Pembrokeshire’s Great Lake


Photo ©Nigel Summerley

Llys-y-Fran lake is a little under two miles long and and at its widest point a mile across – and it holds up to 10.5 million cubic metres of water. That’s a lot of water. But when I visited, it was getting a perhaps not essential top-up – thanks to persistent rain.

Even in bad weather, the walk around this huge reservoir is a joy. Not just because of continual views of the water, but because the lakeside path winds up and down through beautiful, green woodland, punctuated by the purples of foxgloves and rosebay willowherb, and adorned with ferns and mosses.

The near-seven-mile circuit is not always an easy one, but it can be done in a couple of hours if you’re reasonably fit. For those less gung-ho, there are shorter suggested routes. If you’re going all the way round, it’s good to go clockwise, starting off by rounding the dam at the southern end of the lake.

The excellent visitor centre has helpful staff and a way-above-average café on site for post-walk refreshment. I can certainly testify that when you’re soaked and finished with walking, the tea and cakes are most welcome.

The dam at the southern end of Llys-y-Fran   Photo ©Nigel Summerley

On the lakeside path   Photo ©Nigel Summerley

Something a bit fishy about that shape? To explore the area around LLys-y-Fran, buy OS Explorer map OL35, North Pembrokeshire/Gogledd Sir Benfro –


Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley retired from The Oldie magazine to return to freelance journalism. He previously held executive staff jobs at the London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Express before freelancing for 20 years for newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the ‘i’ paper, plus a wide range of magazines. He continues to write about music, travel and health, and blogs at

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