Polly from Mountain Yoga Breaks, shares her local knowledge of the stunning Elan Valley on the edge of the Cambrian mountains in Wales. Mountain Yoga Breaks are specialists in mountain biking, walking and yoga retreats in mid Wales.
Why the Elan Valley?The Elan Valley in Mid-Wales is one of Waless best kept secrets. It is tucked away on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains and contains a number of reservoirs and dams set in the middle of an area of outstanding beauty. Sometimes referred to at the Welsh Lake District the Elan Valley is rich in wildlife, with steep sided valleys covered in semi-ancient oak woodland and vast expanses of wild open moorland. You will see Red Kites circling overhead as well as many other birds such as Meadow pipits and Wheatears. This area is a Mountain Biking mecca with miles of natural trails all over the hills and valleys – if you want a taste of real mountain biking away from the busyness of trail centres then this is the place to come. You can ride for hours without seeing another living soul – its awesome.Some of the best routes for riding can be found in Mountain Bike Guide Mid-Wales and the Marches by Jon Dixon. Where to eat? There are plenty of places to grab food in the local town of Rhayader, the town is full of pubs and tearooms. Notable places to go are The Strand coffee shop and Bistro – good cakes and coffee, and The Castle which does great Tapas.When to go?The Elan Valley is a great place to go all year round. It tends to be busier during the summer season but its still possible to find solitude as its such a huge space. Spring and Autumn are rather stunning and the Winter is very dramatic.How to get there?The nearest train station is in Llandrindod Wells and then there are regular bus services to Rhayader from there, you can check the timetables here – www.veolia-transport.co.ukOnce in Rhayader the Elan Valley is easily accessible by bike or on foot, there is a wonderful bike path that runs from Rhayader all the way up the Elan Valley. If you are on foot it will take a bit longer mind.Things to Bring?A bike! Local bike hire from http://www.clivepowell-mtb.co.uk/
Plenty of waterproofs! Being the perfect place for lots of reservoirs as you can imagine it does tend to rain a bit there.
The area is covered by OS Landranger Map (1:50 000) Elan Valley & Builth WellsSheet14.