Why visit the Elan Valley!

The Elan Valley

The Elan Valley, Rhayader, Powys! Hello fellow budget hunters, Today’s post is all about one of my favourite places. As a child we used to visit the Elan Valley all the time! I find it a very interesting place and I love how beautiful the area is! When we visited on Easter Monday, the place looked crazy! There was snow around and the fog kept coming down over the water. The Elan Valley Located just above Rhayader in Powys, the Elan valley is a beautiful place. It is somewhere you have to drive to as it is remote. But, it is a popular place for people to visit with their families in Mid Wales. Best of all, it is entirely free and is great to get outdoors!


The first dams and 73 miles of aquaducts were built in 1904.They were built to supply Birmingham with water and still supply the whole region.

The Elan Valley
In a Top Gear Episode, Richard Hammond tried to winch a land rover up this dam while sat in it!

The Dams really are a feat of engineering, with millions of bricks used to hold all that water in place. There are 5 functional dams and one unfinished dam built in the Elan Valley. The Elan Valley There are four dams on the river Elan; Craig Goch, Pen-y-garreg, Garreg Ddu, and Caban Coch. The river Claerwen has the newest, and largest Claerwen dam followed by the unfinished Dol-y-Mynach dam. To read more about them, click here.  The Elan Valley The dams were built in the late 1890s after a compulsory purchase of 180 square kilometers of the valleys. These reservoirs travel to Birmingham via gravity only, with no pumps involved. An average of 360 million litres of water a day is available to Birmingham. There is also turbines on all dams, producing over 4.2 megawatts a day.


There is a lot of nature and wildlife living on the hills of the Elan Valley. Also there is 12 areas of Special Scientific Interest in the Elan Valley. The Elan Valley There are many different walkways and hikes around the dams that you can take. Some cycle paths follow the edges of the reservoirs, with others following road routes around the area. The Elan Valley is home to many of Wales’ 300 pairs of Red Kites. These birds were reintroduced recently and are thriving. I saw one on my visit, especially as they are fed in Rhayader (around 8 miles away). The Elan Valley


You only have to look at these pictures to understand what I mean! The Elan Valley The dramatic hills are beautiful and similar to those of the Brecon Beacons. I love the dramatic hills and range of colours (when they are no longer under the snow)! The Elan Valley You should really visit for a day to the Elan Valley, it is beautiful and well worth a trip there! I hope you enjoy this photo heavy post! Until next time, The Great Ambini x x x I also have other British Travel Guides here: –



You need to visit Wales' best dams. #elanvalley #wales #water #travel #travelwalesThe Elan Valley

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26 Replies to “Why visit the Elan Valley!”

  1. wow.. this looks beautiful and dangerous at the same time. i’ve never been in any snowy place before so the picture looked quite dangerous for someone who considers as a first timer when it comes to snow. 🙂

  2. Wow. The scenery is otherworldly. It almost looks like black-and-white photography in places! I’ll have to find that Top Gear episode 🙂

  3. Love the article! such a dramatic view of the landscape! Nice photos! I’ve personally never been here but I love hiking so It will be a great destination for me!

  4. One of the few places in the UK I am yet to see. The Elan Valley looks stunning, especially in the snow! I’ll be back in London next month, so may need to plan a visit 🙂

  5. wow these dams are amazing and the nature so raw! The pictures with the snow make me long for Europe haha (even though I know you have had enough cold this year!)

  6. I like your point that you made about it being free. Some people forget that if you want a budget vacation you just have to get outdoors!! Beautiful pictures of the landscape!!

  7. Nice photos! I love anywhere that has snow 🙂 The water from the waterfall looks like snow too. I’m from Bay Area, Calfornia where there is no snow. I have to drive 3 and a half hours in no traffic to see snow.

  8. The Elan Valley looks beautiful! It looks like one of those places that is stunning in any weather. I will definitely be adding this to my places to visit list in the UK! Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention 🙂

  9. Love this article! My Mum and here family are from that area so I have visited before (although i was much younger).In fact in the Rhayader museum there is a bike which my nan used to do deliveries for the local butcher! Wales is such a beautiful country and many people miss it out when they head to the UK but it is by far my favourite, the scenery and people are fantastic. Thanks for sharing ?

  10. Elan Valley look really cold. I imagine the biking is beautiful in the summer when the weather warms up. I would love to cycle around all of those reservoirs. It seems like a really authentic place removed from the normal commercial tourism.

  11. Wow am glad I stumbled upon your post. All the pictures are breathtaking. Haven’t seen such mammoth reservoirs in my life. All the more reasons to visit Elan Valley. Forgive my ignorance so is this place in Cardiff?

  12. Wales is such a gem. We have gone camping in Northern Wales every year since moving to the UK. We however have not explored much else besides Northern Wales, but I am glad you posted this article because it looks like a place we would love to visit. I think we will save a visit to the Elan Valley for the summer that way we can hike all of its trails and take in the beautiful scenery!

  13. It is beautiful and incredible to know so many dams around the river. Definitely, worth a visit. Thanks for sharing.

  14. The images you took make it seem a bit eerie, perhaps because of the light and all the snow. I believe being on the edge of the damn is a good moment to think of how mankind has the power to shape nature so drastically, yet with all that water behind it, also a good time to realise how small and insignificant an individual can be.

    Would have loved an image with the Red Kite you saw. 🙂

  15. I like that there are walkways to get views of the dam. Sounds like a fun place to visit even in the winter! Or shall I say, the spring that won’t let winter go.

  16. Elan valley in Wales looks gorgeous! Your pics really make me feel as though I am there. The gushing water, the views look fantastic. It reminds me of my visits to a reservoir in Mysore. I always love such places. 🙂

  17. Love this, Rhayader and Elan Valley are very special to me. I used to pony trek there as a kid and have been back a few times since and going back this summer. It has an overwhelming effect on me, I cannot express how much I love this place.

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