A beautiful reservoir with Gothic-style damn that’s great to visit year-round
Situated at the edge of Snowdonia National Park and to the south of Bala Lake, Lake Vyrnwy is surrounded by the Berwyn Mountains, and boasts waterfalls, rolling countryside and an impressive dam, making it a picturesque and inspiring destination.
The tranquil spot is a haven for walkers and bird watchers, as the surrounding 24,000-acre RSPB Reserve is etched with walks and trails to explore and there are lake-side hides from which you can watch the local wildlife. But Lake Vyrnwy also offers a wide range of activities to keep outdoorsy types entertained, with water sports, cycling, fly fishing, clay pigeon shooting and horse riding all available in the surrounding area. There are local craft shops to browse, too, and quality accommodation within easy reach.
The lake came to be when the city council of Liverpool were looking for an appropriate site for a new reservoir to cater for their expanding population.
They turned their attention to the village of Llanwddyn, and decided to dam the River Vyrnwy at a point below the village.
Work began in July 1881 to create what was to be the first large masonry dam in Britain and the largest artificial reservoir in Europe at that time – commemorated by a stone laid at the northern end of the dam. The existing homes were demolished and a new village was built next to the dam.
Between the late 19th century and 1930, a 26,000-acre estate was purchased, and extensive coniferous forests were planted around the lake, creating the beauty spot that we can enjoy today.
AT A GLANCE
Food and drink – There are two cafés close to the dam – Artisans (tel: 01691 870317; www.artisans-lakevyrnwy.co.uk) and The Old Barn Café (tel: 01691 870377; www.oldbarncafe.com) – both of which also hire out bikes for cycling around the lake. Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa (tel: 01691 870692; www.lakevyrnwy.com) has two restaurants and a pub and serves afternoon teas. Dafarn Newydd Stores (tel: 01691 870211; dafarnnewyddstores.wales) sells takeaway meals as well as groceries.
Dogs – There are numerous walks for dogs and their owners to enjoy around the lake.
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