Why is the number Seven so significant? Seven days of the week, Seven deadly sins, Seven virtues, Seven Heavens, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (eh?!…) Well OK, you probably get the picture….
In Wales it is said that there are Seven Wonders, listed as –
“Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple, Snowdon’s mountain without its people,
Overton yew trees, St Winefride’s well, Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells.”
A couple of years back we took a look at number one on the list, the waterfall of Pistyll Rhaeadr.
Pistyll Rhaeadr is a magnificent waterfall, well worth a visit. Yet for one of the ‘Seven Wonders’ it gets surprisingly little attention from visitors. The waterfall is at the end of 6 kilometres of very narrow lane, approached from the village of Llanrhaeadr which itself seems to be miles from anywhere. If hordes of tourists turned up, you just wouldn’t be able to move, so perhaps that’s why it doesn’t seem to be aggressively marketed as an attraction.
Of course, it’s impossible to resist a close up view of a waterfall. It isn’t, as sometimes suggested, the highest waterfall in Wales, though with a total drop of 73 metres (240 ft) it’s higher than Niagara Falls! The drop itself is interrupted, with the longest free fall about 40 metres, but it’s still impressive close up. In a severe winter it would make a magnificent ice-climb, but don’t hang around too long waiting for it to freeze!
Having seen the falls, a visit to the top is equally irresistible as well as being surprising. The narrow, confined valley suddenly opens up into moorland, with wide expansive views to the Berwyns, one of the forgotten ranges of hills in Wales The highest of the Berwyn hills were less than 3 kilometres away from our route, but they didn’t seem all that high. A look at the map corrected that view – at 827 metres (2713 ft) they were higher than anything in the Yorkshire Dales or Peak District.
Sometimes a walk is memorable for the views, or for the difficulty of the route. Other times, as on this occasion, it’s because of people you meet. We met ‘Rick’ (as I shall call him) the night before, where it became obvious that his ‘smoking’ habits were, let’s say, ‘exotic’. While Chris and I had enjoyed a (legal) dram of single malt, ‘Rick’ enjoyed a more ‘weedy’ substance. He joined us the next morning for the walk, and interrupted things half way round when he said, ”I’ll have to go back – I’ve dropped me stash”. We sat and enjoyed the sun while ‘Rick’ recovered his weed!
I like ‘characters’, and ‘Rick’ kept us amused all the way round the walk. The hills too were full of character, and surprisingly quiet. We left vowing to return, to get to know these deserted Berwyn Hills better.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
I love the berwyns :-)…nice write up 🙂
Thanks for that – my first visit to this area, but certainly not the last 🙂
Good thing about the Berwyns and Arans for that matter people go to the honey pot AKA Snowdon :-). You have to have a go from Llandrillo side stunning. 🙂
Never been to that area of Wales at all and certainly never heard of those magnificent looking falls!
So many places to try and visit…
Cheers Chrissie, so many places indeed – Cadair Berwyn is on the list for next time.
I’ve never bee here, although I’ve heard of it. I didn’t realize we had such an impressive waterfall in the UK
It’s worth the visit, Andy – you would do it better justice with your camera than I did 🙂
… 7 months of rain…
The Berwyns look excellent – I’d love to get to them some day. Is that a rock bridge half way down the waterfall?
I like characters too – Rick sounded great!
It’s a rock bridge, but a fairly inaccessible one – it could be included with the ice-climb at the next big freeze 😀
Actually, that’s not as fanciful as it sounds – I’ve seen a pic of the falls frozen, and with modern ice-climbing tools it would be on!
As for Rick, definitely a ‘one off’ but he kept us laughing on the trip.
I can’t imagine them freezing up that often in Wales though?
No, especially here as it’s only at about 350 metres. I think we’re talking of once every couple of decades,but the pic I saw of the falls frozen was very impressive – if I can remember where I came across it I will post on here.
Wales is such an incredible place…I haven’t heard of the waterfall before but it is a must next time I visit (probably not this year,sadly) but definitely next. Excellent, interesting article as always Paul…you inspire me!
Oh man, I would love to go backpacking up there!!! Such a beautiful place! Nice work!
Thanks for looking in, and for the comment Adam 🙂
Thanks for the kind words, SP. 🙂
Pistyll Rhaeadr is well off the beaten track and the area in general is quite unspoiled.
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Note – its not the highest in Wales! There are two higher. one is Devils Appendix at Cwm Idwal, the other is in mid wales
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