The Elan Valley trail is a glorius accessible, route forming 9 traffic free miles of National Route 81 which connects Aberystwyth and Wolverhampton via Shrewsbury and Telford. This section of the route is truly stunning as you cycle on the old railway line which helped to create the Elan Valley dams and reservoirs.
Things To Do
Elan Valley Trail - Sustrans Cycle Route 81
Following the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway for most of the way, the Elan Valley Trail offers families, novice cyclists and committed enthusiasts the opportunity to experience this beautiful part of the country at its best whilst staying healthy and helping the environment.
The trail starts from the pretty community of Cwmdeuddwr on the western side of Rhayader. Parking is available locally and Rhayader contains a number of cafes, shops, pubs, a bike shop and toilets. The linear Elan Valley Trail can be ridden in either direction but most people head west from the town towards the valley.
After leaving Cwmdeuddwr the route climbs over the impressive Rhayader Tunnel, a Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Reserve that is home to many bat species. Approximately half a mile later the route crosses a road, it's at this junction where Lon Las Cymru splits off and the Elan Valley Trail continues straight along the path.
At the next junction you can either continue along the trail up to the spectacular dams and reservoirs, or drop down to the Elan Valley Visitor Centre where you can stop off for refreshments at the cafe, delve into the history of the area and visit the tourist information centre.
The trail climbs steadily from the northern end of Garreg Ddu Reservoir, providing stunning views of the surrounding valleys and the four reservoirs that feed Birmingham's water supply, and continues up to the finish at Craig Goch Dam where toilets are available. A large part of the trail has a tarmac surface, so it is also suitable for less able users, but the northern end is not surfaced.
9 mile traffic free section of the Lon Cambria National Cycle Route 81. National Route 81 connects Aberystwyth and Wolverhampton via Shrewsbury and Telford.
Ysfa to Llanwrthwl Walk
This 3 mile walk beginning from St Mark's Church (Grid Ref: SN 991 644), follows forest and farm tracks and crosses the River Wye to reach Llanwrthwl.
St Mark’s Church, Ysfa
A Victorian Church built of stone with brick interior between 1870 and 1871. Its main claim to fame is that the first stone was laid by Revd Kilvert, the diarist, in 1871 and his diaries describe the opening which was somewhat lively due to children playing in the lime and the wind blowing it on to the gathering, smarting their eyes. There was also something of a commotion in the tent resulting in it being torn. There is a beautiful Victorian model of the Church inside. The church is said to have been built by the local gentry for worship by their servants.
Eglwys Sant Mark, Ysfa
Eglwys Fictoraidd a adeiladwyd rhwng 1870 a 1871. Mae’r eglwys wedi’i hadeiladu o gerrig gyda briciau ar y tu mewn. Mae’r eglwys yn enwog oherwydd gosodwyd y garreg gyntaf gan y Parch Kilvert, y dyddiadurwr, ym 1871. Mae ei ddyddiaduron yn disgrifio’r agoriad a oedd braidd yn fywiog oherwydd i’r plant chwarae yn y calch a chwythodd y gwynt y calch ar y dyrfa gan losgi eu llygaid. Cafwyd hefyd rhywfaint o gynnwrf yn y babell a chafwyd ei rhwygo yn ystod y digwyddiad. Mae model Fictoraidd hardd o’r Eglwys y tu mewn. Dywedir bod yr eglwys wedi cael ei hadeiladu gan y bonedd lleol fel lle addoli ar gyfer eu gweision a’u morwynion.
Nantgwyllt to St Harmon Walk
This section of the trail from Nantgwyllt Church (Grid ref SN 909639), covers 11 miles, including mountain tracks over over high ground, before descending to cross the River Wye and following the Marteg valley to St Harmon Church.
Nangwyllt Church, Elan Valley
A Victorian church built at the turn of the 19th century by Birmingham Corporation to replace the small Nantgwyllt Church which was swallowed up by the flooding of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys to supply water for Birmingham in the early 20th Century. Nearby was the “House under the Water” made famous by author Francis Brett-Young. The poet Shelley lived at both Cwm Elan and Nantgwyllt houses, both of which were drowned. The Church has an exhibition of photographs showing the construction of the dams.
Eglwys Nantgwyllt, Cwm Elan
Eglwys Fictoraidd a adeiladwyd ar dro’r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg gan Fwrdeistref Birmingham yw hon. Fe’i hadeiladwyd i gymryd lle eglwys fach Nantgwyllt a ddiflannodd pan foddwyd Dyffrynnoedd Elan a Chlaerwen er mwyn anfon dŵr i Birmingham ar ddechrau’r ugeinfed ganrif. Gerllaw roedd y ‘Tŷ dan y Dŵr’ a wnaed yn enwog gan yr awdur Francis Brett-Young. Bu’r bardd Shelley yn byw am gyfnod byr yn nhai Cwm Elan a Nantgwyllt - dau dŷ a gafodd eu boddi. Yn yr eglwys mae arddangosfa o luniau sy’n dangos y cronfeydd yn cael eu hadeiladu.
Wildlife Centre of Wales
Rhayader and surrounding areas are important habitats and home to a variety of wildlife, flora and fauna.
With so many differnet places to experience nature as it should be, we've complied a pack of local wildlife sites for you here.
Download the map of the sites to help you plan your wildlife adventures.
Following in the footsteps of Owain Glyndwr, this trail comes within a few miles of Rhayader.
This 132 mile (213km) National Trail is set in the heart of Mid Wales’ breathtaking countryside, and is dedicated to the 15th century Welsh Warrior and self proclaimed Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr. The trail starts in Knighton, on the English border where it links with the Offa’s Dyke Path. Running in a giant horse-shoe, it passes through the market towns of mid Wales on route to Machynlleth, and back again across Wales to Welshpool, close to the border with England.