East of Brecon, between the Central Beacons and the Black Mountains, is the largest natural lake in Wales, Llangorse Lake. Like the mountain lakes, it lies in a hollow formed by glacial action, but at 154m above sea level, it’s far more accessible.
Take to the water
Surrounded by a patchwork of green hills, fields, meadows and hedgerows, Llangorse is a truly beautiful spot and a lovely place to sail or paddle. You can launch your own craft from the boat hire centre or the sailing club, both of which are on Llangorse Common on the northwest shore, or hire a dinghy, windsurfer, canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, pedalo or rowing boat. Refreshments are available here, too.
The lake is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. To conserve the banks and the wildlife, there are restrictions on how many people can take to the water and where boaters can go, with buoys marking the no-go zones. To get on the water, you need a permit. Launch fees also apply. To find out more, visit our pages on sailing and canoeing.
Llangorse is also a popular spot for fishing, with pike, perch, roach, bream tench and eels all found here. Fishing is only allowed from boats, not from the banks, and must be catch-and-release. You’ll need a rod licence from the Post Office and a permit from the boat hire centre. To find out more, visit our page on fishing.
Discover an ancient royal retreat
An interpretation centre on stilts on the north-west shore offers information about the lake’s unique heritage site, the Crannog, a man-made island made of oak, willow and hazel wood. Well over 1000 years old, it now has trees growing on it, but it was probably once the site of a royal palace.
Llangorse Lake is a fantastic haven for wildlife. Otters and water voles are among the mammals to be found here. More often than not they’re hidden in the reeds, so you’re unlikely to see them, but you won’t miss the birds – warblers, coots, swallows, swifts and large flocks of Canada geese and other migrants congregate at Llangorse at different times of year.
To get a good look, follow the footpath which leads round the western shore to the Llangasty Nature Reserve near Ty-Mawr Farm, or make for the car park near Llangasty church. There’s a beautifully designed timber bird hide in the reserve, looking out over the reeds and the water beyond. To find out more, visit our pages on Wildlife-watching, birdwatching and nature trails.
Learn about local heritage
Ty-Mawr Farm (www.lime.org.uk) is a training and supply centre for traditional Welsh, eco-friendly construction materials and methods. As well as classes in lime plastering, thatching and other heritage building skills, it offers coracle-making courses. Why not have a go?