Llangorse Lake, Powys


Bird hide with conical roof
Eurasian coots

The second largest natural lake in Wales, scenically situated in a glacial basin surrounded by hills. Home to many birds and fish, and containing an ancient artificial island
South of the village of Llangorse, 7 miles from Brecon; LD3 7TR
Llangorse Lake is the second largest natural lake in Wales, behind only Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) - there are plenty of other larger bodies of water in the country but all are reservoirs, artificially constructed. Llangorse occupies a shallow glacial basin, surface elevation 505 feet, near the upper end of the Afon Lynn river, five miles east of Brecon and just within the northern edge of Brecon Beacons National Park.

Besides its large size, and the peaceful, scenic aspect, with the hills of the national park rising to the south, the lake is also notable for its historic associations, being oft-mentioned in Welsh folklore, and containing an artificial island, or crannog, the only such example in Wales, thought to have been constructed in the eighth century. The lake is a renowned fishing location, especially for pike, and is home to a large population of birds. Water voles and otters may also be spotted. It is also a site of special scientific interest.

Much of the shoreline is marshy and not so accessible; activities are concentrated at the one developed site, on the north side, where facilities include several piers, boat rentals, a birdwatching hide and a short path along the shoreline. Parking is free.

Llangorse Lake has a maximum depth of 25 feet, a shoreline of 3 miles and an area of 340 acres. The water is eutropic, containing enhanced levels of minerals and nutrients, and hence supports abundant fish and other wildlife. A narrow ridge separates the lake from the River Usk a short distance south; the Afon Lynn, which flows in and out of the lake, takes a rather different course, heading north and joining the River Wye, unlike the Usk which flows south.

The Lake

One road reaches the south shore of the lake, to the tiny settlement of Llangasty Tal-y-llyn (site of a small nature reserve), though shoreline access here is very limited. A path heads west, halfway round the lake, staying about 500 feet from the water, to the developed area, along a road from Llangorse. This passes a caravan site and a cafe, and ends at a parking place, near the water's edge. To one side, beyond a small wooded peninsula, is Llangorse Sailing Club, while to the other are the various visitor facilities including a wooden pier that leads to a circular bird hide with a distinctive conical roof. The crannog, the ancient artificial island, is close by, 120 feet from the shoreline, and recent investigations have shown it to be constructed with layers of stone and brash, encircled by oak beams, covered in soil, and now topped by a thicket of trees. It was thought once to support a royal palace.

Panorama of the lake
Panorama of the lake, including the crannog