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Llangorse Lake

Almost out of place in Kite Country, which is characterised mostly by its fast-flowing rivers and isolated reservoirs, Llangorse is the largest natural lake in South Wales, measuring approximately one mile long by half a mile wide. It is easily reached by a number of minor roads leading from the main A40 Brecon to Abergavenny road and is a popular holiday destination, with a caravan and camping site on the North shore, near the village of Llangorse (see Map 2). The lake is used for a variety of watersports, such as sailing, water-skiing and windsurfing, which detract somewhat from its reputation as a haven for wildlife, particularly great-crested grebe. The lake is believed to have attracted settlers from ancient Celtic times onwards and is the subject of many legends, such as the belief that a town lies under the waters. It is also said that the sound of church bells can be heard under the waves during stormy weather.

Fishing opportunities at Llangorse

Something of a rarity in Kite Country, the lake is purely a coarse fishery offering bream, roach, perch, pike and some unusually large eels. You can fish all year round for the eels, but all fish caught must be returned. All methods are permitted and you can even use your own boat, although you will have to purchase a permit for this. You can also hire boats for the day and these are available from the Lakeside Caravan Park on the North shore. The size of the lake means that it is usually very easy to find some peace and quiet away from other recreational users.

Despite its proximity to the River Usk, the lake actually drains via the small River Llynfi into the River Wye at Glasbury. The Llynfi contains some fine trout and grayling and provides excellent flyfishing, although most of this is in private hands. Some 3/4 mile of fishing is available via the Wye & Usk Foundation Voucher Scheme, easily accessible from the main Brecon to Hay on Wye road.

Other attractions

With the notable exception of Brecon, just a few miles to the West, most of the interesting attractions around Llangorse involve outdoor pursuits, although the little market town of Talgarth to the North is certainly worth a stop. Of particular note is the Talgarth Festival of the Black Mountains, held during the last weekend in August. Then the town becomes a hive of activity, hosting a variety of cultural and craft activities. For something very different, try a week's gliding course at the Black Mountains Gliding Club, situated a few miles South-East of Talgarth, signposted from the main A479 road between Crickhowell and Hay on Wye . Because of its proximity to the mountains, the club is renowned as the premier ridge, wave and thermal soaring site in the United Kingdom. I'm not a pilot myself, but the views of the mountains from the cockpit must be truly spectacular.

Of course, there are plenty of walks in the area. Provided that the ground is not too soft, there is an easy waymarked trail taking some two hours around the West side of Llangorse Lake, starting near the Caravan Park. This beautiful area is known as Llangasty Common and is absolutely stuffed with wildflowers in the summer. If you feel a little fitter and the weather is fine, you could climb to the ridge of Mynydd Llangorse, the imposing backdrop to the lake, from which you will get some excellent views of the Usk Valley. Although it is well marked, you are advised to get one of the maps and guides produced by the Ordnance Survey to help you on your way.

If you are a keen birdwatcher you will love spending time at Llangorse, but try also to visit the new bird hide near Llangasty Church on the South shore, which was finally completed this winter and is a marvellous achievement.

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Llangorse Lake
Llangorse Lake
Black Mountain Gliding Club
Black Mountain Gliding Club
Usk Valley
Wildflower meadows on Llangasty Common
Llangasty Common