Know before you go
Parking informationCar parks in both Cwmdauddwr and Rhayader
An easy access tarmac cycle path. The path itself leads up into the Elan Valley with more spectacular scenery and wildlife to enjoy.
The reserve is easily accessibe from Rhayader. Simply walk from town, down the hill and over the bridge into Cwmdauddwr heading for the Elan Valley. Pass the Community Hall on your left and you will see the ornate wooden gated entrance of the Elan Valley Cycle Trail. Rhayader Tunnel nature reserve is approximately 200m along this trail.
When to visit
Opening timesAll year round.
Best time to visitMay to October
About the reserve
Wildlflowers such as betony, harebell, wood bitter-vetch and broad-leaved helleborine thrive on the sunny east-facing slopes with the old railway tunnel providing a home to several species of hibernating bat.
A walk along this reserve offers some stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the whistle of the red kite is often heard overhead. Other birdlife includes chaffinch, brambling, goldfinch and linnet.
Rhayader and the surrounding district is an important area for some of Europe's rarest bat species. Sadly, our UK bat population has declined considerably during the past century and it is now more important than ever that sites such as Rhayader Tunnel are protected to provide suitable foraging and roosting sites for them to survive.
Bats do not build nests. The old railway tunnel is a good place for them to roost and they love to eat flying insects. The high banks and valley floor are covered in scrub and developing woodland, which is ideal hunting ground for insect eaters.