Essential Elan Valley
Whatever your interest, whatever time of year, you can always have a Mid Wales adventure in Elan Valley, one of Wales' most picturesque spots. Over 80% of the valley is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, home to reservoirs, aqueducts, hundreds of animals and an abundance of opportunities to have fun. We’ve put together a few suggestions on how to have a truly memorable and adventurous time in the beautiful Elan Valley. It is the Year of Adventure, after all!
Bike and hike
With open access to most of the 70 square mile estate, there are so many routes you can take to explore the area. Whether you want a gentle stroll through the greenery and dams or a more challenging hike amongst rocky crags and waterways, there will be a route to suit your needs and ability. Bike hire is readily available, if you fancy seeing the sights at a faster pace. Head to the Elan Valley Trail if you’re after surfaced paths.
Elan Valley has International Dark Sky Park status, meaning that on clear nights you can see stars, planets and constellations twinkling away with little light pollution. The Elan Valley Astronomy Group holds regular meet-ups at night in the visitor centre to educate visitors on the night sky and give people a chance to explore it through telescopes.
Dark Skies, Elan Valley by Dŵr Cymru
Keeping kids occupied in Elan Valley is relatively easy. The visitor centre runs fun family activities and active days out throughout the year, so keep an eye on their online calendar of events. Typical events include bug-hunting, high ropes courses and pond-dipping, with wet weather alternatives too.
If you want to cover more ground, why not drive around the estate? You’ll get the chance to see many spectacular views in a shorter space of time. Alternatively, enjoy a bespoke tour where you join a ranger on patrol in a Land Rover, discovering hidden features of the valley. You could always combine your drive with a visit to somewhere for food, like Penbont House, a traditional Welsh tea room near Pen y Garreg Dam.
A short drive away...
If proper on-foot adventuring ticks your boxes, Offa’s Dyke Visitor Centre is worth a visit. It has exhibitions on the history of the area, plus gives access to the Offa’s Dyke Trail. Knighton also has the Spaceguard Centre, a National Near Earth Objects Information Centre (NNEOIC) - the UK's only centre addressing the danger of comets and asteroid impact.
This old country town is a charmer. It has the Judge’s Lodging, which lets visitors discover what life was like for servants, judges and guests there in Victorian times. The Radnorshire Arms is a black and white building dating back to 1616.
How’s this for a gentle adventure? One of the Great Little Trains of Wales runs through the Rheidol Valley, from Aberystwyth to the Cambrian Coast. For over 100 years, it’s been treating passengers to the beautiful scenery of the area.
Vale of Rheidol Railway, Mid Wales
Take a visit to Penybont to see this unique vintage store, tea room and shop. There’s a nostalgic museum, galleries and eating facilities.
This neo-Elizabethan country house is open to all. Step inside to be taken aback by the rich decor and architecture of the time.
Overlooking the Wye and Elan Valleys is this 200-acre family-run working farm. It’s most famous for its Red Kite Feeding Centre, where visitors can watch hundreds of the birds feast on a daily basis.