Lake Vyrnwy is set in the mountains of mid-Wales amongst 23,000 acres of forest, farms, waterfalls, meadows, and heather moorland. Arriving at the lake, you can drive over the dam to the far side. The power and sound of the water thundering over are mesmerising.
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A drive circles the lake. Picnic areas, short and long trails, and three bird hides are on offer. Some of the birds on view at the lake are the great crested grebe, goosander, mallards, common sandpiper, and cormorants. The surrounding heather moorland features red and black grouse, hen harrier, and merlin and others. These birds are best viewed from the roadside as the moorland is a fragile environment. The local conifer forest is home to goshawk, crossbill, siskin, buzzard, raven and nightjar.
There are canoes and sailing dinghies for hire as well as cycles. Trout fishing is available. There is a sculpture trail with roadside lay-bys and information points.
At the visitor centre is an exhibition on the Severn Trent Water who own the lake, created in the 1880s to provide Liverpool with water. It reaches there through an aqueduct network of 68 miles. When the dam was built it flooded the village of Llanwddyn. The ruins of the village are still under the water—in a dry summer they can sometimes be seen.
An RSPB shop with further information is at the visitor centre. Coffee and tea are available.
Lake Vyrnwy is on the B4393, off the A490 at Llanfyllin, and north of Welshpool.
Mailing address: Bryn Awel, Llanwddyn, Oswestry, Salop SYIO OLZ
Tel. 0 1691 870 278
Open: Reserve is open site; Visitor Centre, shop: April-end Oct, daily, 10.30am-5.30pm; Nov-end March, daily, 10.30am-4pm