Canyoning (aka Gorge Walking / Scrambling) routes in the Brecon Beacons
There are several Canyoning (Gorge Scrambling) routes in the Brecon Beacons the most popular are listed below (Routes 1 & 2) there are also alternative routes detailed further down the page.
River Mellte & River Sychryd (approx 3hrs)- Route 1
This is the most established and popular route in the Brecon Beacons, it includes a range of different jumps that steadily progress in height up to approx 22ft- known locally as ‘Loonies Leap’! This area has some great rock formations that allow for a variety of scrambles, crawls in confined spaces, traverses and interesting areas to explore. This route also includes a waterfall cascade scramble and a walk or crawl underneath a waterfall before jumping.
This is the most popular route in the Brecon Beacons it is fast paced with plenty of challenges and great fun, for these reasons it is our default route, if you have already completed this route and / or prefer the route below please let us know upon booking.
*2022 update- Please note that some competitor companies are advertising this route at a similar price to ourselves but are not actually offering the full route and missing out the final section where the biggest and most exciting jumps take place at “Loonies Leap”. This enables them to subsequently offer an alternative “full day” package at a much higher price to include this section. If making a comparison on this route please check that “Loonies Leap” is included to ensure you are receiving the full experience and getting value for money. All local operators will be familiar with this location.
Upper River Mellte (approx 2hrs) Route 2
This is a very scenic location which has some of the largest waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons. Some of the footage at the start of the second video (below) has been taken in this area. On the downside there is only one main jump although this can be taken repeatedly and is slightly higher than Loonies leap at approx 25ft. There tend to be less challenges than route 1 and no crawls, caves or mines in the area. There is however a great waterfall that you can walk behind and another that you can traverse when river levels are low.
Extended Route- Full Day approx 4½hrs?
The above two routes are several miles apart, it is possible to start on the Upper River Mellte (Route 2) and walk down to the last jump of Route 1 (loonies leap), however the walk connecting the two routes is not very interesting it is a fairly long and slippery walk, for these reasons we do not recommend this route. We have also found that our 3hr route is an optimal time to maintain everyones interest and excitement.
* Please note that all times are approximate, they are based on an average group size of 8-10 and will also depend upon river conditions, weather and overall ability of the group.
Alternate Routes in the Brecon Beacons
Clydach Gorge near Gilwern, Abergavenny
This route has the option of a 50ft ‘dry’ abseil off a viaduct before getting changed to take part in the wet gorge which is really suited for children. The route is not as interesting as the above routes and is prone to rubbish being dumped. If there are other groups present you can end up waiting around (something we always aim to avoid) as such this route is not recommended or used by ourselves, if you want to abseil then why not try our abseiling experience.
This route is also rarely used, we would not really describe this as Gorge Walking (or Canyoning ) more of an adventure walk with an inclusive 30ft abseil, the route follows a mountain stream and once at the peak of the mountain the abseil takes place- the area is fairly exposed without any trees or forestry although it is fairly rugged and remote. There are no deep rivers or plunge pools so there are no big jumps and challenges tend to be fairly tame (except for the abseil).
All the Videos & Photos on this page were taken from the routes we use in the Brecon Beacons- Copyright Blue Ocean Activities.
Abseiling in the River Mellte and Sychryd gorge has been banned for conservation reasons by the National Park Authority. However at the start of Route 1 there is a separate crag that can be used for abseiling and climbing this can be added to make a full day of activity – Please see our abseiling activity page for details.
As mentioned the highest possible (and safe) jumps in the area are a maximum of 22ft-25ft which is more than enough for most groups, however if you have the urge to jump much higher then you may be interested in Coasteering which takes place in West Wales (2½ hrs from Cardiff), this location that has been used several times for the Red Bull International Cliff diving championships, jumps can go up to as high as 40ft!