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Year of the Sea

 

In 2018 we’re celebrating Wales’ outstanding coastline, and inviting visitors to discover
new epic experiences all around our shores, with special events and attractions throughout the year. This is our Year of the Sea

2018 will be brimming with ways in which everyone can get involved, along the coast and inland. The year will be about celebrating our epic shores, wherever these may be — so the focus will be on lakesides and riverbanks as well as bays and beaches.

There’s something truly magical about visiting  water.  Whether you are enjoying the calming, misty environment on a warm summer’s day, or visiting a living sculpture of ice and frost in the depths of winter, there’s nothing quite like trekking up to a waterfall, or sitting by the depths of a cool lake  to enjoy a magical time you’ll never forget.

Mid Wales is home to a number of impressive and fairy-tale waterfalls, canals, impressive lakes, caves with hidden lakes, rivers, streams and reservoirs.

 You’ll be spoiled for choice but won’t be disappointed by a visit to any of our waterways.  Dip your toe in the water to find out more….

 

Lake Vyrnwy

No visit to this stunning part of Mid Wales is complete without visiting the stunning Lake Vyrnwy.

 

The Victorian reservoir of Lake Vyrnwy is a fabulous spot for lovers of art, nature and history.  This area is incredibly well suited to those who like adventure, with plenty of opportunities to get active cycling, walking, climbing or enjoying water-sports.  It’s also a fantastic spot for a more relaxed visit, with a comfortable tea room and visitor centre, craft shops, bird hides and more accessible walks for families or those with limited mobility.

 

You can hire a bike, including tandems and bikes with special trailers for children, on which you can enjoy a scenic 12 mile ride around the lake.  Cycles can be hired from the Old Barn Café or Artisans, both located at the lake, or bring your own along.  A beautifully scenic, flat ride around the lake will usually take 1-2 hours.

 

 

After working up an appetite you can re-charge your batteries and re-fill your stomachs when you drop off your bikes and enjoy a well-earned rest in one of the RSPB bird hides.  

 

 

Llangorse Lake

 

East of Brecon, between the Central Beacons and the Black Mountains, is the largest natural lake in Wales, Llangorse Lake.

The lake is famous for its  fishing and watersports, and if you’ve kept up to date with our #mythsandlegends its very own Loch Ness Monster  ‘Gorsey’ Llangorse Lake is also one of the most mentioned sites in Welsh folklore...not only that, but at  llangorse you will find the  only example of a crannog in Wales. 

It is a site of international conservation importance The lake is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has long been regarded as a place where fish and birds are found in unusually high numbers.

Link to Llangorse 

 

Elan Valley 

Need a breath of fresh air? Missing the wind in your hair? Maybe your legs need a good stretch and your heart needs a work out?

The Elan Valley has an excellent cycle trail following the old Birmingham Cooperation Railway. This railway was created to facilitate the building of the spectacular dams but now provides an ideal route to appreciate the beauty of the area, as well as the wildlife. Starting from just outside Rhayader in Cwmdauddwr, the trail is approximately 9 miles long and traffic free.

Mid Wales is also the ideal place to explore on horseback via a great selection of public bridleways. Take in the splendour of the Elan Valley and the Claerwen Dam with a 17 mile circular ride / walk

 

Llandrindod Lake

Visit the Lake in Llandrindod Wells and later walk in the footsteps of Victorians to Lovers Leap, 

 

In the late 19th Century Llandrindod Wells was a prime Victorian tourist destination with thousands of visitors arriving each year to take advantage of the famous spa waters. Following the First World War the tourist boom began to decline although many tourists still flock to Llandrindod Wells today.

The Rock Park in Llandrindod Wells was a haven for Victorian visitors wishing to ‘take the waters’ and revive their spirits. The Pump House and Treatment Rooms still stand today, although now repurposed into a holistic therapy centre and conference facility.

An easy walk from the car park next to the Pump House, the route has been enhanced by a local group working to restore elements of the park and includes part of the Llandrindod Wells sculpture trail. 

The area forms one of the oldest public parks in Wales and the walk follows the River Ithon to ‘Lovers Leap’ a large piece of rock which juts dramatically out over the river.

 

Surrounded by 12 acres of woodland, including a Victorian arboretum, the paths around Rock Park are easily accessed and provide an interesting walk. However it is worth noting that the walk down to Lovers Leap is less accessible and requires sturdy footwear.

 

Pistyll Rhaeadr

Pistyll Rhaeadr is a beautiful and magical waterfall in the Berwyn Mountains.  With Lake Vyrnwy nearby, and close to the village of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, this waterfall is a very special place to visit.  You’ll be greeted with a woodland walk where you’ll discover the steep tumbling cliffs of this magnificent waterfall.  Its name, meaning ‘Spring of the waterfall’ gives you an idea of what to expect, as the waterfall’s dramatic drop takes in a 240ft cliff-face to the Afon Rhaeadr below.

Discovering this beautiful place for yourself is a thrilling experience, especially after rain when the sound of the waterfall is a steady thundering noise that fills the gorge. You may well hear it before you see it!  

19th century travelogue writer, George Borrow, visited here and describes it in his book ‘Wild Wales’.  He explained how he had “…never seen a water falling so gracefully, so much like thin, beautiful threads as here…”

This special place has also become well-known as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of North Wales’ and has inspired an 18th century poem by an anonymous poet.

Pistyll Rhaeadr has also inspired legends.  Local folklore talks of the giant, Cawr Berwyn, who is associated with the valleys of Cwm Blowty and Cwm Pennant.  A story tells how three large boulders at the foot of the waterfall were said to have been thrown there by the giant, his wife and his maid as they were crossing the waterfall on the route to Pennant Melangell nearby.

These boulders, known as Baich y Cawr (Giant’s Burden), Baich y Gawres (Giantess’ Burden) and Ffedogaid y Forwyn (Maid’s Apronful) stir up their own mythical stories in our imaginations.  Perhaps you’ll be able to pick them out if you visit the waterfall!

This enchanting spot lured many visitors to the falls in the 18th and 19th centuries due to its picturesque and magical scenes.  The spray from the waterfall hangs in the air and creates a unique eco-system with rare and unusual plants.  

At an impressive 240ft (80m) the waterfall has boasted being one of the UK’s tallest, single drop waterfalls and is the perfect starting point to plenty of walks and adventures in the Berwyn Mountains and the nearby Lake Vyrnwy.

For more details on how to get there and walks to take once you arrive, please visit: http://www.pistyllrhaeadr.co.uk/where.html

 

Dan yr Ogof

Dan yr Ogof is located at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales, a 17mile  long cave system in south Wales,about 5 miles (8 km) north of Ystradgynlais and 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Brecon, in the Brecon Beacons National Park. 

It is the main feature of a show cave complex, which is claimed to be the largest in the UK and is one of the major tourist attractions in Wales. The first section of the cave system is open to the public, but the extensive cave system beyond is scheduled as a national nature reserve and is open only to bona fide cavers.

Included in the 17 mile long cave system is the impressive Cathedral Cave, where the more adventurous bride and groom can make their vows in a part of the cave called the Dome of St Pauls, under a ceiling of magical stalactites and stalagmites.

Visit www.showcaves.co.uk for more information 

  

 

Talybont Reservoir  and Blaen y Glyn Waterfalls

Blaen y Glyn forms part of an old reservoir village, of which the remains can still be seen. 

Popular with photographers, this is a great location for finding waterfalls and panoramic views. Waterfalls mark the stunning route up Craig y Fan Ddu, which provides outstanding views of the Sugar Loaf, Skirrid, Corn Du and of course Pen y Fan. 

On the other side of the valley, visitors can also find the twisted remains of a Wellington Bomber which crashed here in July 1904.

Talybont on Usk lies between the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains close to Brecon (7 miles), Crickhowell (9 miles), Abergavenny (15 miles) and Hay on Wye (19 miles). Take the A40 and follow signs for Talybont on Usk. The Talybont reservoir is signposted from the village and through the village of Aber before arriving at the Forestry Commission Blaen y Glyn car park.

The best route for families or those opting for shorter walks, is to leave from the lower car park and enjoy the lovely smaller waterfalls on the left hand side of the path. As the path drops down to the right, pass through a gate and stile, and continue until you come to the larger of the waterfalls, and a great photo opportunity. From here go over the wooden bridge and follow back down on the other side of the river, taking in some more smaller waterfalls, until eventually reaching another bridge with a stile. This hour long route will bring you back out onto the road where you parked the car. Longer walks are also possible. For more walks visit www.forestry.gov.uk or www.breconbeaconsparksociety.org

Outstanding frozen waterfalls can be found at exceptionally cold times of the year, but anyone keen to see such sights should only do so if properly attired for bad weather. Visitors to the Brecon Beacons National Park should always be aware of the weather forecast. Mobile phone signal can also be unreliable. Sturdy footwear is recommended, especially as the ground can get quite boggy.

 

Clywedog

 

The reservoir was opened in 1967 and till this day has been in continuous usage, generally filling with water over the winter months and gradually releasing it during the summer months. The reservoir is currently owned and operated by Severn Trent Water Limited with oversight and regulation by Natural Resources Wales. Clywedog Sailing Club operates on the lake, and Powys County Councils Staylittle Outdoor Centre delivers a range of adventure education both on the water and in the surrounding area.

"Clywedog is a mecca for wildlife. Red Kites are a common sight, and there are occasional sightings of Ospreys. Mallard are attracted to the lake, while Tawney Owls, Pied Flycatchers and a whole host of Tits have established themselves in the woods bordering the shore. In season, a great many butterflies can be seen (hedge brown, meadow brown, small copper, small tortoiseshell, common blue) flitting amongst grass that is studded with wild thyme, yellow tormentil, harebells, violets and clumps of heather. Squirrels are a common sight, and there are polecats, foxes, and the much put upon short tailed vole, which has the unhappy distinction of being the primary source of food for the birds of prey and other carnivors that inhabit the lake shore.” - www.llanidloes.com

 

Montgomery Canal

The best place in the world for floating water plantain! 

no surprises to find out that large stretches of this canal are classified as a SSI 

In a real life twist of wind in the willows, a visit to the canal often provided views of otters, watervolves, dragon and damselflys 

 

for more information about the Montgomery Canal visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-network/montgomery-canal

 

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

There are 35 miles of navigable meandering waters to explore in the heart of the Brecon Beacons.

The rural and peaceful canal is a must for nature lovers, there is an abundance of wildlife, flora and fauna.

 

The canal is not currently accessible from any other waterway so can be explored on hire boats that are available on the canal 

 

for more information about the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal visit 

 https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-network/monmouthshire-and-brecon-canal

 

Water Break Its Neck

 

How do you fancy exploring the deep, dense Radnor Forest?  Just be careful not to wake the dragon won’t you?

In a beautiful and expansive forest looked after by Natural Resources Wales, you’ll find the beautiful Water-break-its-neck waterfall.

There is a short circular walk which leads you to the waterfall.  Traipse across an old stone arched footbridge and explore the deep waterfall gorge to find this spectacular waterfall.

According to local legend Radnor Forest is home to the last dragon in Wales who sleeps undisturbed in the forest.  A ring of churches built around the forest, each dedicated to St Michael, the angel who defeated the dragon, are said to contain the sleeping dragon.  Churches located at Llanfihangel Rhydithon (Dolau), Llanfihangel Nant Melan, Llanfihangel Cefnllys and Llanfihangel Cascob form the ring.  Local folklore suggests that should any of the four churches be destroyed the dragon would be woken!

The micro-climate here is home to interesting ferns and mosses in the gorge.

Keep your eyes open for signs of wildlife and you’ll be sure to see plenty of interesting creatures and their woodland homes.

There are plenty of opportunities to take part in an impromptu wildlife safari and quick game of wildlife detectives with the children, with places to explore and new animals and mini-beasts to discover. You might even find the Radnor Forest dragon if you look and listen hard enough!

Located on the A44 between Rhayader and Kington.

Please visit: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/recreation.nsf/LUWebDocsByKey/WalesPowysNoForestRadnorForest for more details on Radnor Forest.

 

Elan Valley

 

Need a breath of fresh air? Missing the wind in your hair? Maybe your legs need a good stretch and your heart needs a work out?

The Elan Valley has an excellent cycle trail following the old Birmingham Cooperation Railway. This railway was created to facilitate the building of the spectacular dams but now provides an ideal route to appreciate the beauty of the area, as well as the wildlife. Starting from just outside Rhayader in Cwmdauddwr, the trail is approximately 9 miles long and traffic free.

Mid Wales is also the ideal place to explore on horseback via a great selection of public bridleways. Take in the splendour of the Elan Valley and the Claerwen Dam with a 17 mile circular ride / walk

 

The Groe

Follow the River Wye along The Groe

For a gentle riverside stroll, head to The Groe in Builth Wells. This walks is accessible to everyone - pushchairs, wheelchairs, cyclists and dog walkers!

Developed as parkland as the town entered popularity as a Spa town, the tree lined avenue along the river bank provides a pretty and easy walk.

The Wye Valley Walk joins The Groe and takes visitors to where the water swells, as the River Irfon meets the River Wye.

 A small metal bridge over the River Irfon marks a turning point to begin the return walk (and a little stony beach perfect for skimming stones) either back along the riverside, or on the far side of the parkland past the indoor swimming pool and play park.

Plenty of pay and display parking is available from the main car park in the middle of town.

For further details on the Wye Valley Walk visit www.wyevalleywalk.org