Neal BatchelorI recently retired from the Telecoms industry and am passionate about the great outdoors of Wales so much so that I recently decided to move to West Wales to live after enjoying regular weekends and holidays here over many years and not really wanting to go home
This wonderful day’s walk with its spectacular scenery is centered on three of the Elan Valley reservoirs About The dams are Caban-Coch, Garreg-ddu and Penygarreg which were an epic feat of Victorian
This wonderful day’s walk with its spectacular scenery is centered on three of the Elan Valley reservoirs
The dams are Caban-Coch, Garreg-ddu and Penygarreg which were an epic feat of Victorian engineering using some 50,000 men between 1894-1904. Caban Coch reservoir alone holds back some 35000 megalitres of water to supply Birmingham with clean drinking.
We set off from the visitors centre and soon reach the huge dam wall of Caban-Coch. We maybe lucky enough to witness the dam wall resembling a natural waterfall as water cascades over 100 feet below whenever the reservoir is full. We climb up a zig-zag path to gain a full, up-close view of the massive dam wall to reach a tarmac track that runs along its southern shore.
This eventually reaches Garreg Ddu reservoir and there are lovely views from here of Nantgwyllt church and the Foel tower from where the water begins its long journey by gravity to Birmingham. We then pick up a quieter track along the eastern shore of Garreg-Ddu reservoir flanked by the impressive rocky crags of Mynydd Dolfolau.
After almost 2 miles we reach a bridleway which ascends through beautiful pinewoods to reach Penygarreg dam with its distinctive central tower. A short stretch on the road takes us to the Penbont House where we can stop for tea and cake in the newly refurbished tearooms as there will be no lunch stop on this walk.
After our stop, we pick up another bridleway which skirts the western shore of Garreg ddu reservoir to eventually reach Glannau plantation. Here we must pick up a path that traverses the mossy ravine of Nant Methan before re-entering a conifer woodland called Llanerchi at the southern end of the reservoir.
On reaching the dam bridge we can retrace our steps along the shore of Caban-Coch to return us back to the visitor centre.
There is an optional detour at the pumping station to see the remains of the Nant-y-gro dam which was blown up during tests for the Dambusters raid in WWII.
Height Gain : 445m Distance : 13km Time : 5.5hrs
What to bring
* Walking boots please
* Warm layers and waterproofs essential
* Packed lunch
Elan Valley Visitor Centre, Elan Valley, Rhayader LD6 5HP
We recommend ‘What3Words’ to locate the start point expired.improvise.exams