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Pistyll Rhaeadr (Wales)

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5 Reviews

Waterfall near the tiny village of Llanrhaeadr in Northern Wales.

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      04.07.2012 22:46

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      Hi, Just to let you know that i have visited this waterfall years ago and i have to say that it was the most breathtaking thing i have seen in a long time. The first thing that hits you is the gentle spray as you walk through the woods and then ... what a sight . The noise is just amazing as the falls tumble down. I will be taking my husband as he has not seen this hidden beauty. If you have not been here, you really must pencil a visit soon

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      28.09.2011 10:23
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      Simply stunning!

      LOCATION
      Waterfall Lane
      Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant,
      Powys,
      SY10 0BZ,
      Wales

      Tel: 01691 780392
      Web: www.pistyllrhaeadr.co.uk
      Email: phillfacey@supanet.com

      We visited Pistyll Rhaeadr (tr. the spring of the waterfall), one of the Seven Wonders of Wales, on a cloudy day in September 2011.

      It's easy to find. Head to Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (tr. the church by the waterfall in the commote of the fast-flowing stream), get yourself onto Waterfall Lane and just keep going for several miles. The road ends at the waterfall so you can't go any further. I say road - it's a single track lane with passing places, so don't barrel down there too fast.

      Shortly before you get to the waterfall, there is a free parking area on the left. Park there if you can, otherwise there is a paid car park (£2) at Tan-y-Pistyll (little house under the waterfall) where there also a B&B and a tea room. There is also a rather primitive and cobweb-festooned toilet block for those unavoidable calls of nature.

      From the parking area it is a short walk of a few minutes to the waterfall itself. You cross a stile at a little clearing with a carved wooden statue and make your way down a rocky path to where an iron bridge has been built over the river to stand and admire the waterfall.

      It truly is an astounding sight. 240 feet above, a cascade of white water falls thunderously from a sheer drop. Halfway down, the force of the torrent has carved a hole in the cliff through which the pounding waters surge, tainted a browny-yellow from the peat in the soil. From there, the water gushes impressively down a smaller drop, thence to burble prettily over large moss-covered stones, passing under the bridge before continuing more peacefully away into the distance.

      If you continue over the bridge, there is a marked path, but this is not the way to the top of the waterfall - it will take you in the wrong direction, as we discovered!

      If you do wish to climb to the top of the waterfall, it is doable. You need to head back the way you came, down onto the car park and walk past the toilet block. On the left there is a gate with a post next to it bearing a faded orange arrow. This will take you up the first part of the path. After a few minutes gentle climb you will come to a point where you can either follow the gentle incline up, or take a rather more direct, but steeper route up some rocky steps. This is marked 'waterfall top' (I think - something like that at any rate). We decided to go up the rocky steps. It's a fair old climb if you're not as fit as you should be, but it's not impossible. After about ten minutes it rejoins the gentler sloping pathway and then it's just a gentle wander along the ridge top. After a few more minutes, if you look to your left you'll see another gate and signpost across a short expanse of grassy meadow. You need to head down there and through the gate. A couple more minutes' walk takes you to the top of the waterfall and then it all becomes worth it!

      The view is stunning and it's a very, very long way down. The waterfall is fed by a stream only six or so feet across, bouncing innocently over stones on its way inexorably downwards. There is no fencing, no way of stopping yourself falling, 'elf and safety clearly doesn't apply here! So just don't get too close, especially when it's wet.

      We went the gentler route back down the slate mountains - watch out for the sheep poo!

      We visited the tea room and I opted for a milkshake and the coffee cake which I can highly recommend. Sadly, the St Bernard dog mentioned by a previous reviewer of this mighty natural phenomenon passed away some time ago. I'm sure he is sadly missed.

      You will get muddy, you may get wet, and you might even get sheep poo all over you, but it's a fun excursion.

      My video of Pistyll Rhaeadr:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPAZ0YF5Hpg

      (also posted on ciao.co.uk)

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        31.05.2010 22:23
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        A truly beautiful cataract

        (On Ciao quite a while ago)...


        According to an old doggerel, there are seven Wonders of Wales:

        'Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
        Snowdon's mountain without its people,
        Overton yew trees, St Winefride wells,
        Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells.'

        Right, in order...
        1) Pistyll Rhaeadr - Have patience. I'll deal with it in a minute.

        2) Wrexham Steeple - A steeple? This? Hello?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Stgileswrexham.jpg

        3) Snowdon - Well, I'm not quibbling with that...the finest mountain massif in England and Wales. And so much better when not infested by day trippers.
        http://tinyurl.com/333fea8

        4) Overton Yew Trees - 21 yews in Overton churchyard. Quite pretty? Yes. Truly outstanding? Er...no.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SPIMG0017a.jpg

        5) St Winifrede's Well - A site of pilgrimage for many centuries due to its alleged healing properties. Bit underwhelmed by this one too, but if the French can have Lourdes and the Irish the Holy Stone of Clonrichert...
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hollywell.jpg

        6) Llangollen Bridge - Now, don't get me wrong, Llangollen is a lovely town, atmospheric and with a considerable cultural cachet internationally. But the bridge isn't even the most impressive thing architecturally in Llangollen, never mind over a wider area.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Llangollenviewfromstation.JPG

        7) Gresford Bells - Selected for their purity of tone, allegedly...
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:ASC_Gresford.jpg

        ...but the fact that, like most of the items on the list, Gresford is within spitting distance of Wrexham suggests that they were selected more for convenience. In fact, the whole rhyme smacks of being the product of a Victorian day trip around a bit of North Wales, which it most likely is.

        But with the Pistyll Rhaeadr, the author was onto something.


        What? Where?
        ===========

        Formalities first: pronounce it 'Pist-ith rye-adder'. 'Pistyll' technically translates as the spout of a waterfall: 'Rhaeadr' means waterfall...such tautological japery is only to be expected in the land of Max Boyce and actresses who marry actors 400 years older than them. Let's say it's 'spring of the waterfall' in English for argument's sake. So, obviously it's a waterfall then. Falling a total of 240ft, the falls are (depending on definition, of which more later) the highest in England and Wales.

        Pistyll Rhaeadr is situated quite close to the Wales/England divide, on the border between the counties of Clwyd and Powys: as such, this makes it reasonably accessible from the English north-west and the Midlands. It lies in the upper reaches of a secluded valley that rents the fine Celtic badlands of the Berwyn Mountains, and is usually reached from Telford's A5 trunk road (slightly upgraded since his day). From the north, turn off the A5 at Oswestry down the A483, turning right onto the B4396 at the White Lion pub in Llyclys after a few miles, and then it's another 14 miles or so to Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. If coming from the south, turn off the A5 at Nesscliffe and follow the B4396 all the way to Llanrhaeadr: on this route you get the full Llyclys crossroads experience, much enjoyed by anyone who appreciates the frisson of a potential t-bone collision. And if you're coming from the west, you're driving away from the best scenery, so turn around, you great eejit.

        Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (translation, and it may come as a disappointment to you addicts of brevity, is 'Church of the waterfall in the village of the stream of the Pigs') is a large village, not worth a visit in its own right but pleasant enough. It has a dual claim to fame: it was here that the bible was first translated into Welsh, and parts of the 1995 Hugh Grant extravaganza 'The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain' were filmed in the vicinity. This predates his Sunset Boulevard shenanigans by a few years, and it's possible that the local women are kicking themselves to this day: they thought he was driving very slowly up and down the main street because it's a bit twisty and narrow.

        Anyway, onwards. The road to the waterfall is clearly signposted from the village, and a drive of about four miles will bring you to it. Be aware that this is a full-on 'single track road with passing places' thoroughfare, so be prepared to react accordingly. (Also, there's no public transport for this last section). There are some lovely cottages lining the road on the initial climb out of Llanrhaeadr, but they soon thin out, and the road hugs the south side of the valley of the Afon Rhaeadr. There is the occasional house, but mostly it's hillside (sometimes wooded) to the right, and a view across the valley to the left. Not that the driver should be looking around much, let me emphasise. Anticipation mounts the further you progress, and eventually you will see a tall white cliff on the hillside opposite...not far beyond this you round a climactic bend and the valley sides ahead constrict to a thickly wooded neck, and the waterfall is seen slipping down like a shower curtain over the crags. Although possibly the 19th century author George Borrow put it better in his classic travelogue 'Wild Wales':

        'What shall I liken it to? I scarcely know, unless it is to an immense skein of silk agitated and disturbed by tempestuous blasts, or to the long tail of a grey courser at furious speed. I never saw water falling so gracefully, so much like thin, beautiful threads as here.'

        If you are here at a weekend there is a fair chance that you'll soon pass a lot of cars parked on the left: you CAN park here if there's space, but it seems slightly unfair to patronise the facilities at the foot of the falls themselves without actually paying the tokenistic £2 charged. So continue to the end of the road at the now (very tastefully) refurbished old farmhouse of Tan-y-pistyll, where there should be ample space, either in the area in front of the toilets, or (if that part is full) in the field on the left.


        Falling Down
        =========

        If you're just visiting the falls, I scarcely need to give further instructions. A gate to the right of the farmhouse leads onto a path leading very quickly to the viewing bridge over the river: I believe that wheelchairs could be taken most of the way (see pictures). Looking up from here, you will see the falls sheet almost vertically down a large drop, before hitting a ledge and pouring through a natural arch and plunging into a verdant pool: enormously impressive and romantic. During normal conditions the falls rely on their height and mare's tail aesthetics to appeal, but in spate they are an incredibly violent cataract, stained brown by the peat content wrenched from the hills above. (Alas, I cannot find my 20-odd year-old photos of the falls after heavy rain...I'll upload and link to one if I do).

        Most people will be content to study the scene from the bridge, but all save the most clumsy will be able to clamber over the rocks on the right bank to get a closer view. Trying to gain any further ground on the opposite bank (crossing the bridge, going a little way up the path and then cutting hard right to the open hillside) is risky enough to have cost lives, so be warned. The top of the falls are reachable by taking a path turning right at the bridge: it takes a long loop around to the rim (a direct route is possible at the rock climbing grade of E3: if you don't know what that means, you aren't capable of doing it) and is pretty obvious. It leads to an atmospheric area with bleak moorland upstream, boulders in the stream bed, and a deliciously horrifying drop that is not to be underestimated: safe with care, but not (in my humble opinion) a place for unrestrained children or dogs.

        Other facilities are more than adequate, while being as sympathetic to the surroundings as could be hoped. Tan-y-pistyll has a tearoom (because I care about journalistic integrity, I even went in: don't you dare tell anyone I was caught in a tearoom...I had a J2O mind you...my devotion to accuracy doesn't extend to tea on a scorching hot day) and restaurant (which I didn't patronise, as I hadn't quite got through my packet of Penguins in the car...it serves pub-grub type fayre): ice creams are served through a hatch, too. In summer you can choose to eat and drink on the picnic benches on the terrace outside: here you have a good view of the falls, and can enjoy a selection of birdlife attempting to nick your cakes. B & B is offered on a small scale (the price is £85 per night for a double room, of which there are two: these can be combined into a self-contained holiday let). Camping is available too. As are weddings. Eeek.

        And they have a very big St Bernard dog, which always helps.
        Hello Trees, Hello Sky...

        More details can be found at http://www.pistyllrhaeadr.co.uk, a slightly flowery and new-age concoction, containing a large amount of wondrously creative Arthurian and Celtic legend bobbins. There is a diary of events, mostly of a meditative bent (for instance, May 2009 had a gathering entitled FINDING VISION: LEARNING TO BE WITH YOURSELF...if this sort of thing is your bag, then it's hard to imagine anywhere more glorious in which to indulge it). Me? I offer a wry smile (for such folk are always friendly and pleasant), and simply recall an exchange that occurred on the road to the falls on 10th May last year. An oncoming car had pulled into a passing place to let me by, and as I drew level its driver wound down the window and gestured to me to do likewise. I beheld a warmly smiling shaven-headed goatee-toting man looking for all the world like the Emperor Ming's ridiculously chilled brother, who I gathered from the note in the back window of his car was 'Rob Edwards - Musician'.

        Rob Edwards (Musician) - 'Be careful up ahead please...there's a young sheep jumping in and out of the road'

        Me - 'Yeah, will do sir. Thankyou'
        (Me, internally saying - 'Yeah, will do sir. Thankyou. Mind you, I think you'll find that they're called lambs by most sensible people')

        You may have gathered that I'm not one of those who's liable to 'listen to what the flower people say' (as Spinal Tap put it). I did once feel the need to lie down on top of A'Mhaighdean in the far north-west of Scotland, to look up at the sky and feel the force binding me to mother Earth...I did this for some seconds, before realising what a pillock I felt and getting on with the serious business of getting off it.

        But I digress.


        And...
        ====

        Unless you've joined the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, eventually you'll want to leave. Exercise due care driving back down the valley: the driver is NOT allowed to look over his shoulder, because it'd be a swine to get a recovery van up here. Hopefully, your appetite for all things watery and gravity-enslaved has been whetted, in which case the Principality also offers...

        Aber Falls - Not far from the A55 coast road beyond Conwy, a two-mile walk (flat, in case you were wondering) leads to a heartbreakingly gorgeous 170ft mare's tail.

        Pistyll-y-llyn - One for the connoisseur of the genre, buried deep in the hills near Machynlleth in mid Wales. Falling over 300ft, it's often cited as Wales's highest, but in truth is more of a long waterslide than a sheer leap: it's also rather hamstrung by being fed from a lake whose outflow is regulated, hence the usual low volume of water. A rather muddy two mile walk along a farm track (during which you can see the falls, so you don't HAVE to walk the whole way) leads to a thought-provoking scramble along a ledge and a deeply spectacular balcony looking straight at the middle of the falls from a distance of mere feet.
        http://flickr.com/photos/7807067@N07/2499546492/

        Ceunant Bach (The Llanberis Waterfall) - Not far above the bottom station of the Snowdon Mountain Railway lies this genuinely beautiful 120ft fall. Even as an outdoor sports fan, I find the fact that this has been canoed down fabulously mortifying.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_Io-tuuWPk

        Henryd Falls - The highest fall in South Wales, situated near the village of Coelbren. A well-maintained walk leads down to the falls, which plunge 90ft over an undercut limestone cliff: they can be walked behind by the careful (regardless of 'Claims Direct'-esque warning signs forbidding it). Impressive in spate, and looking like a Timotei advert when not: you can't lose, really.
        http://flickr.com/photos/7807067@N07/2498853789/

        Scwd-yr-Eira - The pride of the proliferation of falls in and around the Vale Of Neath in South Wales, this is possibly Wales's most impressive cataract. Only 52 feet high, but actually wider than it is tall and carrying a huge volume of water. It too can be walked behind, and the sensation of having your breath wrenched from your lungs while being simultaneously drenched in spray is memorable, to say the least. It's a two mile walk to reach it, and landslides have recently closed access: check online before setting off. This has also been canoed...to think that some folk think I'M mad.
        http://flickr.com/photos/7807067@N07/2499546018/

        ...and many many more.


        So, there's a lot of natural wonder out there, and a lot of it doesn't need much fitness and determination to reach. So, just like he was when he married Heather Mills, Paul McCartney was wrong when he sang...

        'Don't go jumping waterfalls,
        Please keep to the lakes...'

        (Apart from the jumping bit. But I think that's obvious).

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          30.06.2009 08:06
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          The highest waterfall in Wales.

          Pistyll Rhaeadr is the highest waterfall in Wales. With a drop of 260 feet, it is actually higher than Niagara Falls in North America (although the volume of water passing over is a lot less than Niagara, of course!). The waterfall is also the highest single drop waterfall in the whole of the UK and is listed as one of The Seven Wonders of Wales.

          The Welsh name of the falls means 'water spout waterfall' which seems an excessive description, but the falls actually comprise of a water spout, shooting over a cliff, followed by another fall, so the ancient Welsh who named Pistyll Rhaeadr knew what they were doing!

          To get to Pistyll Rhaeadr is not the easiest of journeys. This does, at least, mean that few other visitors will be around. The falls lie near the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant about 14 miles west of the town of Oswestry. The final seven or eight miles of the journey is along a single track road. Parts of this road are only the width of the car, so drivers should drive slowly and be prepared to back up into one of the passing places.

          There's a reasonable sized car park at the falls (£2.50 per day) which is located within a few hundred yards of the base of the waterfall. There is an honesty box if you arrive before the office is open.

          As soon as you open the car doors, the sound of the waterfall hits you; a rushing, white noise as if thousands of TV's have been left on showing only static. The sound is quite hypnotic, even though, at this stage, the falls are hidden by the trees.

          A quick walk from the car park takes you to the base of the waterfall; looking face on at the rushing torrent. At this point, you will stop. The scene is breathtaking! The sides of the valley are covered in oak and sycamore trees; lushly green in summer. Stern looking Welsh slate outcrops stick out from the valley sides, between the trees. Carpets of wild flowers will cover the valley floor in spring or summer, and the river forms a relatively calm pool at the base of the waterfall which is filled with small brown trout.

          It is, of course, the falls, that dominate the view. The Afon Disgynfa tumbles over the vertical cliff face and plunges downward, sending out plumes of spray as it descends. The column of water seems taller than the stated height; the water seems to fall for ever before reaching the base (I enjoyed following, with my eyes, a section of water as it falls, seeing the speed of descent and watching the pattern dashed on the rocks).

          About halfway down, the water passes through a stone arch. I have never seen this on a waterfall before; it almost looks like an ancient packhorse bridge put there by medieval man to cross the river (anyone trying to cross the arch would be extremely foolhardy, however!).

          The final descent of the water is more powerful than the original spout as the water is concentrated by the arch and pushed out into free air for its final fall into the plunge pool below.

          There is a bridge over the river where you can get even closer views of the rushing torrent. We were told, however, that in times of flood, the bridge is actually sprayed by the waterfall!

          After viewing the falls, the visitor has a chance to explore the woodland that surrounds the base of the waterfall. These are classic Welsh upland woods, containing all of the special bird species local to this habitat. Pied flycatchers live here; tiny little black and white birds that dart out from a perch to catch flies. Wood warblers call from the trees, their calls sounding like a spinning coin. Other birds including willow warblers and blackcaps will be here, too, so a visit in spring or summer will be filled with gorgeous birdsong.

          If you do visit in summer, bring some insect repellent. Clouds of midges descend on visitors in the woods, and the top of the falls are home to hungry horse flies.

          There is also a walk to the top of the falls. This is clearly marked from the car park. This is, however, steep, slippery, and hazardous as there are no handrails or proper steps (I believe a decision's been made, not to put these safety items in, as it would spoil the natural beauty of the site; I agree). Only people with a reasonable level of fitness should attempt to gain the top of the falls (and children should be very closely supervised).

          The top of the falls does not give as good a view as the base. The Afon Disgynfa can be seen plunging over the edge, but the falls themselves cannot. I'm not usually afraid of heights, but looking down from the top, was slightly unnerving for me.

          From the top of the falls, the whole of the Berwyn Range of mountains can be viewed, and walked. From here, it's possible to make a seven mile walk that covers the three highest peaks in the Berwyns, Cadair Bronwyn, Cadair Berwyn, and Moel Sych. From this desolate heather moorland can be seen some special wildlife and it's likely that you'll have the mountains to yourself. Look out for hen harrier, merlin, peregrine falcon, and even goshawk if you do make this journey. Other birds present include stonechat, meadow pipit, and cuckoo. There's even a chance of spotting the elusive polecat.

          After making the journey back to the car, it's likely that you'll be a bit 'peckish'. Fortunately, there is a place to eat. The Tan-y-Pistyll café, which means little house under the waterfall, is a beautiful little stone cottage. The food served here is of high quality and is not too expensive. If you visit and the weather's clement, sit at one of the outside tables. Here you can eat your food with a spectacular view of the waterfall; surely one of the most picturesque views for a meal in the whole of the UK!

          The Tan-y-Pistyll is also a Bed and Breakfast, and the building has a small veranda that also looks over the falls. This looks like a gorgeous spot to stay for a night. I can only imagine what it must be like sitting out by the falls, with a drink, watching the sun gradually fall behind the valley walls. It sounds idyllic.

          There is also a camp site here too, with the tents sited only a few hundred yards away from the waterfall. Camping here would be lovely as you drift asleep with the sound of the falls in the distance.

          I really enjoyed my trip to Pistyll Rhaeadr. This is a natural attraction that really gives a sense of the power and wonder of nature. It's rare in this country to get to see something so wild, impressive, and unspoilt and I can recommend this as a place to visit for anyone interested in the great outdoors.

          The website below contains lots of information about Pistyll Rhaeadr including directions to get there.

          http://www.pistyllrhaeadr.co.uk/

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            31.03.2002 03:25
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            I recently read an opinion by Ellen67 of the Foz do Iguaco falls in Southern Brazil, which plunge 289 ft into the Iguacu river below. Entitled ‘Do not read this if you suffer from vertigo’ the review was a well-written piece of work describing one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls. As it happens at the time I was considering writing an opinion on a waterfall close to where I live, but decided to shelve the idea after reading the review because Pistyll Rhaeadr seemed to pale into insignificance compared to the majesty of this South American Waterfall. However I’ve had second thoughts, I’ve decided that anything the Brazilians can do, Wales can do just as well, so here is my description of my favourite of the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’ a site to behold and much more accessible than the Brazilian/Argentine border. Not quite as high as the Foz do Iguacu, Pistyll Rhaider, which translates as ‘the spring of the waterfall’ is nevertheless an impressive cascade of 240 ft and is the highest waterfall in Britain south of the Scottish highlands. The waterfall is about 16 miles from Oswestry, a town of welsh origins in northern Shropshire but east of Offa's Dyke, the eighth century border between England and Wales. To get there from Oswestry follow the A483 towards Welshpool. After 3 miles turn right at Llynclys cross roads (White Lion pub on your right), and continue on the B4396. From here to the secluded falls, you drive through some incredibly beautiful scenery set in mostly uninhabited countryside to the village of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant (A translation is the Church of the waterfall in the village of the stream of the Pigs). This village was once the parish of the famous vicar (and later Bishop) William Morgan (1545-1604), the place where he worked on his translation of the Holy Bible into Welsh that became one of the deciding factors in the survival of
            the language. In Llanrhaeadr go through the main square, past the Wynstay Arms, and turn right into Waterfall Street just before the corner shop. The Waterfall is signposted above the shop, Continue along Waterfall Street for four miles until the road ends at the waterfall car park. This place is so remote it has not yet been damaged by too much tourism. Those who do know of its existence refer to it as the 'Hidden Pearl of Wales'. It is the perfect antidote to the stress of modern living. Bewitchingly magnificent, it is both beautiful and majestic and it will quickly subdue your stress, and instill a sense of awe and peace. George Borrow, the 19th century author of ‘Wild Wales’ (what a wonderful book this is – the original Bill Bryson) described the awe-inspiring spectacle as follows: ‘What shall I liken it too? I scarcely know, unless to an immense skein of silk agitated and disturbed by tempestuous blasts’, and went on to say that he had ‘never seen water falling so gracefully, so much like thin, beautiful threads as here’. A little flowery perhaps but if you’ve been there you would agree that its a fitting description of a beautiful site. The scenery is breathtaking and dramatic surrounded on both sides by sheer cliffs and woods, with many walks leading into the Berwyn Mountains. Because of the absence of too much tourist development the falls can be enjoyed without interruption in their natural splendor as they descend down the steep, rocky hillside in a series of leaps. After a near vertical drop of about 120 ft the water emerges as a spout through a natural arch in the rock to complete the remaining 120 ft of its journey. George Borrow was told that a man once managed to clamber across this arch, whilst legend claims that it was created as a fairy bridge. The more I think of it, the more beautiful I remember it is. If you recall the New Z
            ealand scenery in Lord of the Rings, this area is very similar to many of the scenes and is full of just as many myths. It really is a very magical place. Geologically the falls are relatively young formed no more than 10,000 years ago. The smooth sides of the valley indicate that it was carved by glaciers during the ice age. The waterfall did not appear until the ice had melted and has therefore had very little time to carve a gorge at the head of the valley. Climb to the top of the waterfall, and you are rewarded with spectacular views. The huge rocks visible on the floor of the valley are known as the ‘Giants Burdens’. According to legend these large boulders were dropped by a family of giants disturbed by a cock-crow, as they were about to build a bridge across the river, under cover of darkness, to attack a neighbour. To the south of the waterfall the highest peaks in the Berwyn range, Moel Sych (2713 ft) and Cadair Berwyn (2712 ft) can be seen to the head of the valley. Another legend says that the Berwyns are haunted by the Hounds of Hell, which race over the slopes looking for lost souls. In the spring, which I think is a lovely time to visit, the melting snows from these mountains feed the mountain streams and provide truly spectacular vistas. To the east of the valley is the site of a mediaeval castle and a disused lead mine from Roman times. Not particularly interesting, but a pointer of how this area was not always considered to be as remote as it is now. The waterfall and the valley are a haven for an incredible variety of birds. Buzzards, kestrels, wheatears and whinchats are frequently seen fling between the falls and the moorland, whilst the sheltered valley floor is a home for redstarts, pied flycatchers, tree pipits, green woodpeckers, greater spotted woodpeckers, marsh tits, tree creepers, nut hatches, blackcaps garden warblers, willow warblers, chiff-chaffs and lesser wood warblers.
            Near the river you are almost certain to see dippers, grey wagtails and pied wagtails. It’s a twitchers’ paradise. As I’ve already pointed out, its not mainstream as far as tourism is concerned, which adds to its charm. However there is a restaurant/tea room/ B and B in a building constructed by a vicar in 1724 as a summer retreat and who supposedly had an encounter with the ‘little folk’. Its called Tan-y-Pistyll which means ‘little house under the waterfall’. The restaurant/ tearoom has a very cosy and rustic appearance, with many of the original 17th Century features still existing today, the atmosphere is very homely and peaceful, and it looks an ideal place for drinking hot toddies around the log fire in winter, or a pint sitting outside on the picnic benches in summer. If you’re looking for peace, beautiful scenery and nature at its best pay this waterfall and is environment a visit and bring a little magic into your life without the expense and hassle of flying halfway round the world. Take a look at the pictures on the web site you’ll be amazed how beautiful it is.

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