A circular walk from the old station yard car park to the Groe Park and back via St. Brides Church. A distance of 1 mile / 1.5 kilometres that takes about an hour to enjoy. Parts of the walk suitable for wheelchairs and push chairs are marked on the downloadable map. The more you stop, look and listen the more you will see!
Walking & Cycling
Cwmdeuddwr Wildlife Walk
Rhayader has a wonderful variety of wild plants and animals living among its building, parks and gardens. The fast flowing, boulder strewn river Wye passes right through the town forming a very important natural corridor along which wildlife travels, enriching the town for the enjoyment of everyone. This walk is part of a series of three walks to help you explore the variety and beauty of the wildlife on our doorstep.
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.
The Wye Valley Walk
Being one of the oldest towns on the River Wye, Rhayader is an ideal base from which to explore sections of the Wye Valley Walk that run north and south from the town and for walkers of the whole route it is an excellent place to stop and stay awhile.
The 136 Mile (218km) Wye Valley Walk starts in Chepstow and follows the River Wye northwards through Herefordshire, entering Powys at Hay-on-Wye. It continues through the market towns of Builth Wells and Rhayader, continuing towards the Hafren Forest, north of Llanidloes, where it joins the Severn Way.
St Clements to Nantgwyllt Walk
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.
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
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.
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.