The Llyn y Fan Fach walk is easily my favourite walk in the Brecon Beacons by far!
It’s safe to say the Brecon Beacons are home to their fair share of beautiful lakes and hikes but Llyn y Fan Fach far surpasses them all.
The views are seriously outstanding!
So if you too want to experience the Llyn y Fan Fach walk then read on to discover how to do it yourself.
What is Llyn y Fan Fach?
So you want to know the meaning of Llyn y Fan Fach?
Well, Llyn y Fan Fach translates to “little lake (near) the peak” which is not only the cutest name I’ve ever heard but one that accurately describes itself too.
The lake lies on the northern margin of the Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons, one of three outstandingly beautiful national parks in Wales.
It’s at an altitude of approximately 1,660 feet, and is approximately 25 acres in size.
The lake is overlooked by several prominent mountain peaks, which is great for us because it means we can admire the beauty of the lake from above.
(Which is the best way to admire any lake, in my opinion!)
How do I get to Llyn y Fan Fach?
Admittedly, getting to Llyn y Fan Fach will probably be the hardest part of your day.
The address for the free car park is Llanddeusant SA19 9UN.
So have your map at the ready or pop the postcode in your SatNav and you’re good to go.
You’ll pass the small community of Llanddeusant and drive up some narrow lanes.
Prepare for some inevitable reversing as passing places are few and far between!
But before long you’ll soon find yourself in the gravel carpark, ready to tackle the Llyn y Fan Fach walk.
Please note that the car park is remote with no facilities, so be sure to stock up on snacks and stop for the loo before you arrive, otherwise it’s just nature wees and hunger pangs for you!
I’d also advise getting there relatively early as the car park isn’t the biggest and can fill up very quickly.
How far is the Llyn y Fan Fach walk?
The length of the Llyn y Fan Fach walk depends on how much of the hike you want to do.
If you’re not as fussed about seeing the lake from above or you’re with someone who can’t walk long distances, the return walk up to the lake and back down to the car park isn’t too long at all.
Walk the gentle gravel road uphill, following the Afon Sawdda river, until you reach the lake.
You’ll usually see lots of people walking this way so you can’t miss the route!
Once you’re done admiring the lake, just retrace your steps back to the car park – it’s that easy.
This 4km walk should take you around an hour and a half to complete, depending on how long you spend admiring the views.
However, for most people, I’d recommend doing at least the 8km circular walk up the mountain and back around, which will take the average adult about three hours.
It’s really not too difficult a hike and the views are absolutely worth it!
Once you get to the lake and have enjoyed a quick pitstop, head up the obvious path to the top of the ridge.
Here you can see Llyn y Fan Fach in its all glory.
Continue along the ridge, keeping the lake to your left, and you’ll soon reach Picws Du, the second highest peak in this range.
Afterwards, bear left down a steep zig-zagging trail, before heading back in the direction of the lake.
Then all that’s left to do is get back to the car park – easy peasy!
However, if you want to extend this hike even further (it’s worth it, I promise), read to the end of this post to find out how to do so.
Can you walk around Llyn y Fan Fach?
Yes, you can walk around Llyn y Fan Fach!
If you don’t fancy walking up the mountain to see the lake from above, you can at least see it from all angles from ground level.
If you choose to walk around the lake, rather than just stopping by it, you’ll increase your total walk length to just under 6km.
Is it safe to swim in Llyn y Fan Fach?
Yes, you absolutely can go swimming in Llyn y Fan Fach!
And if you’re keen to try your hand at wild swimming for the first time, I couldn’t encourage it enough.
Wild swimming has many benefits including boosting your immune system and brain power, improving your circulation, and reducing soreness, body pain and inflammation.
As for wild swimming in Llyn y Fan Fach, this natural sanctuary has an 18-metre-deep pool, and is cold, but not as cold as Llyn y Fan Fawr (but more on that later!).
Be sure to take it slowly to see what you’re capable of, and have lots of warm clothes ready to dive into after your paddle.
A woolly hat won’t go amiss either!
Can you go wild camping at Llyn y Fan Fach?
So the answer to this question is yes and no.
If we’re going by the law, then the answer is a firm no.
Wild camping is banned across the whole of Wales but unsurpisingly, that doesn’t stop people from doing it.
Heck, I’ve gone wild camping in Wales before!
If you’re looking to go wild camping in the Brecon Beacons then I firmly believe Llyn y Fan Fach is one of the best places to do it because it tends to always be quiet in the evening.
This means you probably won’t see another soul once the sun goes down.
So long as you get up and go as the sunrises and you leave no trace, then you’re good to go.
If this is your first time wild camping, make sure you swot up on my wild camping essentials packing list so you’ve got everything you need for a safe and comfortable trip!
Useful tips for the Llyn y Fan Fach walk
• There are no toilets at the beginning of the trail. The nearest public toilets and a small shop are in Llangadog, which is 9.2 miles away (a 30 minute drive).
• Remember to bring plenty of water and snacks with you as you can’t buy them there.
• Always wear lots of layers – it can get very windy and cold on the ridge, even in the height of summer! As far as footwear is concerned, hiking boots will always give you the greatest support.
• Visit for sunset when the lake and mountain are quieter, and the views are better.
• For even fewer crowds, visit on a weekday or for sunrise. Early worm catches the bird!
• Always leave no trace and protect the wildlife by taking all your rubbish with you.
• Stay on the path to help prevent erosion.
Reasons to do the Llyn y Fan Fach walk
1. You’ll get some amazing photos
I think it probably goes without saying but Llyn y Fan Fach photographs seriously well.
Sometimes photos don’t do a place justice but photos will always do this place justice.
If you don’t believe me, scroll back to August 2020 on my Instagram to see for yourself!
If you get Llyn y Fan Fach against clear blue skies, the photos will practically take themselves.
Top tip: visit around sunset for that gorgeous golden hour glow.
2. It’s a relatively short walk
If you’re not up for a long hike, you can get up to Llyn y Fan Fach relatively quickly, meaning people of all ages can enjoy the lake’s beauty.
However, you’ll still feel fulfilled and like you’ve earned a hearty dinner after your walk here, especially if you walk up to the top to see the lake from above.
Plus, if you want to walk even further, it’s easy to extend your hike – but more on that soon!
3. It’s a lot quieter than the likes of Pen-y-Fan
I’m by no means suggesting Llyn y Fan Fach is a hidden gem but it certainly doesn’t draw the same crowds as Pen-y-Fan.
Pen-y-Fan and the neighbouring mountains of Corn Du, Cribyn and Fan y Big are beyond beautiful too.
However, I don’t think they even come close to Llyn y Fan Fach.
And one of the reasons why that is is that they’re swarmed with tourists all-year-round.
The car park by Llyn y Fan Fach is relatively small which means only a certain number of people can ever visit here at once.
This means, unless the car parking situation changes in the future (this is highly unlikely FYI), the lake will remain peaceful and pristine.
4. The sunsets are unreal
The first time I visited Llyn y Fan Fach I went up for sunset.
I had the entire mountain all to myself (well aside from one couple – I was third wheeling big time) and it felt like pure magic.
I’ve seen a lot of sunsets in my time (haven’t we all?) but this one is definitely up there in my top three.
Not many views leave me speechless but when I was overlooking the lake from above, I felt completely on top of the world.
I’ll never forget that feeling.
5. There’s amazing wildlife
No matter which way you look, Llyn y Fan Fach is teeming with wildlife.
Up above you may spot red kites, buzzards, kestrels, carrion crows, ravens and skylarks galore!
Similarly, many mammals, such as field voles, foxes and badgers, have made this area home.
You may even spot some fish on the water’s surface too.
Basically, what I’m saying is that if you’re into wildlife you’ll be in your element here!
6. It’s home to folklore
If you’re into your folklore, I’m sure you’re already familiar with the Lady of the Lake.
But if you’re not, let me give you a brief summary of the mysterious folklore legend connected with the lake…
In the Welsh folk tale, a local young man agrees to marry a beautiful girl who arose from the lake – but only on the condition that he would not strike her three times.
Naturally, he complied because the girl was so beautiful.
But after many years of love and devotion, the man did end up striking her three times.
As a result, the girl had to return to the lake, and as she did, she called out to the animals of the farmland.
Her and the animals waded into the cold, still waters to their demise, and that’s how the tale ends.
7. It’s beautiful in all seasons
I love being able to visit Llyn y Fan Fach all-year-round.
In the summer heat, you’ll feel like you’re in Hawaii, whereas in the winter snow, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Iceland.
Similarly, spring and autumn are beautiful in their own way, with their seasonal hues painting the area different colours.
The joy of these changes is that you can visit Llyn y Fan Fach multiple times and never get bored.
There’s always something new to see!
8. You can visit Llyn y Fan Fawr while you’re at it
Lying at the foot of Fan Brycheiniog, the highest peak of the Black Mountain range, Llyn y Fan Fawr is just as – if not more – impressive than Llyn y Fan Fach.
And the best bit is that it’s even quieter than its more popular counterpart!
To get to Llyn y Fan Fawr, you’ll need to climb the mountain above Llyn y Fan Fach and continue your hike onwards until you reach the second lake.
In total, the circular hike covering both lakes is 15km, taking the average adult around six hours to complete.
Make sure you’re fit enough for this walk and have plenty of water and snacks on you before you embark on the trail.
But believe me, it’s worth doing!
So there you have it: the ultimate guide to the Llyn y Fan Fach walk.
I’m sure you’re now more than convinced to go on this walk, as you can see how much love I have for it.
I really believe that Llyn y Fan Fach is the jewel of the Brecon Beacons, and once you embark on this walk too, I’m sure you’ll quickly understand why.