Mountain-ringed Lake Vyrnwy, with its spooky water tower, is the most dramatic and atmospheric of Wales's many reservoirs.
Nearly five miles of eerie and truly satisfying intrigue are granted to the visitor of Snowdonia’s Lake Vyrnwy. Not only is it dressed in natural beauty, it has a deeply alluring past. The dam that created the lake, completed in 1888, submerged the whole village of Llanwddyn. At times when the water level drops far enough, during dry summers, the ruins of the old village reappear!
The lake’s bounty stretches from the past into the present whatever activity you engage in. Like the geography of the mountains before it, the dam’s water tower stands firm as a reminder of the region’s transformation through time.
Today the lake and surrounding area are open to a vast array of activity. If you’ve never tried it before hire a tandem bike around the Lake, or go fishing. With lots of potential walks and wildlife there are plenty of other activities to explore here.
In 1881 the Corporation of Liverpool began work on relocating the former village of Llanwddyn. A giant masonry dam was assembled there for the purpose of creating a new fresh water supply for their city.
The Corporation purchased a 24,000-acre catchment area around the lake to control the water’s purity. By doing this they were also able to greatly enhance the scenic beauty of the area.
The water first surged towards Liverpool in 1891 after taking two years to fill the dam. HRH the Prince of Wales marked the completion of the works in an official ceremony in 1910.
A hotel was also built to accommodate the great deal of sightseers, engineers and dignitaries who came to see what was then the largest dam in Europe. Now you and your family can enjoy this evocative sporting estate.
16,000 acres of moor and woodland around the lake are managed by the RSPB. The wide variety of birds in the area reflects the diversity of the scenic landscape.
Explore a variety of these habitats during your visit and you can spot dippers and kingfishers in the rocky streams. Ravens and buzzards can also be found in the surrounding moorland.
Common sandpipers, goosanders, great crested grebes and mallards are also around. In wintertime there are small numbers of pochards, teals and tufted ducks. Cormorants grace the lake with their presence all year round.
There are many sporting activities here including fishing, walking and bird watching. You can sit around the lake’s edge and contemplate the 400,000 Loch Leven trout that were placed in the lake in 1889, and what it must have been like at the first official day of fishing here in March 1891.
There is a delightful Lake Vyrnwy Sculpture Trail, a fun way to help visitors find artwork by local sculptors and international artists.
Keen runners can also time a visit for the Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon in the autumn.
As long as visitors keep to the main route around the lake, there is a road that is open to visitors to walk, cycle or drive around. And at the lakeside and in the Artisan car park you will find the bird hides open.
The Craft Shops, Tearooms, RSPB and Visitor Centre are also open to all.