Our guide to holidays in Rhayader...
Would you look at that view…? The market town of Rhayader’s the first town on the banks of the River Wye, and it’s a popular base for exploring the nearby Elan Valley and the Claerwen Valleys. So traditionally Welsh that you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a postcard, Rhayader’s perfect for those of you keen to spend long days in your walking boots, enjoying the scenery that’s made the area famous.
Now we don’t quite know for sure, but Rhayader’s said to be the oldest town in Mid Wales, and that means there’s plenty of history to explore right on your doorstep on those days when you don’t fancy venturing far. Rhayader sits almost at the foot of the Cambrian mountains, and the stretch of road that links the historic town to Aberystwyth is said to be one of the world’s prettiest, so if you’re taking the car, we say make sure you drive this stretch at least once.
Places to visit in Rhayader
You’ll have heard of the Elan Valley even if you’ve yet to step out of the car and look up at the scenery while it takes your breath away, and it’s just a few short miles from Rhayader. Top of the list of places to visit in Rhayader, this has got to be one of the UK’s prettiest corners. We’re talking reservoirs that seem to stretch on for miles, sloping woodland that changes colour with the seasons and dams that add a dramatic air to the views.
You’ll be free to pick your patch and stroll your socks off, and every time you turn a corner you’ll see a new scene that’ll have you reaching for your camera. The river Elan’s home to four imposing dams, but Craig Goch’s said to be the most striking one to visit. Usually called ‘the top dam’, this one’s 317m above sea level, , and the narrow roadway that glides across the top of it is gracefully supported by a curving wall and a series of arches.
While you’re making your way around the dams, make sure you take in the formidable sight of Pen-y-garreg, often called ‘the middle dam’. One of the most photographed sights in the valley, water cascades its way down the valley at this point, and we love the fact that there’s a tunnel that leads to the central tower.
Things to do in Rhayader
There’s no doubt about it, there’s no end of things to do in Rhayader if you’re feeling full of the spirit of adventure. For one thing, the surrounding countryside could have been made for mountain biking, and what a place to get the kids feeling confident on two wheels and enjoying the Great Outdoors. The Elan Valley’s got itself a pretty strong reputation for its natural mountain biking trails, and with all those valley descents and sun-dappled woodlands it’s an exhilarating way to experience the region.
There’s a lot to be said for exploring the region on two feet though, so if you prefer to pop your walking boots on and see where your feet take you, make sure you head to the spectacular Elan Valley to experience views you’ll never forget.
There’s one thing you must keep your eyes peeled for during your Rhayader holiday, and that’s the unofficial Welsh national bird – the Red Kite. Almost extinct, and tangled up in all kinds of romantic myths and legend, these spectacular birds are often spotted soaring the skies above the region, and they make a beautiful sight. So, if you’re going to be out and about with the kids we say make a game of spotting them while you’re enjoying your adventures.