© Dafydd Wyn Morgan/Cambrian Mountains Initiative
© Dafydd Wyn Morgan/Cambrian Mountains Initiative

Cambrian Mountains

Dark sky stargazing, nature reserves and taking time out to appreciate the little things… From Machynlleth to Llandovery, The Cambrian Mountains are waiting for you.

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© Dafydd Wyn Morgan/Cambrian Mountains Initiative

Dark Skies & The Cambrian Mountains

 

Cambrian Mountains

& Dark Skies

Dark sky stargazing, nature reserves and taking time out to appreciate the little things… From Machynlleth to Llandovery, The Cambrian Mountains are waiting for you.

Less than 10% of the UK population are able to open their curtains and get lost in the true wonders of a dark sky, experiencing thousands of stars and the Milky Way without interruption. So with 467 square miles of the darkest skies in Europe, we’re a pretty big deal.

The Elan Valley Reserve of Mid Wales has been given a Silver tier International Dark Sky Park award for its opportunities to stargaze. With over 9 Discovery sites, it’s real difficult to find anywhere with better clarity in the UK.

Dark Sky status protects our wildlife and plants, aiding everything natural from migration to breeding, but it’s not just the environment that benefits... As well as its appearance, stargazing is perfect for your health and wellbeing.

Exposure to artificial light throws out our natural body clock and can affect sleep, mood and overall health. By spending time in natural darkness we can help ourselves reset this clock and get back into a natural rhythm.

Unforgettable views, authentic wellbeing and body resets. What a dream.

If you're planning to get involved with some dark skies action, then please read the 'Adventure Smart' guide below

Adventure Smart 

Towns in the Cambrian Mountains

Elan Valley

Rhayader & Elan Valley

Rhayader, the first town on the River Wye, is said to be the oldest in mid Wales. Sitting in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains at the upper end of the Elan Valley, Rhayader has a long history as a market town.

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Devils Bridge

Tregaron & Devils Bridge

Devils Bridge is internationally famous for its waterfalls and narrow gauge Steam Railway. The village is situated at the head of the Rheidol Valley amidst the Pumlumon massif in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains. Nearby Pen Pumlumon Fawr, at 752 metres (2,467ft) is the highest peak in the Cambrian Mountains Range and the area is well-known for its forest and mountain walks.

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Llanidloes

Llanidloes & Clywedog Dam

For such a small town it punches well above its weight, home to the Hafren Forest, Llyn Clywedog and situated in the Cambrian Mountains, Llanidloes has a way of making you feel like you are a million miles from the noisy congested streets of everyday life when you’re only an hour from the Wales/England border.

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Scenic Drives through the cambrian Mountains

Bwlch y Groes Mountain Pass | Scenic Drive

Dinas-Mawddwy

Bwlch y Groes (Pass of the Cross) is one of the highest public road mountain passes in Wales. The route lies on minor roads linking Dinas Mawddwy, Llanuwchllyn and Lake Vyrnw with views across the Dyfi valley and Cadair Idris

Llanidloes to Machynlleth | Scenic Drive

Llanidloes

Explore the 20 mile mountain road from Llanidloes to Machynlleth, via Clywedog Reservoir. Wonderful views and take in the former lead mining community of Dylife and the Dylife Gorge and Wynford Vaughan-Thomas viewing point.

Rhayader to Devil's Bridge | Scenic Drive

Rhayader

Described by the AA as “one of the 10 best scenic drives in the world”, expect spectacular scenery as you travel the watershed of the Cambrian Mountains,

Places to Stay In the Cambrian Mountains

Little Welsh Getaways

Rhayader

Self-catering with 5 units, £339-£1045 pupw sleeps 2-6

The Bell Country Inn

Llandrindod Wells

Inn with 9 rooms, £95-£130 prpnb

Yr Hen Stablau

Machynlleth

Self-catering with 1 unit, £370-£650 pupw sleeps 1-6

Woodlands Caravan & Camping Park

Aberystwyth

Touring & Camping Park with 54 pitches, £12-£27 ptpn

Ty Derw

Dinas-Mawddwy

Guest Accommodation with 4 rooms, £50 pppnb

Nannerth Country Holidays

Rhayader

Self-catering with 3 units, £330-£1332 pupw sleeps 2-7

Welsh Hideaways

Aberystwyth

Self-catering with 2 units, £350-£795 pupw sleeps 1-6

Cwm Irfon Lodge Holiday Cottages

Llanwrtyd Wells

Self-catering with 4 units, £400-£600 pupw sleeps 1-5

Drovers Retreat

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £94-£159 pupn sleeps 1-6

Gwynfan

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £100-£1300 pupw sleeps 2-6

Murmur Aeron

Tregaron

Self-catering with 1 unit, £531-£753 pupw sleeps 1-6

Rhoslwyn

Lampeter

Self-catering with 1 unit, £442-£564 pupw sleeps 1-3

Kilsby Cottage

Llanwrtyd Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £65-£105 pupn sleeps 2-5

The Pines Caravan Park

Llandrindod Wells

Holiday Park with 30 units, £595-£900 pupw sleeps 1-8

The Straw Cottage

Llandrindod Wells

Glamping with 1 unit, £500-£820 pupw sleeps 4

Granary Cottage

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £300-£550 pupw sleeps 1-4

The Yat

Llandrindod Wells

Guest Accommodation with 2 rooms, £90-£99 prpnb

Ty Poeth Family Holiday Cottages

Machynlleth

Self-catering with 5 units, £360-£485 pupw sleeps 1-5

Cwm Edw

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £180-£450 pupw sleeps 1-4

Seven Stars Self-Catering

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £90-£175 pupn sleeps 1-4

What to Do In The Cambrian Mountains

Elan Valley Estate

Elan Estate Office, Elan Village, RHAYADER, Powys, LD6 5HP

The Elan Estate attracts more than 400,000 visitors annually. Many people come to enjoy the peace and quiet, some come for the wildlife and scenery, whilst others take part in more active pursuits.

Willow Globe Theatre

Llanwrthwl, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 6NN

This unique nature trail brings Shakespeare's words to life as it links his words back to the animals and plants which inspired them; while taking you on a memorable journey along this magical and enchanting trail.

Builth Wells Golf Club

Golf Links Road, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3NF

Picturesque, easy walking parkland golf course, 18 holes, a good golfing test for all abilities.

Yamaha Off Road Experience

Glynhafren, Old Hall, Llanidloes, Powys, SY18 6PS

Yamaha Off Road Experience in Mid Wales offer something for everyone - off road tryout for a complete novice to top level national enduro riders who want help to improve their skills and take them to the next level.

RSPB Ynys-hir Nature Reserve

RSPB Ynys-hir Reserve, Eglyws-fach, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8TA

The RSPB Ynys-Hir nature reserve is a wildlife haven in the heart of Mid Wales. You can wonder from oak woodlands to salt marsh with views across the Dyfi estuary. Perfect for nature lovers & families wishing to discover their wild side.

Fishing @ Elan Valley Reservoir & Rivers

Nr Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5HP

Elan Valley Reservoirs and Dams are situated in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains, 3 miles west of Rhayader. Each of these reservoirs support an abundance of wild brown trout and are also stocked. Fly fishing only.

Royal Welsh Showground

Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3SY

Location of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society at Llanelwedd and the venue for a number of events throughout the year, including the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show.

The Bell Country Inn

Llanyre, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 6DY

The Bell Country Inn restaurant menu reflects the emphasis on locally sourced ingredients producing fresh flavours that Wales has to offer.

Y Plas Machynlleth

Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8ER

A grade II listed Georgian mansion. Formerly the home of the Marquess of Londonderry, the property was left to the people of Machynlleth in 1948 and eventually aquired by Machynlleth Town Council in 2008.

Rhiannon Centre

Main Square, Tregaron, Ceredigion, SY25 6JL

The Rhiannon Centre is an outstanding showcase of all that is best in Welsh jewellery, arts and crafts. Includes a special jewellery showroom and purpose built display workshops where you can watch our jewellers at work.

Hafren Forest (NRW)

Llanidloes, Powys, UK

The Hafren Forest takes its name from the River Severn, the Afon Hafren in Welsh, which takes its rise about a mile from the western boundary of the forest, high up on the slopes of Pumlumon, the highest mountain in Mid Wales.

Cilgwyn Golf Club

Llangybi, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 8NN

This nine-hole course sits in a secluded valley and is very picturesque. It's a flat parkland lay-out but the trees, ponds and streams give you plenty to think about as you try and plot your way around the course.

Hafod Forest (NRW)

Nr Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UR

The Hafod Forest occupies some 200 hectares of the Ystwyth valley and surrounding hills.

Fantasy Farm Park

Hafod Peris, Llanrhystud, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 5DA

Fantasy Farm Park is situated in the heart of the beautiful Mid-Wales countryside. It has all the fun of the farm, plus a Petting area, an outdoor Play Area, pedal boats, tractor rides and lots more.

Mountain Bike Wales

The Lodge, Staylittle, Llanbrynmair, Powys, SY19 7BU

Mountain Bike Wales don't just take you on a day out, they take you on a journey through some of the most beautiful, wild and remote landscapes you can ride in Wales.

Cors Caron Nature Reserve (NRW)

Tregaron, Ceredigion, SY25 6JF

Cors Caron National Nature Reserve is a vast area of wetland one of the two remaining large remnants of active raised bog in Wales. It is an important refuge for plants, insects, birds and mammals.

Parc Penrhos | Penrhos Park

Llanrhystud, nr Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 5AY

Parc Penrhos is a family owned leisure & holiday complex with hotel & holiday park accommodation, restaurant & golf club with immaculate 18 hole course & 9 hole academy course situated between Aberystwyth & Aberaeron.

Quackers Indoor Play Centre

Newmead Farm, Newbridge-on-Wye, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 6HR

Quackers is a childrens play centre and facilities include a cafeteria, themed party rooms, an astro slide, a tube slide, a maze, roller racers, a rope bridge, ball pool and many other exciting features.

Y Crochan Cafe

Corris, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9RF

Our all-day menu features lots of fresh, seasonal and local produce. Call in for morning coffee, lunches and afternoon tea whilst enjoying the surrounding 9 Craft Studios and a range of visitor experiences including King Arthur's Labyrinth.

Nannerth Country Holidays

Nannerth Fawr, Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5HA

We have a small private nature reserve on our 200 acre organic farm adjoining the Elan Valley and next to the River Wye. Many birds breed here including redstart, pied flycatcher, barn owl and dipper. Mammals include watervole and badgers.

Cambrian Mountains & Elan Valley Dark Sky Guide

New to stargazing? no problem. The guide plots the best stargazing spots in the Cambrian Mountains and also some handy tips on what to look out for!

 

Download Guide

 

 

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