With 72 miles of stunning landscape, walking in the Elan Valley offers breath-taking views and of course some magnificent dams along the way. Forming part of the Cambrian Mountains, this sparsely populated area is over 80% designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is home to some incredible wildlife.
Winter is the perfect time of year to visit the Elan Valley, when the dams are in spill and the colossal feat of Victorian engineering can be seen at its best. Your clients can join their ‘Dam Open Hour’ tours which are held throughout the year to learn about the creation of Pen y Garreg Dam and its importance. Tours are available to pre book online.
A fantastic new ‘Elan Valley Walking Trails’ pack has been launched and can be purchased from the visitor centre. The pack is £2.95, with individual leaflets at just 50p each. There are seven leaflets which include 12 trails that cover beautiful woodland, spectacular dams and incredible views.
These stunning walks vary from 0.5 to 6.2 miles (0.8 to 10 km), some trails are fully accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs meaning everyone can enjoy a fabulous walk.
The visitor centre is open 10am – 4pm daily with Waterside Café offering hot drinks, delicious cakes and snacks. Visitors can learn about the Elan Valley’s history in the exhibition and browse the gift shop which is stocked with locally produced food and drink, art, crafts and gifts. There’s also a great selection of walking equipment, maps, books and even binoculars. Elan Valley staff are also on hand to answer questions and advise on the best walking trails to suit.
Here is a quick taster of the walks on offer. For more information visit the Elan Valley walking webpage where clients can download the leaflets.
Claerwen Walking Trail (Easy)
Walk length: 0.5 miles (0.8 km)
Walk around the base of the largest and newest dam in the Elan and Claerwen Valleys.
Cnwch Woods Blue Route (Easy)
Walk length: 0.8 miles (1.3 km)
Explore Cnwch Woods and see Caban Coch Dam, which was designed to look like a waterfall when overflowing.
Elan Valley Trail to Craig Coch Dam (Easy)
Walk length: 6.2 miles (10 km) each way
Discover the mighty Craig Coch and Pen y Garreg Dams on this accessible walk. The Trail follows the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway. At its busiest time the railway had an estimated 53 kilometres (33 miles) of track.
Elan Valley Trail to Rhayader (Easy)
Walk length: 3 miles (4.8 km) from the Visitor Centre to Rhayader and back.
The trail starts at Rhayader, passes the visitor centre and continues past three of the dams before finishing at Craig Goch Dam.
Penbont Walking Trail Green Route (Easy)
Walk length: 0.5 miles (0.8 km)
Enjoy a pleasant stroll in the woods to the base of Pen y Garreg Dam. Pen y Garreg is the smallest reservoir at just over 6,000 megalitres, covering an area of 50 hectares, which is similar to 50 international sized rugby pitches.
Claerwen Walking Trail (Moderate)
Walk length: 0.6 miles (1 km)
Walk to a stunning waterfall with amazing views of the largest dam.
Cnwch Woods Orange Route (Moderate)
Walk length: 1.25 miles
A circular woodland trail with some steep sections and steps and amazing views of Caban Coch and Elan Village.
Penbont Walking Trail Purple Route (Moderate)
Walk length: 1 mile (1.6 km)
Loop to the top of Pen y Garreg Dam and around through both sides of Penbont Woods. On Dam Open Days you can walk inside a tunnel through Pen y Garreg and come out on the central tower.
Cnwch Woods Red Route (Hard)
Walk length: 1 mile (2 km)
A woodland loop that can be added on to the orange course to the top of Elan village.
Claerwen Walking Trail (Hard)
Walk length: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Walk along the impressive Claerwen Dam, take on steep climbs which are rewarded with stunning views.
Garreg Ddu Loop Walking Trail (Hard)
Walk length: 6.2 miles (10 km)
Enjoy this popular walk with paths that meander through spectacular woodlands and fields. Visit the remains of Cwm Elan House Garden Walls – where the poet Shelley stayed in 1811-1812 and walk across the impressive Garreg Ddu Dam.
Nant y Gro Walking Trail (Hard)
Walk length: 3 miles (4.8 km)
Enjoy great views of Caban Coch Dam and Reservoir. Marvel at the iconic beauty of Garreg Ddu Viaduct. Check out the history behind Nant y Gro, which was originally built for the village workers and is now famous for its role in the World War II Dambuster raid. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Caban Coch Reservoir, Garreg Ddu Dam, Nantgwyllt Church and Drygarn Fawr (the highest point in the Estate) at 641 metres above sea level.