Brecon Beacons National Park
The Usk Reservoir walk is a relatively easy circular route offering plentiful reservoir and mountain views, ideally suited for families and dog walkers alike
Usk Reservoir Circular Walk
If you are looking for a fairly easy hike through one of the Brecon Beacons National Park’s more remote locations, the Usk Reservoir walk could be just what you are looking for.
The trail is well-maintained and offers fantastic views of the reservoir as well as the peaks of the Black Mountain Range. However, there is nothing too challenging, making this an ideal route for families as well as those wishing to exercise their four-legged friends.
Where is Usk Reservoir?
Usk Reservoir is located in the upper Usk Valley, at 1,006 feet (307 m) above sea level, in the northwestern section of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is approximately six miles to the north of the Black Mountain range.
Where to park for the Usk Reservoir walk?
There are two Usk Reservoir parking options available, both of which are highlighted on this map with an orange ‘P’. I used the parking area on the bank of the reservoir for this walk description.
Usk Reservoir overnight parking is strictly forbidden as the land is private, and owned by Welsh Water.
How to get to Usk Reservoir?
Leave the A40 adjacent to the Trecastle Antique Centre in the village of Trecastle. Follow this narrow country road for 3.1 miles (4.99 km). Then, turn left and in approximately 300 metres you will arrive at the car park.
- Grid Reference: SN833286
- Latitude , Longitude (decimal): 51.944076 , -3.6986361
- Usk Reservoir postcode (nearest): LD3 8YF
- Google Map
- Additional Location Details (Click on the map pointer for more information)
Usk Reservoir Walk Map
Usk Reservoir Walk Description
From the parking area take the trail that leads north across the eastern, dam end of the reservoir. At the far side, turn left and follow the small country road that runs along the shoreline.
During this section of the Usk Reservoir walk, take some time to appreciate the beautiful southwesterly views along the full length of the reservoir.
In 0.60 miles (972 metres), take the gravel track that branches off to the right, passing through the wooden gate alongside the track barrier.
Then, approximately 75 metres further along, follow the left fork when the trail splits.
As you continue along the northern section of the reservoir, there are further wide-ranging views to be enjoyed of the reservoir as well as the peaks of the Black Mountain range off to the south.
Soon after, the trail deviates away from the water and into the woods, almost completely shielding the reservoir from sight. Then, in no time at all, the path turns back towards the water, breaks clear of the woods and the fantastic views return once more.
Eventually, the trail brings you to the southwestern tip of the reservoir where you will cross the Afon Sgio (river) via a small wooden footbridge.
Usk Reservoir Circular Walk – The Return Section
As the trail swings around the southwestern extent of the reservoir, there is a short, moderately steep climb. This brings you to a fantastic vantage point on the trail, offering the best views on the entire walk.
Following this, the trail ventures away from the reservoir, descending in a northerly direction with the peaks of the Black Mountain Range now directly ahead of you.
Shortly, you will cross the River Usk via a wooden footbridge and then in 300 metres, a left turn will lead you into Glasfynydd Forest.
Now, continue along the gravel track for a further 471 metres and turn left once more.
Then, in 290 metres, turn right, before turning left again in 210 metres. Continue for approximately 420 metres, at which point you will reach what appears to be a turning circle / dead end.
Turn right, following the indistinct trail through the woods for a short distance, before crossing an open field for around 270 metres. Here, you will arrive at a small lane, where you will turn right.
Finally, in approximately 100 metres, turn left onto the country road and follow this for around 700 metres back to the parking area.
Your Usk Reservoir Walk is complete!
Usk Reservoir Walk – Our Thoughts
The one major thing that stood out for me about the Usk Reservoir trail is its remoteness. Even though I walked this route on a lovely weekend morning in August, I had the entire trail more or less to myself.
Another aspect of the Usk Reservoir walk that I particularly like is how large sections of the trail offer incredible panoramas of the reservoir and the surrounding hills. Therefore, if you manage to pick a good weather day, you will be in for quite a treat!
Usk Reservoir Walk – Q & As
How far is the Usk Reservoir walk?
5.41 miles (8.7 km)
How long does the Usk Reservoir walk take?
This should take approximately 2.5 to 3 hours to complete.
Is the Usk Reservoir walk difficult?
No. This is a relatively flat hike on a well-made trail making this a fairly easy hike.
Can you walk around Usk Reservoir?
Yes, as described in this guide.
Can you take dogs to Usk Reservoir?
Yes. This is a dog walkers’ haven.
Is Usk Reservoir open for fishing?
Usk Reservoir fishing opening hours are from 0800 to 1900 – 2100 (½ hour after sunset or 2100, whichever is earlier). To find out further information and/or check availability or secure an Usk Reservoir fishing permit, visit the Fishing Passport.
Can you swim in Usk Reservoir?
No. Swimming is not permitted.
Is Usk Reservoir camping permitted?
No. This is private land owned by Welsh Water and camping on the shores of the reservoir is not permitted.
Where are the best places to stargaze in the Brecon Beacons National Park?
There are a number of stargazing sites in the national park. Usk Reservoir is one such Dark Sky Discovery Site, an officially recognised location where anyone can come along to stargaze. Check out the full list.
Have you experienced this trail?
If you have, please share your experience with us and our readers. Should you have any questions that we have not answered here, please let us know and we will get back to you just as quickly as we can.
If you like this walk, you may also wish to take a look at two additional reservoir walks within the Brecon Beacons National Park – Talybont and Pontsticill.
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