Usk Reservoir: A cricular dog walk
Usk Reservoir is in a remote area surrounded by forest and moors and watched over by Mynydd Du, otherwise known as 'the Black Mountain' (there being more than one Black Mountain, this can be confusing).
There is a 6 mile circular forest track on which you can walk or cycle on all around the reservoir. I have on occasion used a Segway which permitted me to explore all the tracks branching off as well. This gives dogs a good run, though you will have to come back along a small section of the road a bit at the end (going anti-clockwise).
If you join the road too early, you may have come out on the more major road that you turned off to get to Usk Reservoir. Either way, whichever road you come to, you turn left on to it, so will circle round to your car eventually.
Usk Reservoir: Forest Tracks Walks
The surface of the forest tracks is a mixture of compacted stone and long rutted tarmac roads.
There are opportunities for shorter strolls, both on tarmac around the 'dam' end of the reservoir, where there are the occasional small boat. Or you can go on to the forest tracks.
Some tracks branch off to the right. However after a while these terminate in a dead end - at least the two I tried did.
The circular route is on the whole flat, though there are some minor hills with some long slopes. Some would argue that giong in a clockwise direction will mean the longer slopes will be downhill. However I always go around it anti-clockwise, so the roadwork part is left to the end of the walk.
The paths are used by the occasional cyclist but I have rarely seen any. You cannot drive around it but you can Segway around it. Sadly my Segway needed new batteries after 2,000 miles, which are £700 each (it has two batteries); this rather put me off getting them replaced.
Fishing is available with concessionary rates - you pay in the shed on the north (dam) side of the reservoir.
There are some lovely views of the lake and surrounding countryside from the car parks.
At the far end there is a picnic table and a bridge (recently renewed) over a small stream. If you take some flasks with you, this is a nice spot for a cup of tea and a newspaper or good book. The picnic table and stream at the bottom, opposite end of the dam, means you are about one third of the way around - almost half way but not quite - assuming you are going anti-clockwise and parked up at the dam
Usk Reservoir: How to get there
The reservoir is 6 miles from Trecastle and is signposted off the Llanddeusant road, which is a single track lane running from Trecastle.
Coming from the castle, you turn left at the Tafan y Garreg pub, take the mountain road for a few miles until you get to a T junction (after you have crossed over the mountain itself and over two cattle grids). Do not take any turnings off this road to the left or right until you get to the T Junction after some farms.
Turning right at this T junction would get you to Trecastle. Turning left will take you along the Llanddeusant Road and you will after a couple more miles come across a right hand turning off this road, signed to Usk Reservoir. The Reservoir is then a half mile or so down this lane.
When doing an anti-clockwise circular walk from Usk Reservoir Dam (where you park) you sometimes come out on to the Llanddeusant Road further along. It may seem a way to go on foot but you are actually quite close - a mile from your car at most. You have to turn left, and then take the lane first left back to the dam to Usk, this now being the lane signed to Usk Reservoir that you originally drove down.
Usk Reservoir: Circular Walks
Completed in 1955, The Usk Reservoir now covers some 280 acres (110 ha) of land. So when you walk around it in a couple of hours, you are covering a fair amount of ground. There are not many reservoirs you can so conveniently walk around in a couple of hours or so. The scenery looking back towards the Castle (the mountains in the background in the above picture are the mountains just north of the Castle) is most impressive.
The Reservoir is just off the minor road between Trecastle and Llanddeusant, 7 miles (11 km) west of Sennybridge and not too far from Craig y Nos Castle if you go along the Trecastle Mountain road. It will take about 30 minutes at most, by car, to get here from the Castle.
Usk Reservoir: Remote yet a New Reservoir
Usk Reservoir is the 'newest' reservoir in the Brecon Beacons National Park, completed in 1955.
I like this area as I like remote areas that are people-free zones. Yet it is very accessible. As one of the remotest parts of the Brecon Beacons it offers fine views of the Carmarthen Fans.
The reservoir is surrounded by a large area of coniferous forestry which is largely impenetrable. However there are some fun little paths you can explore along streams if you really want to get into no mans land.
Usk Reservoir: Wildlife
Common wildfowl and woodland birds are found here. The surrounding areas of the Usk reservoir provide a home for a varied range of flora and fauna.
Red Kite frequent the Usk Reservoir. Also the Marsh Fritillary butterfly can be found here not that I would know what a Marsh Fritillary Butteryfly looks like so I have included a link to a picture of one above in case you care to look out for them
Usk Reservoir: Fishing Information
The Usk reservoir is only a few miles downstream of the source of the River Usk below Fan Foel on the Black Mountain.
It has a reputation as one of the finest trout fisheries in Wales. The natural brown trout are supplemented by regular restocking of brown and rainbow trout.
It is a secluded quiet location where several sections of the reservoir bank are not far from the perimeter road. Fly fishing, spinning and worming are currently permitted. The upland location of the reservoir leaves it exposed to the wind which may cause some problems for fly fishermen.
On my walks around Usk Reservoir I often see the odd fisherman near the boating area or further long the banks before the bridge at the far end.
Usk Reservoir: Circular Bike Ride
Usk Reservoir offers a circular family friendly mountain bike route around its perimeter. The route is 9km and suitable for 5yrs plus.
Although majority of this route follows a stoned track skirting the reservoir, there is a small stretch on a quiet public road. As advised earlier, if you misjudge where to come out, you may come on to the road too soon, in which case you will see the road signed turn-off left going back to the reservoir provided you previously turned left on to the road you joined.
The route has attractive views across to the Black Mountains. Welsh Water a while ago opened up the Dam Wall to pedestrian & Cycle Traffic and this now forms part of the route.
|Local Dog Walks, Reservoirs and Beaches a short drive from Castle|
|1||Henrhyd Waterfalls Dog Walks|
|2||Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre|
|3||Lady of the Lake Arthurian Legend|
|4||Oxwich Bay Walk, Gower, Swansea|
|5||Penwyllt Mountain Walk - railway|
|6||Dog Walk on Rhossili Bay, Gower|
|7||Usk Reservoir Circular Woodland|
|9||Itinerary: what to do & see locally|