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Lliw Reservoirs at Felindre Dog Walk

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Dog Friendly Walks South Wales - Lliw Reservoirs

Upper Lliw Reservoir Dam spillway

Lliw Reservoirs at Felindre: Getting there (if you can)

Lliw is pronounced 'clue' and I have joked most people haven't a clue how to get here. The signage coming off J46/M4 is atrocious, well, it would be if it existed. Basically there is none. The postcode is: SA5 7NA - try putting this into your Satnav.
To get here you take the Felindre turn-off (J46/M4) and head inland, along a windy single track lane with passing spaces. There was an on-line guide which stated: "To get to the Lliw Valley reservoirs leave the M4 at junction 46 following the signs to Felindre and the brown Country Park signs. As soon as you see the Felindre village sign turn right along Heol Penfidy to follow the Lliw Reservoirs signs which bring you to the country park. There are good facilities here with car parking, toilets and a cafe. There are walks for everyone from a short wander round a reservoir, a 4 mile route suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and an open moorland route of over 10 miles."

I however never found the Lliw Reservoir signs referred to above. So after leaving M4, heading inland, after a mile or two of hilly windy lanes (no further) you may be lucky enough to chance across a completely unmarked single track road off to the right. Chances are though you will miss it, so it is a lane you really have to look out for.

If you find yourself going down a steep straight section of lane with open country views ahead of you and into a small hamlet of houses, you have gone too far. (Should you then turn around, you might spot the reservoir sign coming from the other direction, which is no use to you until after you have missed it the first time - it is tucked out of sight so you do not see it coming from the South).

Follow this right hand turn-off lane for a few hundred yards and you will see a big wide metal gate on the left. This is the entrance to the Lower and Upper Lliw Reservoirs. The gate is closed when the Reservoir closes but do not worry if you are late leaving and get locked in. This has happened to me but I found the gate has a sensor control so opens up if you are exiting from the reservoir side.

There is no other access to the Reservoirs other than this tiny little lane. So it is something of a surprise to come out on to this massive car park, eventually, after another half mile or so driving along this long private rutty lane. The car park can probably take 100 cars. Never that many there though.

Upper Lliw Reservoir path for dog walking

Lliw Reservoirs at Felindre

There are two reservoirs. The Lower Lliw which has a tarmacadam path up one side used by farm vehicles etc, and a rough track (walking boots required) down the other side, to create a one hour or so circular walk.

Then there is Upper Lliw which you will eventually get to if you follow the tarmacadam path gently upwards for a few miles. You and your dogs will be walking through stunning valley scenery, alongside a bubbling little stream (drain off from Upper Lliw). It is an hour or so to get to the top of the path and the dam at Upper Lliw and back again.

The Car park at Lower Lliw Reservoir will be ample for your needs. I park as close to the footpath going up to Upper Lliw as I can get.

There are also Public Toilets and a Picnic site, together with Café/visitor centre which oddly I have not ever seen open.

To reach the Upper Lliw Reservoir Dam, go through the gate where Jack waits (see above picture) as the first time I was not sure if you were supposed to.

The lower and upper Lliw reservoirs are surrounded by a mosaic of habitats including bracken, scrub broadleaved woodland and lowland acid grassland.

Birds spotted here include: Peregrine, Kestrel, Raven, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit & Skylark, Whinchat, Red Kite, Curlew. So very much a bird watcher's paradise.
This Wheelchair and pushchair accessible route to Upper Lliw is apparently 4 miles. It does not seem that far at all. So when with pram, go to Upper Lliw. Do not bother pramming around Lower Lliw! Path not suitable. But Upper Lliw while not a circular walk, is great for dogs too, and this really is a little gem of a valley.
Update 2020: Dogs should be kept on a lead in this area due to free roaming sheep. There have been recent reported incidences of sheep being killed or chased into the reservoir by dogs (2020), so extra care should be taken with dogs here. Off-the-lead dog walking is frowned upon here (or indeed any area with free roaming sheep). Exceptionally, Jack and Sheeba were trained to walk to heel through sheep fields, and even to sit still and allow our own Country Park sheep to come up and nuzzle them, but this took months and was achieved with line of sight command. Few people have the time to train their dogs to this level. I spent hours this in the early days to get them trained. But as any dog owner knows, once a dog is running ahead out of sight, it is no longer under your control anyway as you cannot see them to command them. Any dog running ahead round a corner out of sight will eventually surprise a sheep and once the sheep bolts off, the dog's 'chase' instinct kicks in, no matter how well trained. I used to use the extendable leads to give the dogs a free run, but then you have to train them not to 'pull' etc once they reach the lead limit!

Upper Lliw Reservoir dam and observatory

The Dam at Upper Lliw Reservoir
And here we are at the dam at Upper Lliw. A quaint little reservoir and there does appear to be a track all around it - though I have never walked around Upper Lliw, generally because it is a bit far to carry or walk or pram children. The dogs would be willing though and I doubt it would take more than 40 minutes to walk around this small reservoir. You can see the end of it in the above picture so it is not very large at all.  

There is no car access to this reservoir. As stated earlier, the only way to get here is to walk from the car park at Lower Lliw. There is a cottage at the top and usually a couple of cars ouside, so the only way they get up here is on the tarmacadam path you have walked up.

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