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Garwnant Visitor Centre, near Merthyr Tydfil

This beautiful woodland and visitor centre is the southern gateway to the Brecon Beacons

Two children playing at Garwnant Visitor Centre

Please note that following a yellow weather warning for Friday 8 and Saturday 9 December, Garwnant Visitor Centre may be closed due to snow.

Overview

Garwnant is the southern gateway to the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is situated along the A470, 14 miles south of Brecon and five miles north of Merthyr Tydfil.

It is also within the Fforest Fawr Geopark, one of a number of places across the world designated for their international geological significance.

Garwnant Visitor Centre sits in the heart of this beautiful forest and is the starting point for walking trails, mountain biking routes for junior riders and a fully accessible trail for wheelchair users and buggies.

Quality Assured Visitor Attraction by Visit WalesThe visitor centre has been accredited as a Quality Assured Visitor Attraction by Visit Wales. The Visit Wales Quality Marque is awarded to attractions that have been independently assessed against the national standards of the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme.

There's also a play area, low ropes course and two puzzle trails plus a café to relax in and enjoy fresh local produce and views.

There are picnic tables around the main car park and along the walking trails – some have metal frames for holding disposable barbeques.

Thanks to a special agreement with the Kennel Club of Great Britain Natural Resources Wales welcomes visitors with dogs.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

 

Walking trails

All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from the car park.

Willow Walk

Half a mile, 1 kilometre

The trail allows easy access to explore the forest for visitors with wheelchairs, electric buggies and pushchairs.The Willow Walk is a gentle all-ability trail with a number of stream crossings. After crossing three bridges, the trail goes through a willow tunnel on its way back to the visitor centre.

Wern Walk

2 miles, 3.2 kilometres

The Wern Walk is a woodland trail past the ruins of Wern Farm, which reveals this area's agricultural past. The trail returns to the visitor centre along a forest road which offers some good views along the way.

Wern Walk map

Download more information about the Garwnant Trails

Garwnant Puzzle Trails

Half a mile, 1 kilometre

Discover more about the wildlife and trees that thrive in and around Garwnant.  You can pick up a leaflet from the visitor centre and try out either our Animal Sculpture trail or accessible Tree Trail. Get spotting!

Garwnant Puzzle Trails map

Download more information about our Puzzle Trails

Mountain biking trails

All of the mountain biking trails are waymarked and start from the car park.

See our mountain biking page for a list of all our mountain bike trails and information about grading to make sure you pick a trail that is right for you.

Please also read the relevant onsite information before setting off on your ride.

Rowan Trail

550 metres, grade green

The Rowan mountain bike trail is a green-graded (easy) trail which has been designed for junior first time mountain bikers and it can be ridden fast or slow. It starts with a warm-up in the Bike Park, and then goes up a broad single track climb. It descends down a series of berms and open turns, humps and bumps and finishes below the Bike Park.

Spruce Trail

450 metres, grade blue

The Spruce mountain bike trail is a blue-graded (moderate) short trail designed to improve riding skills. It shares the ascent with the Rowan trail and then splits off to follow a short rhythm section. An easy drop off is followed by some steep bermed corners and the fast descent flows through more turns and a fast finish, leading back on to the shared ascent. The route then descends the Rowan Trail to finish.

Mountain Bike Skills Park

The Mountain Bike Skills Park has a series of child-friendly obstacles designed especially to improve skills and build confidence.

Riders need to be able to pedal uphill and to negotiate simple turns.

All features can be ridden slowly or avoided completely and riders push their bike up the ramp and ride around each of the features in turn.

For young children, adult supervision is highly recommended.

Children's play area

The children’s outdoor play area is situated near the visitor centre and picnic area.

The main play area is suitable for children aged up to 8 years.

The low ropes course is suitable for children aged between 7 and 15 years.

All of the play equipment is of robust timber construction which blends in with the forest surroundings.

The play area is maintained to a high standard by site staff it receives an annual independent RoSPA inspection.

Fishing

There is no fishing on the Garwnant site but you can buy a permit to fish in reservoirs nearby that are managed by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water.

Permits may be bought from the ticket machines on site. The cost of a permit varies according to location, size of catch, age and concessions.

Café

The café is adjacent to the visitor centre and it is run by local company, Just Perfect Catering.

The café serves hot and cold drinks, cakes, lunches and daily specials. 

It specialises in local produce ranging from Celtic Pride beef to Welsh real dairy award-winning ice cream.

There are picturesque views from the restaurant area and there is outside seating for warmer days.

For more information, contact Just Perfect Catering on 01685 373053 or enquiries@justperfectcatering.co.uk

Accessibility information

Summary of facilities for disabled visitors

  • disabled parking 
  • wheelchair access to the visitor centre and café
  • accessible toilets (with baby changing facilities)
  • Changing Places toilet (with baby changing facility)
  • hearing loop in café, meeting room and information centre 
  • picnic tables with easy access for wheelchairs and electric buggies
  • all-ability trail

Accessible trail

The Willow Walk is a gentle all-ability trail.

It is a circular half a mile (one kilometre) trail from the car park and back to the visitor centre.

Pick up a leaflet at the visitor centre about our accessible Tree Puzzle Trail. Follow the clues and discover more about some of the trees that we grow at Garwnant.

Changing places toilet

There is a Changing Places toilet in Garwnant Visitor Centre which was donated by Mountway, a company based in the nearby town of Tredegar.

People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other serious impairments such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or an acquired brain injury, often need extra facilities to allow them to use the toilets comfortably.

Changing Places toilets are different to standard disabled toilets with extra equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist, and more space to meet their needs.

You will need a Radar key to access the Changing Places toilet. See the Changing Places website for more information.

Venue hire

Garwnant Hall, within the visitor centre building, is a unique venue for a range of events and functions.

  • The hall’s state-of-the-art design and facilities make it the ideal place to hold business meetings and away days for up to 80 people
  • The forest setting creates a special atmosphere for weddings and civil ceremonies
  • The light and spacious interior are ideal for exhibitions and workshops

Our on-site caterers will help with all of your catering needs

Find out more about venue hire at Garwnant Visitor Centre.

Opening times 

Garwnant Visitor Centre 

Garwnant Visitor Centre is open seven days a week, all year round.

The visitor centre and toilets are open from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Café

The café is open seven days a week, all year round.

The opening hours are:

  • Term time: 11am to 3pm (Monday to Friday) and 11am to 4pm (weekends)
  • Easter and summer holidays: 10.00am to 5pm (all week)

Severe weather information

In severe weather Garwnant will be closed due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.

  • The site will be closed to the public if the Met Office issues an AMBER warning for the Merthyr area for high winds
  • The site will be closed to the public and staff if the Met Office issues a RED warning for the Merthyr area for high winds

Weather warnings are issued on the Met office website

Any site closures will be posted on the Garwnant Visitor Centre Facebook page.

Please check the local weather forecast before you travel and, if you are in any doubt, please phone us or check our Facebook page.

Please take these precautions to make your visit safer and more enjoyable when the weather is wintry:

  • Follow directions on signs or given by Natural Resources Wales staff
  • Take care in the car park - we have limited resources to remove snow and ice and you should expect to be driving on slippery surfaces immediately on leaving the main A470 road
  • Wear suitable footwear and clothing
  • Expect all trail surfaces to be slippery - we do not treat any of the trails around the centre or in the forest
  • Bear with us if we have to operate a reduced service in the café or visitor centre if staff are unable to get in

How to get here

Download the location map.

Garwnant Visitor Centre is situated just off the A470, five miles north of Merthyr Tydfil. 

The OS grid reference is SO 003 132. 

The postcode for satellite navigation is CF48 2HU.

Parking charges

There is a charge for onsite parking to help towards the upkeep of the site. 

The parking charge per day is:

  • £2 for cars
  • £5 for minibuses
  • £10 for coaches

An annual season ticket is available for £20. (Please note: you need to bring coins with you for the pay and display machine, then take your ticket to the visitor centre to collect your yearly pass).

Car park entry barrier

  • From March to October: the car park entry barrier is open from 8am to 6pm except Mondays (opening  hours are 8am to 5pm)
  • Bank Holiday Monday opening hours are 8am to 6pm
  • From November to February: the car park entry barrier is open from 9am to 5pm

The exit barrier has “paddles” which allow vehicles to exit the site after the entry barrier has been locked which means you may leave the site whenever you are ready.

Directions

Garwnant Visitor Centre is located just off the main A470 between Brecon (14 miles to the north) and Merthyr Tydfil (five miles to the south). It is well sign posted with brown tourism signs from the A470.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Merthyr Tydfil.

The local bus service which passes the site is the T4 Merthyr to Brecon.

The Beacons Bus also passes the site and operates during the summer. For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru

The Taff Trail passes through Garwnant on its way from Cardiff to Brecon. This is a multi-purpose route for cyclists and walkers. The section that passes through Garwnant is more suitable for walking than cycling. 

Find out more

Contact details

Garwnant Visitor Centre

Tel: 01685 722481

Email: garwnant@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk 

Just Perfect Catering (café provider at Garwnant Visitor Centre)

Tel: 01685 373053

Email: enquiries@justperfectcatering.co.uk

 

Related document downloads

Garwnant Visitor Centre Location map PDF [689.3 KB]
Garwnant Trails Walking trails PDF [1.6 MB]
Garwnant Puzzle Trails Two puzzle trails PDF [2.1 MB]

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