Pistyll Rhaeadr is one of the highest waterfalls in Britain and plunges 73 metres (240ft) down a Silurian cliff face in the Berwyn Mountains and into a natural plunge pool surrounded by forests. Although it is often referred to as a single drop waterfall, geologists have classed it as having three stages, the longest of which is 40 metres. Around halfway down the cliff face the waterfall passes through a natural ‘fairy’ arch of stone. Above the falls the river is known as the Afon Disgynfa while below the falls it becomes the Afon Rhaeadr. Water flows from numerous little streams before collecting above ridge. One source in particular is from the mysterious lake of Llynn Lluncaws which is spectacularly beautiful when viewed from the summit of Cadair Berwyn.
Pistyll Rhaeadr is Welsh for ‘Spring of the Waterfall’ and is 3.8 miles northwest of the nearest village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and 13 miles west of Oswestry in North Wales.
The most convenient place to view the falls is from the base but it is possible to walk to the top – a trek uphill that takes around 20 minutes for a relatively fit person. Please be aware that this is not to be undertaken lightly in wet weather and sensible clothes and shoes are very much recommended. This trail leads around the base and to the east before doubling back to the falls. It is not safe to try and climb the banks adjacent to the falls which are wet and unstable.
It is not uncommon for Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall to freeze during winter when transforms into a cascading bridal veil of ice. There are restaurant and bed & breakfast facilities at the base of the falls as well as numerous woodland walks. Parking onsite is subject to a fee but there is also some limited parking outside of the main area that is free.
Pistyll Rhaeadr is often described as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’. The water flow is strongest and most spectacular during winter but the overall environment is more hospitable during the warm summer months when the whole area assumes a tranquil and almost magical quality. The BBC recommends that the best time to visit is during spring (April / May), when snow-melt from the 2,700 foot high Moel Sych swells the mountain streams.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Crynierth Caravan Park, Cefn Ddwysarn (Road), Bala
Gwynedd, Wales, LL23 7LN
+44 (0)1678 530 324
- Address: Waterfall Lane, Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, Powys, (Montgomeryshire) Wales, SY10 0BZ
- GPS: 52.85513056,-3.378741667
- Phone: 0044 (0)1691 780392
- Part of UK: Wales
- Sat Nav Postcode: SY10 0BZ
- Entrance Fees: Free Access (Parking Fees Apply)
- Disabled Access: Reasonable around the base area. Restricted Elswhere. Subject to weather.
- Visibility from Road: Good - From a Distance
- Image Credits: Header Image: Steve Heap