Elan Valley

We had been hoping for a reasonable day to go to see the dams in full flood. It has been so wet this Autumn/ Winter that we knew it would be spectacular.
Yesterday proved to be exactly right but for those of you who have never seen or heard of them, I’d better tell you a little about them.

They are situated just outside Rhayader which is in Central Wales. They consist of huge man made lakes fed by two rivers. The flow is controlled by a series of dams. Their purpose is to supply Birmingham with clean, fresh water.

Elan Valley

Powerful waterfall

In the 19th century, Birmingham was thriving with many industries, it was also a hot bed for many diseases brought about by dirty water. Typhoid, dysentery and cholera were becoming epidemic.

Elan Valley

Superb view

Joseph Chamberlain, the leader of the local council began a campaign to bring the water from the Welsh valleys to Birmingham. The plan had been initiated by a civil engineer, James Mansergh. His plan was to direct the water from the reservoirs, by pipeline which used gravity . The Elan Valley was high enough above sea level for this to happen.

It was a huge undertaking as the pipeline was 72 miles long

The project was officially opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1904.

We have visited the area several times and have seen it in different seasons. When we went last year in the Spring we commented on how low the water was, we could see where the usual level was and there was quite a considerable drop.

Elan Valley

Majestic forest!

It was so different yesterday. As you can see from the pictures, the water was pouring over the dams with so much power. Even from a distance you could hear it. I found it awe inspiring and very beautiful. The surrounding hills and mountains have a beauty of their own in the Winter and we actually saw our first snow of the year on those slopes.

If you have never been and are close enough to get there, it is well worth the journey and is something you are unlikely to forget.

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