Cookies on our website

The Natural Resources Wales website uses cookies. By continuing to browse or by clicking “Continue,” you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Cookie policy.

Hafren Forest, near Llanidloes

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

Family sitting on rocks near a river

What's here

Accessible facilities
Dogs welcome
Parking (accessible)
Picnic area
Walking trail


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

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

Cascades Walk

½ mile, 0.8 kilometre, accessible

Cascades WalkThe 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

miles, 2.8 kilometres, moderate

Severn Break its Neck TrailThe 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.

Blaen Hafren Falls Trail

3.5 miles, 6 kilometres, moderate

Blaenhafren Falls TrailThe 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

8 miles, 12.8 kilometres, strenuous

Nant yr EiraThe 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

WalkersWye 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

Family groupThe 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 there is 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)

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

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.


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.

Ordnance Survey map

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

The OS grid reference is SN 857 869.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Caersws. 

There are several bus services to Llanidloes:

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website. 

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000



Related document downloads

Hafren Forest leaflet PDF [13.3 MB]

Other places in Mid Wales

Is there anything wrong with this page? Give us your feedback.