Arts, Culture and Heritage

Nantgwyllt to St Harmon Walk

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Nantgwyllt Church Elan Valley

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.


Geolocation
Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 2
Length of Route: 11 miles
Walking Difficulty: Moderate
Start Location: Nantgwyllt 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.

Distance from town centre: 4

36 mile Gwastedyn Church Trail

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Gwastedyn Church Trail

This circular 36 mile trail over an established pilgrimage route begins and ends in Rhayader and Cwmdeuddwr.  Linking seven historic churches, the route uses mountain paths, lanes and old railway lines to guide you into the heart of our magnificent mountain, river and lake country.  To follow the Trail takes you into a world of history and literature derived from the world of the Celtic Saints, the Romans and Romano British, the Normans, the Welsh princes, the medieval monks through to the romantic poets and the Victorians.

Mae’r llwybr hwn, sy’n dilyn llwybr pererindod sefydledig, yn 36 milltir o hyd ac yn dechrau a diweddu yn Rhaeadr a Chwmdeuddwr.  Mae’r llwybr sy’n cysylltu saith o eglwysi hanesyddol, yn eich tywys drwy ardal odidog mynyddoedd yr Elenydd gyda’i hafonydd a’i llynnoedd, dros lwybrau mynyddig ac ar hyd ffyrdd a hen reilffyrdd gwledig. Mae dilyn y Llwybr yn eich cyflwyno i fyd hanes a llenyddiaeth o gyfnod y Seintiau Celtaidd, y Rhufeiniaid, y Brythoniaid Rhufeinig, y Normaniaid, y Tywysogion Cymreig, mynachod y canol oesoedd, hyd at y beirdd rhamantaidd ac oes Fictoria.


Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail
Length of Route: 36 miles
Walking Difficulty: Strenuous
Start Location: St Clement's Church

This trail is divided into more manageable six sections - see our Walking and Cycling page.

The Gwastedyn Trail is funded by the Community Welcome Scheme, which is managed by Powys County Council Tourism Section and is one of sixteen Rural Development Plan projects, which aims to assist local communities with small scale community based tourism projects.
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Elan Valley Visitor Centre

family-friendly
parking-at-start-point
parking-on-site
pets-welcome
rainy-day-activity
suitable-for-cycling
suitable-for-moutain-biking
suitable-for-walking
wheelchair-accessible
Elan Valley Visitor Centre
Elan Valley Visitors Centre, Elan Valley, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5HP

The Elan Valley Visitor Centre is operated by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and is set in a fantastic location against a spectacular backdrop of a Victorian stone dam.

It is the perfect starting point for your visit to the area. There's something for everyone; Information Desk; Shop; Cafe; Easy disabled access; Toilets; Large car park and coach parking area; Children's play area; Large picnic area; Easy parking; Education and interactive learning play an important role in the design of our centre and a Free exhibition. 

Entrance to the Visitor Centre is free, and the £2 parking charge covers you for the whole of the Estate's car parks, all day.

Season tickets for car parking are also available, please ask at the Information Desk. They cost £15 and last for 12 months.


Geolocation
Opening Times: 10.00am - 4.00pm (except Christmas day)
Entry Cost: £2 Parking fee
Contact: Elan Rangers
Tel: 01597 810880

A visit to Elan Valley never fails to delight and inspire. We are custodians of a beautiful area stretching 72 square miles with historic landscapes and thriving wildlife. The dams and reservoirs, the working legacy of remarkable Victorian engineering, add to the captivating and ever changing scenery. You can stroll, picnic or hike; cycle or mountain bike; bird watch, fish or safari!

We operate as 'not-for-profit' so the team who work here can concentrate on safeguarding this special place and ensuring you make the most of your visit. As we say in these parts, Croeso! We look forward to welcoming you to Elan Valley.

Distance from town centre: 3

Elan Valley Visitor Centre WalksElan Valley Bike HireElan Valley Visitor Centre CafeElan Valley Dams

St Clements to Nantgwyllt Walk

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St Clements Church Rhayader

The first section of the trail begins at St Clements Church in Rhayader (Grid ref SN 962682), and follows the Elan Valley up as far as the church at Nantgwyllt, a distance of 5 miles.


Geolocation
Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 1
Length of Route: 5
Walking Difficulty: Easy
Start Location: St Clement's Church Rhayader

St Clement’s Church, Rhayader

St Clement’s is an imposing 17th Century building much altered by the Victorians overlooking the River Wye adjacent to the old Welsh Rhayader Castle.  The Church is of Norman origins, probably built by the Mortimer family who captured and restored the castle in 1200.  The dedication is to St Clement and this could have stemmed from the fact that the Normans were rebuilding the Church of St Clemente in Rome at the same time.  A large cast iron fence surrounds the reburied remains of the garrison of the castle, one of whom was said to be a giant.  The Church has some very fine stained glass windows.

Eglwys Sant Clement, Rhaeadr Gwy

Mae Eglwys Sant Clement yn adeilad mawreddog o’r ail ganrif ar bymtheg a gafodd ei newid yn helaeth yng nghyfnod Fictoria.  Mae’n edrych i lawr dros afon Gwy ac wedi ei lleoli ger hen Gastell Cymreig Rhaeadr Gwy.  Mae’r Eglwys yn tarddu o’r cyfnod Normanaidd, ac fe’i hadeiladwyd mae’n debyg gan y teulu Mortimer a gipiodd ac a adferodd y Castell ym 1200.  Cyflwynwyd yr eglwys i Sant Clement a gallai hyn fod wedi deillio o’r ffaith fod y Normaniaid yn ailadeiladu Eglwys Sant Clement yn Rhufain yr un pryd.  Mae ffens fawr o haearn bwrw yn amgylchynu gweddillion garsiwn y castell.  Cafodd aelodau’r garsiwn hwn eu hail-gladdu, ac yn ôl y chwedl roedd un ohonynt yn gawr.  Mae gan yr Eglwys rai ffenestri lliw gwych iawn.

Elan & Claerwen Valleys

family-friendly
parking-at-start-point
parking-on-site
pets-welcome
rainy-day-activity
suitable-for-cycling
suitable-for-moutain-biking
suitable-for-walking
wheelchair-accessible
Craig Goch Elan Valley Dams

To the west of Rhayader is the Elan Valley Estate, owned by Welsh Water and managed by the Elan Valley Trust, the series of reservoirs set in the outstanding scenery of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys have created a home for wildlife and a place to inspire us all.


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Walking: With 72 sqaure miles of Elan Valley Estate, walking routes in this our part of the Cambrian Mountains is spectacular. See a selection of the Elan Valley walks here.

History: In the 19th century, at the time of the Industrial Revolution Joseph Chamberlain, then leader of Birmingham City Council, set about finding a clean water supply for the City.

The Elan and Claerwen Valleys had been identified by the engineer James Mansergh as having the best potential for water storage - with
• An average annual rainfall of 72 inches (1830mm). 
• Narrow downstream valleys which made building the dams easier. 
• Impermeable bedrock preventing the water seeping away. 
• Altitude - the area is mostly higher than Birmingham enabling the water to be transported by gravity alone, without the need to be pumped.

An Act of Parliament was passed for the compulsory purchase of the area and in 1893 the building work began. Over 100 occupants of the Elan Valley had to move, only landowners received compensation payments. Many buildings were demolished, among them 2 manor houses, 18 farms, a school and a church (which was replaced by the corporation as the Nantgwyllt Church).

A railway line was constructed to transport the workers and thousands of tonnes of building material each day and a village of wooden huts was purpose built to house many of the workers on the site of the present Elan Village.
The Elan Valley Dams were officially opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 21st July 1904, and the later built Claerwen Dam was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

Present Day: The dams and reservoirs of the Elan Estate are situated within an area of outstanding scenic beauty. They provide a lasting amenity in their own right for visitors to enjoy. The protection of the water catchment area to prevent pollution of the reservoirs has safeguarded the habitats of numerous species of flora and fauna and now the 70 square miles of moorland, bog, woodland, river and reservoir are of national importance for their diversity of lower plants (ferns, mosses, lichens and liverworts) and the Estate is the most important area for land birds in Wales.

Distance from town centre: 3

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