bottom part of Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall

Nestled in the heart of Wales lies a hidden gem that has captured the imagination of travellers for centuries – Pistyll Rhaeadr. This breathtaking waterfall, with its cascading waters and serene surroundings, has earned the title of one of the most picturesque spots in the country.

It was such a joy to discover Pistyll Rhaeadr, the sound of rushing water will guide you along the small trail that leads to the waterfall, offering moments of tranquility and reflection. In fact as soon as you park up you are greeted with the huge tall spectacle of this beauty spot.

Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall from the side

Every step of the way throughout the area, you’ll be greeted with panoramic views of the Welsh countryside, dotted with ancient woodlands and rolling hills. As you draw closer to Pistyll Rhaeadr, its magnificence becomes even more evident, with waters tumbling over towering cliffs and creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

Whether you’re an avid hiker seeking an adventure or a nature lover simply yearning for serenity, Pistyll Rhaeadr is the perfect destination. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this natural wonder, and let it leave an indelible mark on your soul. Welcome to a journey of discovery in the breathtaking land of Wales.

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close up of Pistyll Rhaeadr

History and significance of Pistyll Rhaeadr

Pistyll Rhaeadr holds a rich history and significant cultural importance in Wales. The name “Pistyll Rhaeadr” translates to “spring of the waterfall” in Welsh, highlighting the deep connection between the waterfall and the local community. The waterfall has been a source of inspiration for artists, poets, and writers throughout the years, with its ethereal beauty and captivating presence.

Legend has it that a giant, named Gwyddno Garanhir, once lived near Pistyll Rhaeadr. It is said that a beautiful fairy named Blodeuwedd transformed herself into an owl and stole a magical potion from Gwyddno’s cauldron. As punishment, Gwyddno cursed Blodeuwedd, turning her into an owl as well and banishing her to the cliffs overlooking the waterfall. This tale adds a touch of mystique and enchantment to the already mesmerizing atmosphere surrounding Pistyll Rhaeadr.

Today, Pistyll Rhaeadr is not only a popular tourist attraction but also a protected site of natural beauty. It is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is managed by the local authorities to preserve its unique ecological and cultural significance.

middle section of Pistyll Rhaeadr

Facts and features about Pistyll Rhaeadr

Pistyll Rhaeadr is an impressive waterfall, with a total height of 240 feet (80 meters). It is considered one of the tallest waterfalls in the United Kingdom, attracting visitors from far and wide. The waterfall is formed by the Afon Rhaeadr, a river that flows down from the Berwyn Mountains.

Many of the signs there, as well as in some online sources state that Pistyll Rhaeadr is the highest single drop waterfall in the whole of Wales and England. However when you get close to the waterfall despite it magnificent appearance it is not quite a single drop (like Hardraw Force for example) all the way down and has 3 stages. The top part being the largest at 40m.

top part of Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall

The cascading waters of Pistyll Rhaeadr create a stunning visual display, with the water gracefully falling over the cliffs and forming a pool at the base. The surrounding rocks are covered in lush green moss, adding to the natural beauty of the waterfall. Visitors can witness the sheer power and force of nature as they stand near the base of the waterfall, feeling the mist on their faces and hearing the sound of rushing water.

The area around Pistyll Rhaeadr is also home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The woodlands surrounding the waterfall are filled with ancient oak and beech trees, providing a habitat for various species of birds, insects, and mammals. Nature enthusiasts can spot rare plants, such as the Welsh poppy and the primrose, as they explore the trails and pathways near the waterfall.

How to get to Pistyll Rhaeadr

Pistyll Rhaeadr is located near the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in Powys, Wales. Around 17 miles east of Oswestry. The waterfall is easily accessible by car, with parking available near the site. From the village, follow the signage directing you towards the waterfall. Along the aptly named Waterfall Street. The journey from the village to Pistyll Rhaeadr takes approximately 10 minutes. It is a single track road so in busy periods be prepared to use the passing places a lot.

For those traveling by public transport, there are regular bus services that operate between Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and nearby towns. Visitors can take a bus to the village and then walk 4 miles to the waterfall, enjoying the scenic views along the way. It is advisable to check the bus schedule in advance, as the frequency of services may vary depending on the time of year.


At the end of the track that leads to the waterfall there is a car park that charges £5 to park. But if you go on quiet days then a couple of hundred metres before the car park there is free parking by the road side. Be careful not to park anywhere that is designated a passing space.

You won’t miss the sight of the top half of the waterfall through the trees.

view of Pistyll Rhaeadr from car park

Exploring the surroundings of Pistyll Rhaeadr

Pistyll Rhaeadr is not just a single attraction; it is surrounded by a landscape that is waiting to be explored. The areas surrounding the waterfall offer a myriad of walking trails, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes. These trails allow you to immerse yourselves in the natural beauty of the Welsh countryside and discover hidden gems along the way.

One of the most popular trails near Pistyll Rhaeadr is the Moel Sych Circular Walk. This circular route takes you up Moel Sych, a hill with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. The trail then descends through open moorland and woodlands, passing by a tranquil lake before bringing you back to the starting point. This walk is suitable for experienced hikers and offers a unique perspective of the area.

Another notable trail is the Ceiriog Valley Walk, which follows the course of the River Ceiriog. This picturesque walk takes you through charming villages, rolling hills, and lush green meadows. Along the way, you’ll encounter historic sites, such as castles and churches, adding a touch of heritage to your journey.

woodland trail and dog near Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall

Activities and attractions near Pistyll Rhaeadr

In addition to the natural beauty of Pistyll Rhaeadr, there are several other attractions and activities in the vicinity that cater to a wide range of interests.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the nearby Chirk Castle is a must. This medieval fortress offers a glimpse into Wales’ rich heritage and is surrounded by stunning gardens and parkland. Explore the grand rooms of the castle, wander through the manicured gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Nature lovers can also visit Lake Vyrnwy, a reservoir located a short drive from Pistyll Rhaeadr. This picturesque lake is surrounded by rolling hills and woodlands, making it a perfect spot for picnics, bird-watching, and leisurely walks. The lake is also home to a variety of water sports, including kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

Best time to visit Pistyll Rhaeadr

Pistyll Rhaeadr is a year-round destination, each season offering a unique experience. Spring and summer bring vibrant greenery and colorful blooms, creating a picturesque setting for walks and hikes. Autumn transforms the landscape into a tapestry of warm hues, with golden foliage and crisp air. Winter blankets the area in a serene stillness, with the waterfall occasionally freezing, creating a magical sight.

To avoid crowds, it is advisable to visit Pistyll Rhaeadr during weekdays or early mornings. The waterfall tends to be more crowded on weekends and during peak tourist seasons. However, regardless of the time of year, Pistyll Rhaeadr’s natural beauty remains enchanting and captivating.

water running over rocks at Pistyll Rhaeadr wales

Tips for visiting Pistyll Rhaeadr

1. Wear comfortable shoes: The trails around Pistyll Rhaeadr can be uneven and muddy, so it is essential to wear suitable footwear for walking.

2. Bring a camera: Pistyll Rhaeadr offers countless photo opportunities, so don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the waterfall and its surroundings.

3. Pack a picnic: There are picnic areas near the waterfall, allowing visitors to enjoy a leisurely meal amidst nature’s beauty. Pack some snacks or a picnic lunch to enhance your visit.

4. Respect the environment: As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is important to respect the surroundings and leave no trace. Take all litter with you and follow any signage or guidelines provided.

5. Check weather conditions: Before visiting Pistyll Rhaeadr, check the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. The weather in Wales can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to dress in layers and bring waterproof clothing if needed.

Accommodation options near Pistyll Rhaeadr

For those looking to extend their stay near Pistyll Rhaeadr, there are several accommodation options available in the surrounding area. From cozy bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels, there is something to suit every preference and budget. Some popular choices include:

1. The Hand at Llanarmon: A charming country inn offering comfortable rooms, a restaurant serving locally sourced cuisine, and a cozy pub with a warm atmosphere.

2. The West Arms: A historic inn dating back to the 16th century, featuring elegant rooms, a restaurant specializing in Welsh cuisine, and beautiful gardens.

3. Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa: A luxurious hotel located near Lake Vyrnwy, offering stunning views, spa facilities, and fine dining options.

These are just a few examples of the accommodation options available near Pistyll Rhaeadr. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred choice.

family at the bottom of Pistyll Rhaeadr


In conclusion, a visit to Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall offers a breathtaking experience of nature’s beauty. Surrounded by lush greenery, the cascading waters create a mesmerizing sight and a soothing ambiance. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover, this majestic waterfall is a must-visit destination if in the area.

I was passing by and took the time for a detour. I will most definitely be back to explore some of the wider trails nearby that is for sure.

So, plan your trip, immerse yourself in the serenity of Pistyll Rhaeadr, and create unforgettable memories amidst its enchanting allure.

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