To the Top of the Table

8 kilometres (5 miles) involving 380 metres of ascent (1250 feet)

Compiled by: Roger White

Weather can change very rapidly in this area of the National Park. Protective clothing should be taken and walking boots are a necessity. The map above is intended for information only and you can zoom and move around the map. It is highly recommended that you take a compass and OS map OL13 with you on the walk.

Begin from the main public car park in Crickhowell (off the A40 behind the fire station) [Grid Reference: SO 2189-1836]

Before leaving the car park, look above Crickhowell to the flat topped hill, which is ‘Table Mountain’, your destination.

Exit through the car park entrance, then proceed left to the top of ‘Greenhill Way’ and right up ‘Standard Street’. Take the next left up ‘Great Oak Road’ with Table Mountain ahead.

Views begin to open up now over the rooftops and Church spire of Crickhowell and to the Usk valley beyond.

Continue upwards after the junction with ‘Llanbedr Road’ for another 250 metres.

Ignore the track doubling back above Crickhowell and turn left through a gate and up a farm track to ‘The Wern’ farm. [2232-1962] Climb the stile into the farmyard and, in front of farmhouse, turn right through a gate and along the top side of a field to another gate.

Go through this gate and turn left up a sunken green lane to another stile. Continue up the right-hand side of three fields of pasture, crossing a farm track after the second field, with stiles at all the boundaries. After the stile in the top field, bear right up a track through some trees, with an old farmhouse on your right, to arrive at a stile [2248-2033] on to the open moor-land.

Continue gently upwards on path which circles to the right, to the east, of Table Mountain (this is easier than the direct route which is very steep towards the top). About 400 metres after the last stile, take a left hand fork, which continues to circle round to the col on the far, north, side of Table Mountain.

Shortly before the col, bear left through an opening in the rocks to the summit plateau [2252-2073].

Rocky ramparts around the summit plateau of Table Mountain are remnants of an Iron Age hill-fort, which today provides a fine picnic spot, with sweeping views of the Black Mountains and, on a clear day, the Brecon Beacons.

Descend to the col and take the path which leads further away from Crickhowell before sweeping down, left, by a stone wall [2249-2089].

You are now following the trail of ‘The Beacons Way’, which was sponsored by the Brecon Beacons Park Society and was opened in 2005 as the first official trail to span the entire length of the National Park

The path weaves across moor-land and its streams. About 100 metres after passing some disused shooting butts on left hand side, bear left alongside a stone wall to locate some sheepfolds [2181-2089] at the bottom of the valley.

Follow the way-marked path through the sheepfolds on to track between two stone walls. Care is needed after wet weather as a short length of the path also serves as a stream, but there are rocks to step on. Follow the path ahead down open pasture towards some woodland. Cross the stream on the left at the bottom of the pasture to go through a gate and continue on a path down the wooded valley of Cwm Cumbeth, with the stream on your right-hand side, until reaching a lane at the bottom.

Turn left for a few steps up this lane and then right through a gap by a gate, cross the residential road, bearing slightly right, and continue down the path between houses, crossing a second road, and, to the end of the path at a third road. Turn right here and follow the road past a Primary School on your left, to a short path which leads to the A40 [2154-1894]. (The pavement of the A40 provides a shorter but less-attractive route from here back to Crickhowell car park).

Take the zebra-crossing over the A40, and continue down ‘Everest Drive’, curving left, but ignoring turnings on both sides, to a footpath over ‘Cumbeth Brook’. Continue along paths through the grounds of Crickhowell High School, keeping the School on your right with the Church spire ahead.

Cross ‘New Road’ and go up the lane by St. Edmund’s Church.

This Norman Church with many features is open every day.

Turn right down ‘Crickhowell High Street’, with its shops, and bear left past the Police Station to join ‘Castle Road’. Take the path into the Castle grounds on your left.

Crickhowell Castle was built by the Normans in the early 13th century and was stormed and largely destroyed by Owain Glyndwr in the early 15th century.

Cross the A 40 and take the path between the Post Office and the Fire Station back to the Crickhowell car park.