After our recent lowland hike around the gorgeous Cwm Idwal, we were on the lookout for another lowland, family-friendly hike, where we could let the kids explore safely without risking the weather and conditions associated with winter mountain routes. Consequently, we decided to take a drive down to Powys to explore Lake Vyrnwy and one of its many trails. Was it worth the pretty long journey? Of course it was!
Built in the 1880s to supply water to the good people of Liverpool, Lake Vyrnwy is a large reservoir that is currently managed by the RSPB and Severn Trent Water. The lake itself is four and half miles (7.2km) long and half a mile (0.8km) wide. As well as hiking trails, there are cycling routes, fishing permits available, canoeing opportunities and birdwatching, all either on or around the lake
There are five official hiking trails to choose from at Lake Vyrnwy. Two of them begin from the car park located near the dam, with the other three being dotted around various other parts of the lake. As we wanted the kids to walk as much of it as possible, we chose the Craig Garth Bwlch trail, which is just 3 miles (4.8km).
Despite the fact that it has two hills, our 4-year-old explorer managed it brilliantly, just needing a helping carry-up one very short but steep section. Other than that, he walked the entire trail. Even our two year old managed to explore many of the sections on foot. As such, we’d really recommend this trail to those of you with young children.
Parking near the spectacular dam, we made our way past the RSPB Visitor Centre and craft shops and soon found ourselves making an easy but steady climb up towards the forest section. Once out of the forest, the landscape opens up in front of you and you get some lovely panoramic views across the local moorlands. After one more short but sharp climb, you’ll descend back down from the highest point of the walk. As you descend, sections of the trail open out again, this time offering great views back over towards the dam and lake.
As this is a circular walk, it brought us right back to the car park near the dam. We’d timed it just right as we intended to walk around the lake a little and enjoy a spot of lunch lakeside. We sat, fired up the stove and enjoyed some lunch while the kids skimmed stones. We literally could have sat there all day.
Lake Vyrnwy is simply stunning. With a variety of trails to suit different interests and abilities, it really does make for a great day out. Furthermore, with the RSPB Visitor Centre on-site together with a sculpture park, it’s more than just a place to walk. Next time we’re there, we’re going to head for the waterfall trail and see if we can get out onto the lake in a canoe for a spot of lunch.