.
Gwaun Hepste car park
From the South: From the A465 (Heads of the Valleys Road), follow the A4059 north through Penderyn. Once in open country, take the minor road on the left signposted ‘Ystradfellte’. Keep left at two junctions, following signs for Gwaun Hepste car park.
From the North: from the A470 at Beacons Reservoir, take the A4059 right and after 6.5 miles take the minor road on the right signposted ‘Ystradfellte’. Keep left at two junctions, following signs for Gwaun Hepste car park.
There are other smaller car parks scattered around Waterfall Country but they fill up very quickly at peak times.
Looking after yourself and the countryside
Waterfall Country is a fragile landscape that can be easily damaged by the large numbers of people that visit. Follow these guidelines and with your help we can keep this place unspoilt for future generations.
• Follow the Countryside Code - Protect, Respect, Enjoy
We care about you too, so please:
🥾 Remember to wear sturdy footwear; the walking trails can be steep and slippery underfoot. Be aware of unguarded steep drops, especially when taking photos.
🚫Don’t be tempted to swim in the water – it can be cold and fast flowing. Even the strongest swimmers have been known to get into trouble.
📵Mobile phone coverage is unreliable in Waterfall Country. Emergency phones and phone boxes are indicated on the map. For walking, rock climbing or caving accidents call Police on 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue.