Elan Valley: Craig Cnwch
Distance: 3 ½ miles
Duration: 2 hours
Some steep hills but suitable for most walkers; along paths and lanes.
Suitable for pets.
Unsuitable for wheelchairs or prams.
From the Elan Visitor Centre walk towards Caban Coch Dam looming above you. Just before the dam turn left through the wooden gate and over the arched bridge below the dam. Depending on the amount of water in the dam it may be rather wet here if the water is cascading down the wall. Once you gain the other side, take the steep path leading up towards the top of the dam. Here you can gaze out over the expanse of water and up the valley (Pic 1). Take the rocky path that meanders beside the reservoir for about 200 yards and then take the steps on your left leading up the bank. Follow the next track along the edge of the woods overlooking the reservoir.
Soon the path bends around to the left beside the remains of Nant y Gro Dam which was used to test the explosives used by the dam busters in the second World War. The path turns uphill alongside a plantation of conifers. This is a fairly steep section of about 300 yards, pause and hang on to the fence if you get out of puff! At the top end of the plantation the path continues up the hill through the bracken. Pause and take a moment to look behind you to the north west for views across Caban Coch Reservoir to Garreg Ddu viaduct, Nant Gwyllt church, Henfron Farm, the wind and solar powered radio relay station on Llanerchi Hill and the moorland beyond (Pic 2).
After a while you will reach an isolated group of conifers and the ruins of Ty’n y Pant farmhouse, continue past along the grassy track up the hill (Pic 3). To the south west is the hill line marking the southern edge of the Elan Estate with the twin cairns of Drygarn Fawr often visible some 6 miles away as the crow flies. On the brow of the hill concrete posts stretch out in line to the right and left of the track. These mark the Estate boundary which is nearly 40 miles all around – a walk for another day perhaps?!