Hafren Forest, near Llanidloes

Waterfall walks for all to enjoy

What's here

Coronavirus update

 

Our sites and most visitor facilities are open.

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

Welcome

Hafren Forest was planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1930s and named after Afon Hafren (the Welsh name for the River Severn).  

The River Severn begins quietly in a squelchy peat bog on the slopes of Plynlimon, Mid Wales’ highest mountain. 

In no time at all it becomes a torrent with falls and cascades plunging headlong through the forest.

The source of the Severn lies just outside the forest’s boundary but you can walk to it on our waymarked walk.

There are also shorter walks through the woodland to the famous Severn Break its Neck waterfall and Blaenhafren Falls and a boardwalk takes you along the riverbank to the Cascade Falls.

Hafren Forest is the start (or end) point for two long distance, linear walks - the Wye Valley Walk and the Severn Way. 

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails in the main car park (Rhyd-y-benwch).

Find out about walking trail grades.

Cascades Walk

  • Grade: Accessible
  • Distance: ½ mile/0.8 kilometre
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Trail information: The trail follows a sloping path from the car park to the boardwalk. It returns on a well surfaced wide path through the forest.

The Cascades Walk goes down to a boardwalk along the riverbank and onto the tumbling cascades.

Here there is a raised platform to enjoy the view before returning through the forest to the car park. 

Cascades Walk

Severn-Break-its-Neck Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1½ miles/2.8 kilometres
  • Time: 1 hour  

The Severn-Break-its-Neck Trail sets off along the river and then goes through a meadow with a boardwalk section.

It crosses a foot bridge where the River Severn thunders down a gully into the famous Severn-Break-its-Neck waterfall.

It returns to the car park on a forest road with views across the forest.

Severn Break its Neck Trail

Blaen Hafren Falls Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3½ miles/6 kilometres
  • Time: 1½ hours  

This scenic route goes through the heart of the forest alongside the River Severn to Blaen Hafren Falls.

Blaenhafren Falls Trail

Source of the Severn Trail

  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Distance: 8 miles/12.8 kilometres
  • Time: 4½ hours
  • Trail information: The trail sets out on a well-surfaced path with compact gravel and loose stones. The there-and-back section to the source of the Severn is on stone slabs and a path of loose stone; there may be sheep on this section. The return route is via forest road and a narrow loose shale riverside path. Some steep ascents and descents and several benches along the route.

The Source of the Severn Trail leads alongside the river and through the forest to Blaen Hafren Falls.

It then climbs steeply to the forest boundary and onto a stone path through boggy moorland to the Severn’s source - this is marked by a post.

The trail passes by a standing stone and the remains of a mine and a farmstead - look out for the information panels along the route.

Nant yr Eira

Wye Valley Walk

The Wye Valley Walk is a 136 mile long distance walk along the River Wye to Chepstow. 

Hafren Forest is the start (or end) point for this linear walk.

For more information see the Wye Valley Walk website.

Severn Way

The Severn Way is a 210 mile long distance walk to Bristol.

Hafren Forest is the start (or end) point for this linear route.

For more information see the Long Distance Walkers Association website.

Glyndŵr’s Way

Small sections of Glyndŵr’s Way, a National Trail, pass through the eastern edge of Hafren Forest.

For more information see the Glyndŵr’s Way website.

Sarn Sabrina

Sarn Sabrina is a 25 mile circular waymarked walk, part of which passes through Hafren Forest.

The route is named after the Celtic myth of Sabrina, a water nymph said to inhabit the waters of the River Severn.

For more information, see the Sarn Sabrina website.

Sustrans route 

The Sustrans cycle route 8 is a signposted route between Cardiff and Holyhead.

It passes through Hafren Forest along the road maintained by Powys County Council.

For more information see the Sustrans website.

Ospreys in Hafren Forest

Ospreys spend the summer by Llyn Clywedog in Hafren Forest and return to Africa in late August.

You can watch the live feed from one of the osprey nests during the breeding season (normally March to August).

Accessibility information

Facilities include:

  • parking for blue badge holders
  • accessible toilets 
  • Cascades Walk accessible trail

Family group

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • 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 on site and any temporary diversion signs.

How to get here

Location

Hafren Forest is 6 miles west of Llanidloes. 

It is in the county of Powys.

Ordnance Survey map

Hafren Forest is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 214.

The OS grid reference is SN 857 869.

Directions

Follow Short Bridge Street out of Llanidloes town centre.

Cross the river and turn left. 

Follow this narrow road for 5½ miles, passing through Old Hall, and the Rhyd-y-benwch car park is on your left. 

The car park can also be reached via minor roads from the northern end of Llyn Clywedog.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Caersws. 

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website. 

Parking

The main car park is Rhyd-y-benwch.

Car parking is free of charge here.

Contact details

0300 065 3000

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Related document downloads

Hafren Forest leaflet PDF [13.3 MB]

Other places in Mid Wales