Llangorse Lake is set in the Brecon Beacons National Park just to the east of Brecon. It lies between the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains and is the largest natural lake in Wales. The lake was formed in a hollow made by glaciers and is 154 metres above sea level.
The Llangorse valley is a beautiful patchwork of green hills, fields, meadows and hedges and the lake is a beautiful spot and a lovely place to sail or paddle. You can launch your own craft from the boat hire centre or the sailing club, both of which are on Llangorse Common or hire a dinghy, windsurfer, canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, pedalo or rowing boat. Refreshments are available here, too.
The lake is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and so, in order to conserve the banks and the wildlife, there are restrictions on how many people can take to the water and where boaters can go, with buoys marking the no-go zones. You need a permit to get on the water and there are also launch fees.
Llangorse Lake is also a popular spot for fishing, with pike, perch, roach, bream tench and eels all found here. Fishing is only allowed from boats, not from the banks, and must be catch-and-release. You must buy a rod licence from the Post Office and a permit from the boat hire centre.
An unusual feature of the lake is the Crannog. This is a man-made island of oak, willow and hazelwood and is certainly well over 1000 years old. It is thought it was once the site of a royal palace for ancient peoples and was built out into the lake for safety.
Otters and water voles can be found by the lake but usually they’re hidden in the reeds, so you’re unlikely to see them. But you can’t miss the birds! There is a fantastic array or waterbirds – warblers, coots, swallows, swifts and large flocks of Canada geese and other migrants congregate at Llangorse at different times of year.
To get a good look, follow the footpath which leads round the western shore to the Llangasty Nature Reserve near Ty-Mawr Farm, or make for the car park near Llangasty church. There’s a beautifully designed timber bird hide in the reserve, looking out over the reeds and the water beyond. If you are staying at Tall John’s House it’s a lovely walk down to the lake and round to the bird hide.