Newest Review: ... 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. Y... more
Pistyll Rhaeadr - big, wet and beautiful!
Pistyll Rhaeadr (Wales)
Member Name: Julie_Reilly
Pistyll Rhaeadr (Wales)
Advantages: Stunning natural beauty, not too much of a climb to the top, and cake!
Disadvantages: You might get muddy
Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant,
Tel: 01691 780392
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:
(also posted on ciao.co.uk)
Summary: Simply stunning!