Sgwd Henrhyd

Abercave / Fforest Fawr / Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK (Great Britain)

About Sgwd Henrhyd

Hiking Distance: 1.2 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2014-09-04
Date last visited: 2014-09-04

Waterfall Latitude: 51.79425
Waterfall Longitude: -3.66329

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Sgwd Henrhyd (pronounced “SGOOD HEN-hrhud”; possibly meaning “Old Ford Cascade”) was said to be the tallest single-drop waterfall in South Wales at 90ft (27m).

However, we felt that height figure wasn’t the main thing this waterfall had going for it.

Sgwd_Henrhyd__031_09042014 - Sgwd Henrhyd
Sgwd Henrhyd

For when we showed up and witnessed this impressive yet graceful falls, we noticed that it was possible to walk around the plunge pool and into a large alcove behind the waterfall.

Indeed, this was one of the few waterfalls in the UK that we’ve seen where you can go behind it.

Speaking of the backside of Sgwd Henrhyd, this waterfall apparently doubled as the Batcave in the movie The Dark Knight Rises.

I’m sure I’ll be looking forward to the next time I run across a replay of this on TV next time.

Sgwd_Henrhyd__046_09042014 - Looking out from behind Sgwd Henrhyd
Looking out from behind Sgwd Henrhyd

Plus, we noticed a couple of guys with rope abseiling the vertical cliffs surrounding the falls so we definitely got the sense that this falls had quite a bit of notoriety.

Experiencing Sgwd Henrhyd – The Steep Descent

From the unpaved car park area (which was next to some horse farm; see directions below), we passed through a gate, which put us on a path going briefly past a farm.

The trail then entered a lightly forested area where the trail descended quickly.

Although the path was pretty wide, it was deceptively strenuous because the surface of the trail had a lot of loose gravel on the packed dirt.

Sgwd_Henrhyd__008_09042014 - Approaching the steep and deceptively slippery part of the descending trail to Sgwd Henrhyd
Approaching the steep and deceptively slippery part of the descending trail to Sgwd Henrhyd

That made for surprisingly slippery footing, especially given how steep the slope was when we (especially our daughter) were descending it.

So as we were carefully making our way down, we’d eventually get to a trail junction at the bottom where going left would lead to Sgwd Henrhyd while going right would continue downstream along the Nant Llech (Slate Stream?).

That trail on the right would lead to at least three other waterfalls on the way to Abercraf (at least according to a sign we read at the trailhead).

In any case, we kept left to keep going towards the Sgwd Henrhyd.

Experiencing Sgwd Henrhyd – The Celtic Forest and Amazon Forest

Sgwd_Henrhyd__011_09042014 - Traversing the bridge over the Nant Llech on the way to Sgwd Henrhyd
Traversing the bridge over the Nant Llech on the way to Sgwd Henrhyd

Next, we crossed over a bridge traversing the Nant Llech, then we were on a fairly slippery dirt path that seemed to be on the muddy side even though we had been dealing with dry weather for the past few days.

The damp and wet grounds here could be attributed to the fact that this forest was considered to be a rainforest.

There were moss and ferns growing around the trail attesting to the high rainfall of the area.

However, it was also said that sun would rarely make it this deep into the ravine as a result of the narrowness of the gorge and the height of the trees.

Sgwd_Henrhyd__013_09042014 - Passing through a rainforest section of the trail on the way to Sgwd Henrhyd
Passing through a rainforest section of the trail on the way to Sgwd Henrhyd

So with the lack of evaporative energy from the sun, it would make sense that the trail here would be wet and muddy.

We were glad to have worn our hiking boots on this trail to ensure that we wouldn’t have too many problems with the mud and slick terrain.

Experiencing Sgwd Henrhyd – The Waterfall

After getting through the muddy stretch, we’d eventually reach Sgwd Henrhyd after about 20 minutes or so from the trailhead.

We managed to get our fill of the frontal views of the falls from the immediate lookout spots (as shown in the picture at the top of this page).

Sgwd_Henrhyd__094_09042014 - Approaching the attractive Sgwd Henrhyd with some people up ahead standing behind it for scale
Approaching the attractive Sgwd Henrhyd with some people up ahead standing behind it for scale

However, I then took it upon myself to follow the narrow trail leading to the alcove behind the falls.

Like many other waterfalls with alcoves this deep, I’d imagine that this would be a pretty old waterfall or at least a waterfall in the advanced stages of its development.

I’m sure over time, parts of the lip of the falls will collapse and cause its brink to recede slightly upstream.

Since the Sgwd Henrhyd had relatively low flow compared to what we had seen in the literature, the falls exhibited a graceful appearance.

Sgwd_Henrhyd__050_09042014 - Looking up from the backside of Sgwd Henrhyd
Looking up from the backside of Sgwd Henrhyd

We started to leave after having our fill of experiencing Sgwd Henrhyd’s lookouts just as more families and other parties started showing up.

Thus, we made our way back uphill to the car park, where we wound up spending just less than an hour away from the car.


Sgwd Henrhyd resides in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Coelbren in Powys County, Wales. It is administered by the National Trust. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Sgwd_Henrhyd__005_09042014 - Crossing the gate at the car park to go onto the walk to the Sgwd Henrhyd
Sgwd_Henrhyd__009_09042014 - Looking back up at the slippery descent that we had just taken on the way down to Sgwd Henrhyd. Given how many loose rocks and pebbles were skimming the hard packed dirt sloping surface, we really had to watch our step even though this photo doesn't do it justice
Sgwd_Henrhyd__028_09042014 - Our first look at the impressive Sgwd Henrhyd
Sgwd_Henrhyd__035_09042014 - Sign before the trail leading to the back of the Sgwd Henrhyd urging me to be careful
Sgwd_Henrhyd__048_09042014 - Looking back at the narrow trail leading towards the alcove behind the Sgwd Henrhyd
Sgwd_Henrhyd__053_09042014 - Looking out towards the plunge pool appearing peaceful as I was standing from behind Sgwd Henrhyd
Sgwd_Henrhyd__064_09042014 - Profile view of Sgwd Henrhyd as I looked up towards its brink
Sgwd_Henrhyd__076_09042014 - Looking back at Sgwd Henrhyd with someone standing near its backside for a sense of scale
Sgwd_Henrhyd__083_09042014 - When the sun briefly made an appearance, there was a faint rainbow arcing across the Sgwd Henrhyd. Note the people standing behind the waterfall in the deep alcove for a sense of scale
Sgwd_Henrhyd__099_09042014 - A closer look at an abseiler descending alongside the Sgwd Henrhyd waterfall

We visited Sgwd Henrhyd immediately after having visited the Dan yr Ogof Showcaves.

Both attractions were part of the Brecon Beacons National Park though the car park for Sgwd Henrhyd was actually administered by the National Trust.

For specific directions on getting to the Dan yr Ogof Showcaves from Cardiff Bay, see that page.

Once we left the cave, we then turned right onto the A4067 road and continued for about 1.7 miles, then we turned left at Pen-y-Cae onto a single-lane road (a sign for the falls also pointed in this direction).

Sgwd_Henrhyd__102_09042014 - The car park for Sgwd Henrhyd was next to a farm with horses when we did our hike back in early September 2014
The car park for Sgwd Henrhyd was next to a farm with horses when we did our hike back in early September 2014

Next, we’d follow this narrow road for about a mile before keeping left to continue on another single track road called Heol y Gwydde.

After another 0.6 miles, that was when we reached the unpaved but signposted car park for the Sgwd Henrhyd.

Overall, this short drive took us about 10 minutes.

It was also possible to access the car park for Sgwd Henrhyd from a couple of access roads branching off the A4221 road (Inter Valley Road).

From the town Dyffryn Cellwen, it was about 1.4 miles north on the single-lane Camnant road to the car park.

There was another access road on the right another 1.1 miles west of the Camnant Road turnoff and the A4221.

Finally, to give you some context, our base of Cardiff Bay was 192 miles (4 hours drive) south of Conwy, 57 miles (over an hour drive) west of Bath, England, and 151 miles (3 hours drive) west of London.

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Showing the waterfall, then showing what it's like to walk along the narrow ledge to get behind the falls

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Tagged with: abercrave, fforest fawr, brecon beacons, national park, powys, dan yr ogof, wales, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, batman, dark knight rises, batcave, nant llech

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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