Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Llandegfedd Reservoir

View of the reservoir from the south

Ange's cousin Ruth and husband Jon have taken us on several excellent walks in the area around Usk, and this was the latest. Llandegfedd Reservoir was formed by damming and then flooding a river valley and was opened in 1966. It covers an area of 434 acres (1.76 km2) and is managed by Welsh Water's leisure and conservation company – Hamdden. It is run as a country park and offers boating, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing and nature conservancy. And of course walking - we followed the circular Reservoir trail.

We set out from the large car park which is near the bottom of the reservoir and crossed the large dam, from which the picture above was taken. The water was very still, hence the lovely cloud reflections.

At the end of the dam we turned off to the left to climb into woodland. Just before that I took this pic of the outlet from the reservoir.

We turned right at the top of the hill and followed the contour passing some trees that were trying to cope with growing on the hillside.

We emerged into a grassy meadow which offered our first good views of the end of the lake.

At the end of the field we made a short detour to a bird hide. Not much going on, but we did see a Grebe and a couple of Shags. Resuming the path we found that the reservoir had a hitherto invisible arm going off to the east. We could also see some fish pens which were attracting interest from the Shags.

We continued clockwise in a wide arc some way away from the lake itself and came to a magnificent sunken lane which the trees were projecting out into. The striated rock underneath was also clearly visible.

This led to a lane and great views to some of the well-known local mountains. Jon did carefully trell me the name of the peak on the left, but I confess I have forgotten.

Soon we climbed into a splendid beech wood, Twyn y Cryn.

Emerging from this we headed towards Yew Tree Farm with its fine large wooden house.

Emerging from this, we passed the point where water from the River Usk enters the reservoir and entered an area of wonderful flower meadows. Scattered among them were two species of orchid, identified as ... Common Spotted ...

... and Southern Marsh.

These gave way to grassy track by the east edge of the lake, with nice views across to those mountains again.

There was however one more flower meadow and Jon encouraged me to try to get a pic of a single orchid in focus among all the other plants. It was a great idea and this was my best effort.

We paused for refreshments at the visitor centre and returned to the car park.

Conditions: a lovely sunny day.

Distance: 6.25 miles.

Map: Explorer 152 (Newport & Pontypool).

Rating: four stars. Lovely walk, interesting and varied.

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