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Lake Vyrnwy & The Berwyns

This region of mountains, moorland and steep river valleys is home to about two per cent of the British population of peregrine falcons – and lots of other rare birds and animals. But not too many people.


There are two small but interesting towns: Llanfyllin with its Victorian workhouse and prestigious classical music festival and Llanfair Caereinion at the western end of the steam-powered Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway.


Apart from that it’s mostly scattered villages clinging to the hillsides or beside the cascading clear streams of the Vyrnwy, Tanat and Banwy. And mile after mile of stupendous views.


The Berwyn Mountains are certainly quite a sight. Cadair Berwyn, at 830 metres above sea level, is the tallest peak in Wales outside a National Park.


Walkers on 135-mile-long Glyndwr’s Way National Trail and horse riders on the Rainbow Trails of Dyfnant Forest can enjoy equally wild and spectacular landscapes.


But it’s not quite all as nature intended. Despite its reputation as the most beautiful lake in Wales, Lake Vyrnwy is entirely mad-made.


Back in the 1880s the world’s first large stone-built dam flooded the head of the Vyrnwy valley, submerged a village and created a body of water 11 miles round.


Lake Vyrnwy is now the heart of a 24,000-acre nature reserve teeming with wildlife. It attracts thousands of bird-watchers, walkers, anglers and cyclists every year. 


And most of them start in Llanwddyn village – reborn a couple of miles from its original location as the home of the RSPB’s visitor centre, the start of a sculpture trail and a great place to eat or buy local crafts.

Lake Vyrnwy & The Berwyns

Llanfair Caereinion

Llanfair Caereinion

The picture book little town of Llanfair Caereinion in the beautiful Banwy valley has one big claim to fame. It’s at the end of one of Britain’s favourite steam railways.


But that’s not all that makes it special. As two oak-carved sculptures in the town testify, it’s the place where Gwion Bach swallowed the magic potion that turned him into the great Celtic bard Taliesin.



Llanfair Caereinion is just off the A458 on the B4389, nine miles west of Welshpool. The nearest train station is Welshpool on the Cambrian Line between Aberystwyth and Birmingham. Buses run to Oswestry, Newtown and Welshpool. ​

Tourist Information Centre


Welshpool Tourist Information Centre, Vicarage Gardens Car Park, Church Street, Welshpool SY21 7DD


01938 552043

For more information about Llanfair Caereinion please download our pdf:

Lake Vyrnwy Towns
Lake Vyrnwy Collection
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