Walk to the source of the River Severn - or choose from numberous walks including waterfalls.
Now spanning some 40 square kilometres of upland, commercial foresting commenced at Hafren in 1937 with the planting of pine and spruce trees in an area where once there were only sheep and a handful of deserted lead mine workings.
Though still very much a commercial enterprise producing timber for manufacture into pulp for news print, chipboard, pallets, fencing and the construction industry, the forty to fifty year felling cycle allows Natural Resources Wales to manage Hafren as a habitat for wildlife and for the quiet, relaxing enjoyment of visitors. Landscape design plans allow for vigorous growth of newly felled and planted areas, while special open riparian zones along the Severn and its tributaries, partially planted with broad leaved trees, help to ensure the continued health of the streams and make them an excellent habitat for a host of flora and fauna.
Mosses and grasses thrive on the river banks, with tormentil, marsh violets and bog asphodel raising their heads in the summer months. The forest is a haven for birds, with buzzards, goshawks and the rare red kite often to be seen overhead. Merlin and sparrowhawks inhabit the edges of the forest, whilst the blue flash of jays can often be seen deeper in amongst the trees. The seeds of the cones from the pine and aromatic spruce trees attract flocks of crossbills, which can be seen feeding high up in the tree tops. In the felled and newly planted areas of the forest, the young trees are an ideal habitat for the nightjar. In the numerous streams, dippers, frogs, toads and other amphibians abound, while the Severn and its tributaries contain nearly every native species of freshwater fish and are home to the spawning grounds of migratory salmon.
Natural Resources Wales have created a number of different trails along the Severn and through the towering pine and spruce trees. All four routes are circular and are focused around the picnic area and toilet facilities at Rhyd-y-benwch, just seven miles from Llanidloes. In addition, the numerous forestry tracks and roads are also excellent terrain for the cyclist.
The Cascades Walk is a half mile long trail, ideal for all ages and abilities, which was designed in partnership with local disabled associations. A shady zig-zag path leads you down to an all ability boardwalk along the riverbank to the Cascades Falls where a raised platform with picnic bench where you can take in the view.
disabled parking for two cars
disabled toilets (open Easter to October)
In Llanidloes town centre, face the Market Hall from Great Oak Street and take Short Bridge Street directly opposite. Follow the narrow road to Old Hall and then on to the Rhyd-y-benwch car park.
The Rhyd-y-benwch car park can also be reached from the northern end of Llyn Clywedog on minor roads.
The nearest train station is in Caersws
The OS grdi refis SN 857 869