Elan Valley Trail

With its breathtaking landscapes, the Elan Valley is a hidden gem located in the very heart of Wales. This linear trail takes you past three reservoirs and can be followed in either direction, but most people head west from Cwmdeuddwr towards the valley.

This spectacular trail climbs past three reservoirs in the heart of beautiful, mountainous Mid Wales following the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway, which was built to help construct the Elan Valley reservoirs. These were built between 1892 and 1904 and during the busiest period, more than 5000 men were employed. The reservoirs were created to supply Birmingham and the water travels 73 miles by pipeline to reach its destination.

The reservoirs are a string of four narrow lakes running north-south. You can learn more about the construction of the reservoirs at the Visitor Centre (which also has a cafe).

The ride climbs 165ft from the Elan Valley Visitor Centre past Caban Coch and Garreg Ddu Reservoirs with their fine dams and an ornamental water tower, to the end of Penygarreg Reservoir leaving you with a very fine descent back to the start. When the reservoirs are full you will be rewarded with the sight of millions of gallons of water cascading over the dam walls.

The tunnel near to Rhayader is a nature reserve for rare bats. The trail is also right in the heart of Red Kite country so be prepared to see these magnificent birds with their distinctive forked tail wheeling in the thermals above you.

Things to see and do

  • Elan Valley Visitor Centre
  • Gwarchodfa RSPB Carngafallt

Bike hire

  • Clive Powell Mountain Bike Hire

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Please note

We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.

Please help us protect this route

The Elan Valley Trail is part of the National Cycle Network, cared for by Sustrans. Your donation today will help keep the Network safe and open for everyone to enjoy

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