Gilfach Salmon

In November, when the River Marteg is swollen with rain, the salmon use all their power to leap up the waterfalls to return to their spawning ground.

The Story of the Salmon

Radnorshire is a land-locked county but the salmon connect us to the sea.

In summer, the next generation of salmon can be spotted in the river pools feeding on aquatic insects and small fish.  They need to build up all their strength in readiness for their incredible journey down to the sea.

In autumn, the salmon migrate to Gilfach Nature Reserve.  They cross the treacherous Atlantic ocean avoiding predators, ships and any other obstacles in their path before negotiating the Bristol Channel and swimming under the Severn Bridge, into the River Wye, through Herefordshire and over into Wales, gradually working their way upstream to arrive here. 

After tackling the Marteg waterfalls, they enter calmer waters where they swish out a hole with their tails in the gravelly beds, and lay their eggs.

 

Life Cycle of the Atlantic Salmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about the fascinating life of the salmon on The Atlantic Salmon Trust website.

 

Visiting Gilfach to see the Salmon

November is the best time of year to visit when the river is swollen.  Take a walk to the specially built viewing platform near the waterfall to be in with a chance of glimpsing this wonderful sight.  Download the leaflet below.

The paths and fields will naturally be wet and slippy at this time of year, so take extra care and caution.  Patience is important as the salmon run to their own time.  It is often said that early morning and evening are good times but once the salmon return, we have had regular sightings throughout the day.

 

Salmon Sightings Update

The first sighting of salmon returning to Gilfach have been made! Two sightings were reported on the 25th & 26th October 2017 respectively. 

Last year's first sighting was made on Wednesday 26th October 2016 by a family who visited the reserve: "We spent about 90 minutes this afternoon at the waterfall viewing platform this lunchtime and we were lucky enough to see 2-3 salmon attempting the jump and one successful attempt.  It was a joy to see:)"  Please report your sightings to jonathan@rwtwales.org or phone 01597 823298.

Whilst this is a free event, we rely on donations to be able to manage this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  There is a donations box in the car park area at Pont Marteg (entrance off the A470).  Or go to our donations page.  Thank You.

Watch this great footage of salmon jumping the falls at Gilfach Nature Reserve.

 

Downloads

FilenameFile size
Salmon Stone Walk3.71 MB
Taith Carreg-yr-Eog3.97 MB