This is one of several falls that bring the Marteg from high up in the Cambrian Mountains to its confluence with the mighty Wye. The falls are all situated in the beautiful setting of the Gilfach Nature Reserve – part of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Gilfach is a traditional 410 acre hill farm – untouched since the 1960’s. It is locally unique because of its wide variety of habitats: high moorland to enclosed meadow; oak woodland to rocky upland river. The reserve is worth a visit at any time of year so I’ve included a link to their web site below.
A long easter weekend with friends in Wales and a stunning walk through the valley of the Mellte river in Brecon. At the point where the Afon Hepste, a tributary of the Mellte, leaps over a 50 foot cliff between high banks can be found the curtain waterfall of Sgwd yr Eira. The unusual feature of this fall is the narrow path that runs behind its thundering curtain of water and under the rock overhang that forms the lip of the fall.
I’ve read that the path was once used by sheep farmers which is, I think, a mark of how tough the people here have to be. The only way down to the river bed is by a long, steep decent on wooden steps – a recent addition – taking the track down before the steps were built would have been a dangerous venture. The approach from the river bed to the fall path is over loose, wet rock and the path itself is narrow and wet. The climb up the other side is also steep and narrow. Herding sheep this way would have been as tough as it gets.
In the Welsh ‘Eira’ means snow. Standing under the thundering falls your immediate attention is taken by the main force of water, no more than a metre away, as it crashes into the pool just below, but on either side where the force is less the water appears to fall more slowly and where the light catches the droplets you could be forgiven for thinking that it was in fact snowing.