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Exploring the Elan Valley in Wales

Exploring the Elan Valley in Powys, Wales


The Elan Valley is a visually distinctive and stunning location in the county of Powys in mid-Wales. Based on over 70 square miles, Elan Valley blends rolling hills, sheltered woodlands, dams and reservoirs into a perfect hideaway for hiking and cycling. The Elan Valley is fairly remote, meaning you'll want to stock up on supplies if you plan on staying for a few days. We did however find several open toilet blocks whilst moving around inside the park. The nearest town for shops, fuel and water is Rhayader. This can easily be a 45 minute drive out of the park depending on where you are, and how busy the roads are.

Parked up for the evening near Claerwen Dam

We moved around and spent a total of 3 nights in Elan Valley. During the day there is miles and miles of walking to be done, either around the reservoirs or into the hills surrounding them. For the evenings, the park is recognized as an official Dark Sky Park so depending on the moon phase and time of year it is possible to view the milky way with the naked eye. The reflections on the water and the architecture of the dams make it a paradise for landscape or astro photographers into the hours of the early morning.

Below: A starlit view from Graig Goch Dam, Our park up at Claerwen Dam, The bridge at Garreg Ddu Dam and up in the hills above Claerwen.

On our way into the park when arriving from the East you drive past the Elan Valley visitor centre. If you don't want to rough it or rely on OS maps then it's worth stopping by on the way through to see the local maps and recommended walks and bike rides. Some of the routes are available with the visitor centre as a starting point. You can walk for as little or as far as you want with the estate having over 80 miles of designated rights of way. Mobile phone signal basically doesn't exist in most of the locations we visited so it's worth downloading some offline maps and doing some research before you head out.

If you are interested in finding out more about Elan Valley then check out their website for current information. Visit Elan Valley.

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