© 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, £355-£1500 pupw sleeps 2-6

Nannerth Country Holidays

Rhayader

Self-catering with 3 units, £373-£1332 pupw sleeps 2-7

Kilsby House

Llanwrtyd Wells

Bed & Breakfast with 3 rooms, £72-£85 prpnb

Wyevale

Builth Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £425-£995 pupw sleeps 1-4

Yr Hen Stablau

Machynlleth

Self-catering with 1 unit, £370-£680 pupw sleeps 1-6

The Straw Cottage

Llandrindod Wells

Glamping with 1 unit, £500-£860 pupw sleeps 4

Granary Cottage

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £300-£650 pupw sleeps 1-4

Woodlands Caravan & Camping Park

Aberystwyth

Touring & Camping Park with 54 pitches, £12-£29 ptpn

Ty Poeth Family Holiday Cottages

Machynlleth

Self-catering with 5 units, £450-£1300 pupw sleeps 1-5

Kilsby Cottage

Llanwrtyd Wells

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

The Bell Country Inn

Llandrindod Wells

Inn with 9 rooms, £110-£130 prpnb

Drovers Retreat

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £94-£162 pupn sleeps 1-6

Bryncoch Holidays

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 3 units, £120-£200 pupn sleeps 1-7

Mid Wales Breaks / Cwmllechwedd Fawr B&B

Llandrindod Wells

Guest Accommodation with 3 rooms, £105-£120 prpnb

Seven Stars Self-Catering

Llandrindod Wells

Self-catering with 1 unit, £100-£185 pupn sleeps 1-4

Gwerniago Campsite

Machynlleth

Touring & Camping Park with 33 pitches, £20-£25 ptpn

The Pines Caravan Park

Llandrindod Wells

Holiday Park with 30 units, £85 pupn sleeps 1-8

Ty Derw

Dinas-Mawddwy

Guest Accommodation with 4 rooms, £50-£60 pppnb

Murmur Aeron

Tregaron

Self-catering with 1 unit, £605-£785 pupw sleeps 1-6

Highbury Farm

Llandrindod Wells

Bed & Breakfast with 2 rooms, £37-£38 pppnb

What to Do In The Cambrian Mountains

RSPB Carngafallt Nature Reserve

Elan Valley, Glanfaron, Rhayader, LD6 5HW

RSPB Carngafallt in the Elan Valley is a wonderful place to see birds or simply enjoy the view. The moorland landscape looks especially colourful in late summer, while spring is the perfect time to come and see migrant birds.

Hafren Forest (NRW)

Near Llanidloes, Wales

Choice of walking trails along the River Severn which flows through Hafren Forest. Trails go to waterfalls and the source of the Severn on Pumlumon. Riverside accessible trail with viewing platform over cascades. Picnic area and toilets.

Ian Snow - Machynlleth

The Old Post Office, 8 Maengwyn Street, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8AF

Ian Snow started his business in 1978 selling from a trestle table on Machynlleth market. Since these early days it's now grown into three shops and a small wholesale business, with the main shop situated in Machynlleth.

Dyfi Forest (NRW)

Gwynedd, SY20 8QJ

The Dyfi Forest is located mainly to the north of the Afon Dyfi between Dolgellau to the north and Machynlleth to the south. Dyfi is a 6000ha forest - a spectacular landscape well worth exploring.

RSPB Ynys-hir Nature Reserve

RSPB Ynys-hir Reserve, Eglwys-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.

Llandrindod Wells Golf Club

Clubhouse, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 5NY

The course was designed by six times open champion Harry Vardon, and altered some years later by James Braid, to produce, essentially, the superb course of 18 challenging holes, almost 5800 yards in length (par 69), that you see today.

The Metropole Hotel

Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 5DY

The Metropole can host small meetings for six people as easily as a large conference of 300. There are 14 separate function rooms available and our variety of room size allows almost any configuration of seating.

Centre For Alternative Technology

Llwyngwern Quarry, Pantperthog, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ

Nestled in the stunning UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere in Mid Wales, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is a world-renowned eco centre that researches and supports greener ways of living. Now open for pre-booked visits.

Mountain Bike Wales

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

Mountain Bike Wales guide you on a journey through some of the most beautiful, wild and remote landscapes you can ride. Your adventure and experiences will live long in the memory, leaving you with a longing to return to Wales...

Devil's Bridge Falls

Devils Bridge, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3JW

Devil's Bridge Falls, 12 miles from Aberystwyth, is a spectacular waterfall attraction and nature trails in the heart of the Mid Wales Cambrian Mountains. It is one of the 'Must See' natural features in Wales.

Denmark Farm Conservation Centre

Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Betws Bledrws, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 8PB

The Denmark Farm Conservation Trust near Lampeter is a unique conservation centre pioneering the restoration of biodiversity to Britain's farmed countryside.

Cwm Elan | Elan Valley & Visitor Centre

Nr Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5HP

The Elan Valley Estate in Powys, Mid Wales is truly epic and sprawls over 72 square miles, making up 1% of the whole of Wales! The area is designated as an International Dark Sky Park.

Corris Craft Centre

Corris, nr Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9RF

Discover quality craftsmanship & the unique stories behind the handmade designs in 9 unique craft studios. Pottery, jewellery, artwork, candles, chocolates, leather & wool, glass sculptures, furniture & Dyfi Distillery gin are all crafted.

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.

National Wool Museum

Dre-fach Felindre, Near Newcastle Emlyn, Llandysul, SA44 5UP

A working record of a great industry - see the traditional methods of making Welsh flannel, cloth and shawls.

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.

Hafod Forest

Devil's Bridge, Nr Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UR

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

Dyfi Wildlife Centre

Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8SR

The new Dyfi Wildlife Centre in the heart of the UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere is in a a stunning new building with leading-edge ‘carbon positive’ energy performance.

Bwlch Nant yr Arian

Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3AB

Perched on a hilltop near Aberystwyth, Bwlch Nant yr Arian is famous for feeding red kites daily. Range of waymarked walking, mountain biking, running and horse-riding trails and a mountain bike skills park. Café, shop and play area.

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.

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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