Newest Review: ... roof giving it a 'fairy castle' look. The area is quite remote, and it takes a long cross country trek to get there, but once there, it's ... more
A beautiful place for a quiet day out in the countryside
Lake Vyrnwy Nature Reserve (Powys)
Member Name: markos9
Lake Vyrnwy Nature Reserve (Powys)
Advantages: Scenery, facilities, colour coded walks.
Disadvantages: Not that easy to get to.
Lake Vyrnwy is a beautiful, man made reservoir set in the heart of the scenic Berwyn Mountains in Mid Wales. The lake was created in 1888 by the damming of the River Vyrnwy to supply water for the city of Liverpool. In damming the river, the builders also drowned the village of Llanwddyn, but kindly rebuilt it away from the rising waters! Apparently, the village is visible during a drought, but with the recent weather over the last couple of years, there's little chance of seeing it!
The Victorian engineers who built it really knew a thing or two, the dam looks almost new today over 100 years later. Unlike most modern buildings, the dam and water tower are lovely to look at, with the tower's copper roof giving it a 'fairy castle' look.
The area is quite remote, and it takes a long cross country trek to get there, but once there, it's worth it.
Despite being an artificial lake, Lake Vyrnwy has been described as the most beautiful lake in Wales. If you visit, I think you'll tend to agree, it is gorgeous.
Nowadays, the area is owned by Severn Trent Water and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as a nature reserve.
The facilities at Lake Vyrnwy are quite good for such a remote location. There's a nice little café, RSPB shop, craft shop, toilets and ample parking. Bicycles can be hired here, and as there's a road that runs around the whole circumference of the lake, a distance of 12 miles, cycling can be a real pleasure. ST Water also have a visitors centre here.
There's lots to do and see around the lake and surrounding areas. As you might guess from the RSPB association, the area is great for birdwatching. Several rare species frequent the surrounding moors and mountain sides (such as black grouse, merlin and hen harrier), and there's plenty of less rare birds to be found closer to the lake (with Welsh woodland specialities such as redstart, pied flycatcher and wood warbler, plentiful). A bird 'hide' with disabled access overlooks a woodland area just outside the café. The lake is stocked with trout, and boats can be hired for the day.
There's plenty of stopping points around the lake with colour coded walks for those who (like me) like circular walks but can't use a map and compass. These walks are really worth attempting and vary from 1.5 to 5 miles in length. The scenery is spectacular. My favourite walk follows the 'green trail'. This is about 3 miles long and takes you to the impressive Rhiwargor Waterfall. There's a picnic table at the base of the waterfall, then the walk then carries on to a secluded hide on a little island at the end of the lake. This is actually one of my favourite of all walks.
In my view, the best time to visit the area is around May. All the summer visiting birds have arrived and are in full song and more importantly, the midges and horse flies aren't yet on the wing looking to drink blood from the human visitors!
I really do believe that this is one of the most beautiful parts of Wales to visit and, if you're in the area, it's well worth a look.
Summary: A great place to visit.
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