Here’s what the Lonely Planet – Great Britain chapter on Hay-On-Wye and Mid Wales has to say the Elan Valley:
Rhayader is a small livestock-market town revolving around a central crossroads marked by a war-memorial clock. It’s a place that appeals to walkers visiting the nearby Elan Valley and tackling the 136-mile Wye Valley Walk.
Rest assured, you won’t be enduring any Dickensian treatment at this former workhouse. There’s an attractive range of rooms, some with four-poster beds, some with exposed beams, but all with leafy outlooks over the River Wye and Elan Valley.
In the early 19th century, dams were built on the River Elan (pronounced el-len), west of Rhayader, with a fourth large dam following in 1952 on the tributary River Claerwen. Together they provide over 264 million litres of water daily for Birmingham and parts of South and Mid-Wales and 4.2 megawatts of hydroelectric power. The need to protect the 70-sq-mile watershed has turned it
into an important wildlife conservation area.
Located just downstream of the lowest dam is Welsh Water’s Elan Valley Visitor Centre, with interesting exhibits on the scheme and leaflets on the estate’s 80 miles of nature trails and footpaths. The Elan Valley Trail is an 8-mile traffic-free walking, horse riding and cycling path that mostly follows the line of the long-gone Birmingham Corporation Railway alongside the River Elan and its reservoirs.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD