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Hafren Forest, near Llanidloes

Walk to the source of the River Severn or choose from several waterfall walks of different lengths

Family by stream in Hafren Forest

What's here

Accessible facilities
Dogs
Horse Riding
Parking
Parking (accessible)
Picnic
Toilets
Walking trail

Overview

Hafren Forest takes its name from Afon Hafren which is the Welsh name for the River Severn.   

The source of the River Severn is in a deep, blanket-peat bog on the slopes of Plynlimon, 800 metres outside Hafren Forest’s boundary.

You can walk to the source of the Severn and to Blaenhafren Falls from Hafren Forest or enjoy a shorter route through the woodlands to the famous Severn Break its Neck waterfall.

There is also an all ability trail which includes a boardwalk along the riverbank and views of the Cascades Falls.

There is open access in Hafren Forest for horse riders.

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

Make the most of your visit by downloading our PlacesToGo app for your Android or Apple device.

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 the walking trails are waymarked and start from the Rhyd-y-benwch car park.  

Cascades Walk

0.5 mile, 0.8 kilometre

The Cascades Walk goes down to a boardwalk along the riverbank and onto the Cascades Falls where a raised platform allows you to sit and take in the view before returning through the woodland to the car park. 

Severn Break its Neck Trail

1.5 miles, 2.5 kilometres

The Severn Break its Neck Trail follows the riverbank boardwalk and then passes through a meadow picnic area and woodlands. It then crosses a foot bridge where the River Severn thunders down a gully into the famous Severn Break its Neck waterfall.

Blaenhafren Falls Trail

3 miles, 5 kilometres

The Blaenhafren Falls Trail is a scenic route through the heart of the forest which follows the side of the River Severn all the way to Blaenhafren Falls.

Source of the Severn Trail

7 miles, 11 kilometres

The Source of the Severn Trail leads through the forest onto a stone path through boggy moorland to the Severn’s source which is marked by a wooden post at an altitude of 620 metres (2034 feet). The return leg passes a waterfall and the remains of a Bronze Age copper mine. 

Other routes in Hafren Forest

Wye Valley Walk - long distance 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. See the Wye Valley Walk.

Severn Way - long distance walk

The Severn Way is a 210 mile long distance walk to Bristol. Hafren Forest is the start (or end) point for this linear route which is the longest riverside walk in Britain. See the Long Distance Walkers Association website.

Glyndŵr’s Way - National Trail

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

Sarn Sabrina - circular walk

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. See the Sarn Sabrina website.

Sustrans cycle 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. See the Sustrans website for more information.

Accessibility information

The Cascades Walk is a half mile long trail, ideal for all ages and abilities, which was designed in partnership with local disabled associations. A shady zig-zag path leads you down to an all ability boardwalk along the riverbank to the Cascades Falls where a raised platform with picnic bench where you can take in the view.

Facilities include:

  • disabled parking for two cars
  • disabled toilets (open Easter to October)

Opening times 

The toilets are open from Easter to October.

How to get here

Hafren Forest is six miles west of Llanidloes on a minor road. 

Parking is free of charge in the Rhyd-y-benwch car park.

Download the location map.

Directions

In Llanidloes town centre, face the Market Hall from Great Oak Street and take Short Bridge Street directly opposite. Follow the narrow road to Old Hall and then on to the Rhyd-y-benwch car park.

The Rhyd-y-benwch car park can also be reached from the northern end of Llyn Clywedog on minor roads.

The OS grid reference is SN 857 869. 

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Caersws. 

The following buses serve Llanidloes:

  • Celtic Travel 83 bus (Llanidloes to Newtown)
  • Celtic Travel X75 bus (Llanidloes to Shrewsbury)
  • Celtic Travel X47 bus (Llanidloes to Llandrindod Wells)
  • Mid Wales Travel 525 bus (Llanidloes to Aberystwyth)

The National Express 409 coach goes between Llanidloes and London For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru

Find out more

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000

Email: enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk 

Related document downloads

Hafren Forest Location map PDF [1.9 MB]

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