Eight of us plus Ben the Cavalier spaniel enjoyed a much welcome break from the unsettled weather for our ramble in the Elan watershed. We started out using cycle route 81 from the visitors centre, soon passing the attractive Bethania Baptist Chapel tucked below the Rhayader road, built in 1900 for the dam workers to replace the one of same name submerged during the construction of Caban Coch reservoir. Soon we were heading through Llanfadog farm with Neal very happy to see that the Pied Wagtail previously seen trapped in a derelict car a few days back had now managed its great escape. 

The walk then opened up onto beautiful upland countryside passing several aqueducts that channel the drinking water by gravity alone all the way towards Birmingham – albeit at a mere 2mph. Joining a footpath that traces the bubbling Nant Madog on one side and some attractive oak woodland on the other, we eventually reached the isolated cottage of Nant yr Haidd, now vacant but sitting in a very desirable location nestled below the craggy outcrops of Pen y Bwlch. Here we paused for coffee enjoying the excellent views as discussion took on what might be involved in a refurbishing project of this little gem. Refreshed, on our way again now across heather moorland heading towards Wenrhydd.  It was comfortable walking with no Molinia in sight.

Cambrian-mountains-Carreg-bicaDescending into Y Glog Fawr, we began our return route with a gentle diversion up to the very breezy unmarked summit of Carreg y Bica, pausing at its cairn to admire the excellent panoramic views towards Rhayader and beyond to Abbeycwmhir and Llandrindod Wells. Hastily dropping off the summit out of the wind, we found a sheltered grassy spot for lunch. Pretty stonechats flitted amongst the heather.

During the last leg of the walk, we passed some wild cherry trees in fine blossom including a ‘county champion’ (Lorna remarked) which had made its home in a small hollow and is definitely worthy of some closer examination and a photo.

Champion Wild cherry Cwm Elan