Mountain Guides “The Black Mountains”

Occupying the eastern quarter of the Brecon Becaons national park the Black Mountains are the only area of the park to touch three counties Monmouthshire with Abergavenny to the east, Powys with Crickhowell, Talgarth and Hay on Wye wrapping around the west and laying claim to the northern side the county of Hereford that briefly grips on to the Hatterrall ridge whilst laying claim to the Cats Back.

A true example of Cartographer art a 1830`s hand drawn map
A true example of Cartographer art a 1830`s hand drawn map

People of the Black Mountains read by Meic Richards 

 “See this layered sandstone among the short mountain grass. Place your right hand on it, palm downwards. See where the sun rises and where it stands at noon. Direct your middle finger midway between them. Spread your fingers, not widely. You now hold this place in your hand – the six rivers rise on the plateau on the back of your hand. The first river now called Mynwy or Monnow flows at the outside edge of your thumb. The second river now called Olchon flows between your thumb and the first finger to join the Mynwy at the top of your thumb. The third river now called Honddu flows between your first and second fingers and then curves to join the Mynwy away from your hand. The fourth river now called Grwyne Fawr flows between your second and third fingers and then curves the other way joining the fifth river now called Grwyne Fechan that has been flowing between your third and your little finger. The sixth river now called Rhiangoll flows at the outside edge of your little finger. Beyond your hand are the two rivers to the sea ; Mynwy carrying Olchon and Honddu flows into the circling Wye. Grwyne and Rhiangoll flow into the Usk. Wye and Usk separated by the forest of Gwent flow into the Severn Sea. The ridges of your five fingers and the plateau of the back of your hand are now called the Black Mountains. Your thumb is Crib y Gath or the Cats Back. Your first finger is Hatterall Hill. Your second finger is Ffawyddog with Bal Mawr at the knuckle. Your third finger is Gader with Gader Fawr at the knuckle. Your little finger is Allt Mawr and its nail is Crug Hywel giving its name to Crickhowell below it. On the back of your hand are Twyn y Llech and Twmpa and Rhos Dirion and Waun Fach. Mynwy and Olchon flow from Twyn y Llech. Honddu flows from Twyn y Llech and Twmpa. Grwyne Fawr flows from Rhos Dirion. Grwyne Fechan and Rhiangoll flow from Waun Fach. You hold the shapes in the names in your hand”   Raymond Williams

This collection of long lofty ridges and 28 hills are named and listed below in descending order and with a link to their own individual page.

  • Waun Fach
  • Pen Gader Fawr
  • Pen Y Manllwyn
  • Pen Allt Mawr
  • Rhos Dirion
  • Pen Trumau
  • Black Mountain
  • Twyn Tal-Y-Cefn
  • Pen Cerrig-Calch
  • Twmpa (lord herefords knob)
  • Y Das
  • Chwarel Y Fan
  • Hay Bluff
  • Mynydd Lisiau
  • Pen Gloch Y Pidwr
  • Pen Twyn Mawr
  • Pen Twyn Glas
  • Black Hill
  • Hatterral Hill
  • Mynydd Troed
  • Pen Y Fal (Sugar Loaf)
  • Blorenge
  • Mynydd Llangynidr
  • Mynydd Llangattock
  • Mynydd Llangorse
  • Ysgyryd Fawr
  • Bryn Arw
  • Ysyryd Fach

With in the Black Mountains there are two large bodies of water and 6 rivers again listed below with their own individual page

  • Llangorse Lake
  • Grwyne Fawr reservoir
  • River Monnow
  • River Olchon
  • River Honddu
  • Grwyne Fawr
  • Grwyne Fechan
  • The Rhiangoll


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