Llangorse Lake, Wales, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - Wales - Southern Wales -

Also known as:  Llangors Lake, Lake Syfaddan, Lyn Syfaddan

Sitting within Brecon Beacons National Park, Llangorse Lake stands as the largest natural lake in South Wales and second largest in the principality of Wales. Also found under the names Llangors Lake, Lake Syfaddan, and Lyn Syfaddan, the lake has long been noted for its diversity of plant and animal species. This Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is also a popular recreational lake. Located in the county of Powys, eight miles east of the town of Brecon and west of the scenic Black Mountains, visitors to Llangorse Lake enjoy sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking and water-skiing.

Evidence of Lake Syfaddan’s ancient history can be seen off the lake’s northern shore. The remains of a small man-made island, called a crannog, rise above the water’s surface. Believed to have been built around 889-893 A.D., the island was likely a defensive settlement for the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog. Remaining archaeological evidence indicates that the settlement was destroyed by a Saxon attack in 916 A.D. During the 12th century Lake Syfaddan was visited by Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales). Sent on a tour of Wales for the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Gerald of Wales documented his 1188 journey. His chronicles remain a valuable record of Welsh history and include a reference to the abundance of waterfowl on Llangors Lake and a recounting of the legend that a city lies submerged on the bottom of Lyn Syfadden.

With an average depth of 7-to-10 feet (2-3 meters), a sunken city has not been seen from the surface of this shallow lake. Llangorse Lake is a glacially formed lake with a five mile (8 kilometers) shoreline, 327 acre (1.3 square kilometers) surface area and elevation of 505 feet (154 meters). Owned by Llangorse Lake Conservation and Management Co. Ltd., Langors Lake is one of few natural lakes in Britain. The lake’s inflow is limited to small streams and seasonal rainfall amounts with winter being the wetter months. The small stream Afon Llynfi is the main outlet for Lyn Syfaddan, leaving the lake to the southwest of the village of Llangors forming part of the Brecon Beacons National Park boundary on its way to join the Wye River.

Approximately 25 acres (10 hectares) of reed beds, wet woodlands, and wet grasslands grow between Llangors Lake’s open water and drier ground. During rainy seasons this area floods creating a rich marshy habitat that supports a wide variety of aquatic and marginal plant life. Rare and uncommon plants include flowering rush, tubular water dropwort, greater spearwort, fringed water lily, golden dock, amphibious bistort and meadow rue. Near the lake shore, floating water lilies mix with blooming native flora to greet visitors with a beautiful display of summer color.

Reed beds also create a vital habitat for birds. Portions of Llangorse Lake are restricted from public access, creating a sanctuary for birds to feed and breed. A bird hide is open to the public at the south end of Llangorse Lake where birdwatching has become a popular activity among holiday visitors. During the spring, terns and migrating osprey rest on the lake shore. Water rail, Canada geese, reed warblers, starlings, and large numbers of mute swans are found on Lyn Syfaddan through the summer months. Through the chilly winter, pochard, coot, goldeneye, an occasional smew, tufted ducks, teal, great crested grebe and hen harrier may be found.

A footpath circles much of the southern and western portions of Llangorse Lake, creating a leisurely stroll around the lake’s protected wetlands. Visitors may start their trek from the small car park and picnic area found at the southern end of Lyn Syfaddan. Toward the northern shore visitors will find additional parking and access to recreational facilities. A caravan park, campground, sailing club, cafe, boats for hire, jetties and boat launching area are under private management. All boats are required to purchase a seasonal or daily lake permit. Restrictions apply to power boats used for water-skiing. Limited to posted dates and times, a maximum of 10 boats actively towing skiers will be allowed on the water at one time. Motorized boats are restricted to 5 miles per hour (8 kilometers per hour) unless towing or recovering a skier. Personal watercraft, hovercraft, hydrofoils and paragliding are prohibited.

Bank fishing is prohibited on Llangors Lake, so anglers will need to hire a boat if they do not bring their own. Known for quality pike fishing, Lake Syfaddan also holds a good supply of perch, roach, eel, carp, tench and bream. All anglers over age 17 are required to purchase a lake permit and have a fishing license from the Environment Agency. In an effort to protect habitat, boating exclusion zones must be avoided.

Llangorse Lake is surrounded by waterways, mountains and forests in Brecon Beacons National Park. Almost four million people visit the park each year. Fishing, driving, walking, trekking, cycling, caving, mountain biking, bird watching, photography and hang-gliding are listed among the more popular park activities. Within the park’s 520 square miles (1347 square kilometers) several mountain ranges provide excellent walking and trekking opportunities. The Black Mountains lie east of Llangors Lake and offer numerous paths into the countryside including Offa’s Dyke long-distance footpath following extensive eighth century earthworks. The Brecon Beacons range lies west of Llangorse Lake and includes Pen y Fan, the highest peak in southern Britain at 2907 feet (886 meters). The next range west is Fforest Fawr. A popular destination for trekers, cyclists and horse-riders, Fforest Fawr Geopark is the location of extensive archaeological and geological sites. Travel to the west end of Brecon Beacons National Park and you will find Black Mountain, not to be confused with the Black Mountains lying at the eastern end of the park. Fforest Fawr Geopark continues into Black Mountain and is considered to be one of the possible locations for the legendary Lady of the Lake.

Small hamlets, quaint villages and market towns dot this land of myth and legend. Approximately 40,000 people live within Brecon Beacons National Park with tourism driving much of their economy. Throughout the region visitors will find locally grown food served in traditional Welsh style, village retailers providing an irresistible assortment of shops, and visitor services to fill your every need. Here you can sleep among castle ruins, ancient standing stones or nature’s splendor. Select from self catering holiday cottages, holiday homes, bed & breakfasts (B&Bs), camping on farms, or countryside real estate and begin your holiday near Llangorse Lake.

Things to do at Llangorse Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Llangorse Lake

  • Carp
  • Eel
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Roach
  • Tench

Llangorse Lake Photo Gallery

    Llangorse Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 327 acres

    Shoreline Length: 5 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 505 feet

    Average Depth: 10 feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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