A hill farm of open moorland, flower-rich grassland and oak woodland sitting in the Marteg Valley.

The Byre and the toilets are now closed until further notice as part of the government's advice to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. VISITORS TO POWYS - PLEASE READ. Please be sensible. Thank you.


Follow the various walks and nature trails to explore its wilder parts.  

To find out more about the HLF Exploring Gilfach Project please click here.


S.S.S.I Status

There is a huge variety within this 411 acre nature reserve which has been designated a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI).  There are currently over 70 species of birds with over two-thirds breeding here; an enormous array of insects and butterflies and is nationally a very important site for lichen.


Sample of breeding birds: red kite, dipper, grey wagtail, pied flycatcher, redstart, wood warbler, tree pipit, raven, whinchat, stonechat, linnet, yellowhammer, siskin, redpoll, marsh and willow tit, stock dove, wheatear, bullfinch, buzzard, kestrel, tawney owl, spotted flycatcher, meadow pipit, skylark. 


The meadows contain a range of ancient grassland species, including, moonwort, adder's-tongue fern, mountain pansy, parsley fern, heath dog-violet, and eyebright.  A large number of waxcap fungi (Hygrocybe spp.) are found across the reserve. The Gilfach nature reserve is particularly rich in lower plants, with 425 species of lichen found to date.


Along the River Marteg damselflies and demoiselles can be seen whilst within the meadows butterflies include ringlet, small copper, small heath, purple and green hairstreak, dark green and small pearl-bordered fritillary, along with the common green grasshopper and bloody-nosed beetle.  In 2009, the rare Welsh clearwing moth was found on the reserve, the first record for Radnorshire.


Larger mammals are much harder to see but otter, polecat, stoat, weasel, badger, fox, rabbit, brown hare and hedgehog can all be found here. In 2009 water voles were recorded on the river for the very first time, spreading out from a local colony.  Bats hibernating in the railway tunnel include Daubenton's, Natterer's and brown long-eared among the six species recorded on the reserve.


Walking the Nature Trails

There are some lovely way-marked trails to help you enjoy Gilfach and good picnic spots. Cattle, ponies and sheep may be grazing throughout the year, so please keep dogs on a lead and clean up after them to reduce their impact on farm animals and wildlife.  Please take care and wear boots appropriate for walking. Our paths are often uneven and sometimes quite steep. There are gates and kissing gates but no stiles to cross on the trails. Mobile reception is very poor.


The nature trail takes a circular route round the reserve, following the river upstream, past the dipper hide, up the lane and out along the Monks Trod with fine views of the valley. It takes about 1½ hrs at a leisurely pace and goes close to the Old Farmyard and Longhouse. The shorter ½hr Oakwood Trail goes from the picnic area at the Old Farmyard, taking you through the woodland and back through the meadows.  Near the Old Farmyard is a short easy access trail - newly upgraded, with a picnic bench overlooking the valley. Follow the sign for Tynshimley out of the farmyard.


You can walk from Marteg Bridge up the sheep track to the viewpoint and burial chamber, where you can either walk back on the road or continue on down to the river and join the Nature Trail. The Wye Valley Walk, Monks Trod and the Gwastedyn Church Trail also pass through Gilfach.  


The Old Farmyard, Welsh Longhouse and Byre 

The traditional barn is now a 'Visitor Centre' and the old 'Byre' (attached to the longhouse) has information leaflets and a disabled toilet and is open all year for visitors.  The Visitor Centre is open occasionally and can be booked for meetings.  Please call the office on 01597 823298 to make enquiries.  If you are visiting with a group, please call us so we can try and arrange to open the Visitor Centre if you wish!


Radnorshire Wildlife Trust organises wildlife walks and children's activities at Gilfach every year - check out the Events page on the website for more information.

Nearby nature reserves

Rhayader Tunnel
3 miles - Radnorshire Wildlife Trust
Cefn Cenarth
3 miles - Radnorshire Wildlife Trust
Abercamlo Bog
8 miles - Radnorshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

3 miles north of Rhayader off A470 (on back road to St Harmon).
Map reference
SN 964 717
Great for...
a family day out
Insect spotting
getting away from it all
historical interest
lichens and mosses
stunning views
Best time to visit
Apr - Nov
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Longhouse is NOT open to public (private tenants). Byre (next door) IS NOT open due to the COVID-19 virus. Toilets are also closed.
Picnic facilities
Disabled toilet
165.90 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Tourists are asked to stay away at this time to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Please respect this advice. Thank you.
Walking information
Several waymarked trails including a short easy access path for the less mobile from the Old Farmyard.
Just off the A470 on right. Information on all walks here. VERY limited parking up at the Old Farmyard.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Yes (dogs to be kept on a lead at all times please).
Reserve manager
Radnorshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01597 823298