Powys - Elan Valley - Y Foel Walk (5 miles)

DISCLAIMER: All Information here is provided for information only. No responsibility can be accepted for errors or  omissions. No-one should attempt to undertake this walk without the appropriate Hill walking experience, detailed Ordnance Survey maps and knowledge of navigation techniques and equipment. To the best of my knowledge there is no danger involved in this walk, but if in any doubt, DO NOT attempt this walk.

Download the GPS route here (GPSU Format) ** Please let me know if you have problems with this download

The waypoints given in the file (yfo001 to yfo025) relate to those show on the outline map below.

This is a 5 mile circular walk in the beautiful Elan Valley taking in the Y Foel geocache (GCJ68W). The longest part of the walk (yfo001-yfo010 and yfo022-025) is along the Elan Valley cycle path which is an easy going almost level track. The remainder (yfo010 to 020) is quite a substantial walk to an altitude of 450m over Y Foel requiring good walking boots or shoes. The path is waymarked but you have to keep your eyes peeled to see the markings. Although the walk is not far into the hills, it does require great care and consideration for hill walking safety. If in any doubt, please DO NOT follow this walk, particularly if the visibility is not good.

Please note that the walk from yfo014 to yfo022 does not follow the path marked on the OS landranger map but it does follow the waymarked path.


Walk Description

1. Start from the Caban Coch Dam Car park, situated immediately opposite the lower dam in the Elan Valley. If you have difficulty locating this - DON'T ATTEMPT THE WALK!! :-)

2. Walk across through the little iron gate over the road to the dam and look at the information boards. If you're lucky and its been raining heavily previously, you'll be able to see (and hear!) the spectacle of the water overflowing the dam and cascading down its face.

3. Follow the cycle track to the right into the valley, passing the submerged Garreg Ddu Dam and road bridge (near yfo004). Here you'll see the Foel Tower, where the water flows by gravity all the way to Frankley Reservoir in Birmingham. Continue along the cycle track beside the reservoirs until you reach a small gate by an information board about local birdlife.

Go through the gate and continue up the road

4. Go through the gate and walk in the same direction along the road until you reach a waymarked footpath leading uphill.

turn right uphill at the waymarked path

4. Walk up this steep, relentless but obvious path until it crosses a small stream. The geocache location (GCJ68W) is before you cross the stream! As you walk down to the stream, be assured that the worst of the climb is now over. There is only a gentle climb up to the ridge from here.

Approaching the stream

the stream from near the cache

5. Follow the obvious path up away to the right from the stream. Spot the slate slabs of a now exposed ancient grave about half way up the path.

6. At the waymarked post, turn right across the moorland.

7. As you approach the ridge, you'll see an obvious path to the summit of Y Foel. If you decide to walk the short distance to the top (not given in the route), come back to this point to continue the walk.

8. Follow the less obvious path which hugs the side of a rocky bank slowly round to the left. There are waymarks but they are very rare so look carefully for the posts.

9. Hug the right hand slopes and lookout for the waymarker posts.

10. Head down to a farm track and turn left towards a gate

11. Don't go through the gate but turn right heading slightly downhill.

12 Continue downhill, following the obvious path through bracken towards a wooden gate until another good path leads off to the right.

13. Take this path down to a steel gate.

13. Go through the gate and go down along the fence behind the waterworks , down the steps onto the road.

14. Cross the road and follow the cycle track past the visitor centre entrance and back up to the Caban Coch car park.