Set in magnificent scenery near Rhayader a chain of huge dams retain millions of gallons of Welsh water which is piped all the way to Birmingham. Most were built at the turn of the century and epitomise bold Victorian engineering at its best.
In the spring and early summer excess water dramatically cascades down their tall stone faces.
The vast catchment area abounds with every wild life and the water company has built an excellent visitor centre where you can learn what's there and where to look. There are also nature walks organised.
Contact: Visitor Centre - 01597 810898
Upper Wye Valley
Black & White Village Trail
Old churches and castles
Brecon Beacons, National Park with mountains rising to almost 3000ft at Pen y Fan. Spectacular walks and scenery. There is a superb waterfall trail along the headwaters of the Neath.
Black Mountains, an impressive escarpment some 10 miles long overlooking Hay and Talgarth. The chain includes Hay Bluff and Lord Hereford's Nob.
Cambrian Mountains, the wild spine of Wales rises some five miles to the west of the Builth. There are a few roads through the mountains for the adventurous such as up the Devil's Staircase (1 in 3) at the Abergwesyn Pass and on over to Tregaron.
Towns to visit
Llandrindod (7 miles) A Victorian spa town, now the administrative centre for the region. During August it puts on a most enjoyable week-long Victorian Festival. It has many shops plus Somerfield and Aldi supermarkets. There is a street market on Fridays and many of the shops close half day on Wednesday.
Brecon (20 miles) Pleasant market town on the Usk at the foot of the Brecon Beacons. Many shops, a cinema and two museums, HQ of Royal Welsh Borderers, cathedral. A good centre for exploring the national park. Brecon hosts a jazz festival in July each year.
Hay-on-Wye (20 miles) Charming border town on the banks of the Wye. With narrow streets is has lots of book, antique and craft shops. It has the biggest second hand bookshop in the world. Well worth a visit. Every year it sports a week-long literary festival which lots of famous authors attend.
Rhayader (19 miles) Name means waterfall and is adjacent to the Elan Valley dams. Small market town (market on Fridays) with a few shops but important cross-roads in this sparsely populated area. Gigrin Red Kite feeding centre is just outside town.
Hereford (35 miles) Main shopping city for locals. Market day Wednesday. It has lots of shops, plenty of parking and a good history to explore including a cathedral and the famous 1300 AD Mappa Mundi world map now housed in its own museum. Another museum traces the history of cider-making which was so important to the town.