Elan Valley Past and Present

The Elan Valley

The Elan Valley lays in the Heart Of Wales, near Rhayader, The Elan Valley which is well known for it's spectular dams and reservoirs, the estate covers 72 square miles of mainly open moorland.


Human activity in the Elan Valley goes back to at least 3000BC, remains of a Neoltithic chambered tomb can be seen on Beddau Folau. The upland areas which surround the reservoirs are scattered with Bronze Age burial cairns and standing stones. A Roman marching camp can be found on Esgair Perfedd. In Medievial times the area formed part of the Cwmdeuddwr Grange which was owned by Strata Flordia Abbey. A few remains can still be seen including a rabbit warren on Esgair Y Ty. There are still remains of the Post-Medievial times including Mines and farmsteads.


An Act of Parliament was passed in 1892 for The Birmingham Corporation to compulsory purchase the water catchment area of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys.


In 1893 the building work began, 100 occupants of the Elan Valley had to move, only landowners received compensation payments. Many buildings were demolished, 3 manor houses, 18 farms, a school and a church. Six reservoirs were to built with Caban-coch, Penygarreg and Craig Goch in the Elan Valley and Dol-y-mynach, Ciloerwynt and Pant-y-beddau in the Claerwen Valley.


The first phase of building, Caban Coch, Garreg Ddu, Pen y Garreg, Craig Goch dams were completed with the foundations of Dol y Mynach dam along with Dol y Mynach Tunnel which supplies water from the Clearwen Valley to Garreg Ddu reservoir and the 73-mile aqueduct to the Frankley reservoir, near Birmingham were all built by 1904. On 21st July 1904 King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra opened the Elan dams and water started flowing along 118 km of pipeline to Birmingham.


The building of the second phase dams was delayed due to the 1st and 2nd World Wars and work didn't start again till 1946. With advancements in engineering only one large dam (Claerwen Dam) was needed rather than 3 smaller ones in the Claerwen Valley.


For more information on the above please click on the links at the top of the page.


The website is under development and is will be updated with new photos and information as and when I get them.







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