MOST people living in Mid Wales will say there aren’t many places on earth that can rival it for beauty – with the Elan Valley being one of its chief tourist havens.

There were a few more attracted to this stunning area earlier this month when the Pen-y-Garreg Reservoir was drained to allow surveyors to check over the base of Craig Goch Dam. It brought a lot of visitors into the valley to have a look.

Sorcha Lewis’ land at Troedrhiwdrain Farm runs down to the reservoir and she took some amazing images of the reservoir with far less water contained within it than normal.

“Quite frequently I pinch myself when I am out and about in the beautiful Elan Valley,” said Sorcha.

“The dams are breath-taking and even more spectacular when you consider the history behind their construction. Many come to visit and are captivated by them, especially when they are overflowing.

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“The true beauty and hold the Elan Valley has over me is tied to the landscape surrounding the dams. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when standing on the shoreline at the bottom of our fields which fall down to Pen-y-Garreg, the smallest of the six Elan Valley dams.

“The reservoir had recently been drained and I spent time imagining and creating the landscape that had once been under the reservoir leading out to the untamed and wild river Elan that once frothed through deep caverns.

“You could see the old boundaries and tracks leading across the valley connecting the farms once there. A fantastic hay meadow can be found on the edge of this reservoir and this would have run down to a bridge and through a field called Dolybont (meadow of the bridge).

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“Ty Nant is a lost farmstead nearby that comes into view just by where Brithgwm Brook enters the reservoir when the water level drops and you can see where there was a home and some outhouses.

“Across the reservoir running down the length of the valley is the old railway line I’ve always referred to as the “spine” of the valley which connects the top dam at Craig Goch to Rhayader. This was the essential route for getting the materials and workers up and down the valley on trains.

“Today it is still a popular route used by many visitors to enjoy the valley by foot or bike.

“The Elan Valley and Claerwen is such an important landscape for wildlife and much of this is owed to the fact that the land is managed still very much in a traditional way and the community that remain have been essential in caretaking for this landscape.

“There are many events run in the valley which the public can come and share and learn about the wonderful wildlife.”

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Sorcha has been celebrating her “Elan-iversarie” this week as she reflects on the first day she stepped into the visitor centre to work as a ranger, 20 years ago.

“Twenty years later I am busy farming with my husband on the estate and not one day has been the same and there’s always something new to discover and see. What’s not to love about that.

“Beyond the dams is this amazing landscape brimming with all the heritage, culture, community, scenery and wildlife my little heart could absorb. I hear this reflected by so many people when they come and fall in love with this precious landscape, each tied to the hills by moments and memories.”