Heart of the Beacons Paddle: Paddleboarding in the Brecon Beacons

Enjoy some Brecon Beacons Paddling with our Heart of the Beacons Paddle on the Beacons Reservoir.

Photo by Sally Davies

The Beacons Reservoir is owned by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and, thanks to an agreement with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, we can experience paddling on a completely unique, enclosed reservoir with a tree-covered island! In order to paddle here, we are required to have a membership to the Brecon Beacons Reservoir Passport Scheme which is only available to organisations with qualified guides.

Beacons Reservoir is the highest of a string of 3 reservoirs along the Taff Fawr River above Merthyr Tydfil. It is also one of only 4 reservoirs making up the bodies of water accessible as part of the Passport Scheme.

A Paddleboard Adventure with Mountain Views (including Pen-y-Fan’s neighbour, Corn Du… just!)

As this reservoir is nestled in between some stunning mountains, it’s not obvious which location to search for when looking for a local weather forecast. We use www.mountain-forecast.com and search for the nearest mountain: Fan Fawr. Remember to choose the forecast for the base – not the peak!

The car park is just off the A4059, about 200m from the junction with the A470, we unload and inflate our boards here, packing what we need in easy-to-carry drybags, as there’s a little walk to get to the water.

Some people bring their own kit, but you can also hire as much or as little as you need from us, Outdoor Explore Wales.

A beautiful reservoir, in the Heart of the Brecon Beacons

Once ready, we head through the gate and take a wander up the path for about 150m, taking the second fork to the right. There’s a nice open space to finish readying our boards and complete the final safety checks including buoyancy aids and leashes.

Beautiful Views – and Year-Round Paddling

We launch down a small slipway, wondering what the building we see on our left was originally built for. It looks too small to be a boat house, maybe a pumphouse? The reservoir was built right at the end of the 1800s with enough activity going on that a small, temporary village was constructed for the workers, even with a small gauge railway for transporting goods and materials to the site.

Did we mention we run these trips all year round?

Paddling out onto the reservoir, we paddle north toward the small island with its towering pine trees – look out for shallow, submerged rocks which can catch (and, despite warnings have caught) the fin of unsuspecting paddleboarders, turning them into surprised swimmers!

Circumnavigating the island at the north end of Beacons Reservoir.

It’s at this point we can look east on a clear day and we may get a glimpse of Pen-y-Fan’s neighbour, Corn Du.

Providing there is little wind, paddling here is possible all year round – you could easily argue that it’s prettier in the winter, with a dusting of snow on the hillside. Apart from the wind (best to avoid anything over 10 mph, and be aware of any southerly winds blowing you to the furthest end of the reservoir from the get-on!), the only other factor which might stop us from having fun here is the amount of water in the reservoir! During long dry spells, the people of South Wales drain the reservoirs for drinking and washing themselves! (how rude! but, also, exactly what the reservoirs were built for). This may leave the island high and dry, and don’t be surprised to see evidence of people having camped on the no-longer-an-island.

We can, and do, paddle this breathtaking location all year round.

If you’re excited about taking a paddle trip on the Beacons Reservoir, then hold on to your snifter glass! Outdoor Explore Wales is thrilled to have partnered with Penderyn Distillery to offer our Paddleboard & Penderyn Distillery Tour! Take a paddleboard tour of the Beacons Reservoir with us, then take a short drive to the small village of Penderyn and enjoy a tour of the Penderyn Distillery – book with the below link to save 10% on each tour!

You may be wondering about the other reservoirs we have access to as part of the Brecon Beacons Reservoir Passport Scheme, and so you should be!

We can take you for an adventure on Pentwyn and Ponsticill Reservoirs, north of Merthyr Tydfil, and Usk Reservoir, towards the west side of the Brecon Beacons National Park. So, if you want a bespoke trip to any of these locations, contact us to find out more!

Look out for the occasional trip to the other reservoirs too… maybe a night trip on Ponsticill…?

If you’re looking for a Group Adventure for Team Building, Stag or Hen Do, a Birthday Party or any kind of get-together, message us for a group adventure on the Beacons, Pentwyn, Pontsticill, or Usk Reservoirs (or elsewhere in South Wales!).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the details below.

Call or WhatsApp 07859795785

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