Llanwrtyd Wells is set in the Elenydd – vast sweeping ranges of rolling hills, gorges, waterfalls and steep valleys in a beautiful, undiscovered and sparsely populated region.
Located between the better-known Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks, Mid Wales has some of the most diverse landscapes in the country; woodlands, rivers, lakes, farmland, wetland, moorland and mountains.
The area is ideal for walking and hiking, mountain and road biking, wild swimming or just relaxing amongst nature all beneath star spangled night skies.
The following are all within easy reach of Llanwrtyd Wells and don’t be surprised if you have many of them all to yourselves.
Cae Pwll y Bo Nature Reserve
This is located 5km upstream form Llanwrtyd Wells on the River Irfon. It is known for its spectacular display of Globeflowers in early summer. It was originally part of Pwll y Bo farm (Hobgoblin pool in Welsh).
Vicarage Meadows Nature Reserve
Full of many different kinds of colourful wildflowers. Bluebells in the spring followed by a carpet of orchids in the summer. You will find many butterflies and insects. It lies in the Irfon Valley and was once owned by the Vicarage at Abergwesyn.
Irfon Forest (Pwll Bo)
You’ll be able to choose from two short walks along the River Ifron. One of these is wheelchair accessible. You’ll find ample car parking, picnic benches and barbecue facilities. It is only a short walk from here to the Wash Pool where local farmers used to wash their livestock on the way to market.
Llyn Brianne Reservoir
If you follow the River Irfon up its lovely valley to Abergwesyn and take the spectacular lane up the Devil’s Staircase you will come to Llyn Brianne Reservoir. Built to provide water for the cities of South Wales and regulate the flow of the River Tywi, its shores and fjord-like shape provide the most stunning views.
Nant Irfon National Nature Reserve
The high humidity of the ancient oak woodlands provides homes for chiffchaff, redstart, pied flycatcher, blackcap and wood warbler, and over 400 species of lichens, liverworts, ferns and mosses, including the rare Wilson’s filmy fern.
It is open throughout the year, but there are no formal footpaths. As the going can be rough, good, stout footwear is essential. Visitors should look out for deep pools, boggy ground and swift-flowing streams. Not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies.
This and the neighbouring Halfway Forest are set in beautiful countryside between the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains.
Miles of waymarked trails take you through tranquil grassy gorges, along old drovers’ routes and past cascading waterfalls, taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
There is a contrast of trees from the native oak, ash, beech and hazel of the original ancient forest, to the imported conifers, which have a beauty all of their own.
Depending on the season, colours vary from the winter whites of snowdrops, the yellow hues of daffodils and gorse, the spectacular blue haze of thousands of bluebells, and the golden amber of autumn foliage.
Heart of Wales Railway
For 121 miles between Swansea and Shrewsbury, a feast of panoramic views from the train includes the beautiful Loughor estuary near Llanelli, the meandering river Tywi between Llandeilo and Llandovery, red kite in the skies above the Eppynt hills near Llanwrtyd Wells, the Radnor Forest between Llandrindod Wells and Knighton, and the remote borderlands of the English Marches.
First time travellers will be impressed while seasoned travellers will need no reminding of the rugged beauty, tranquil villages and picturesque Victorian spa towns that adorn like a string of pearls one of the most scenic lines in Great Britain.
The impressive viaducts at Cynghordy and Knucklas are two of the seven bridges crossed on a journey that also includes six tunnels.