Taf Fechan Reservoir


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The eerie combination of a spiky tower and seemingly bottomless watery pit has always given me a feeling of tranquil terror…Did a fair Rapunzel live in the tower protected by Scylla and Charybdis like monsters lurking within the pit…waiting to drag those crossing the bridge to their squelchy demise? No, of course not, the tower and gaping mawr are actually the bell valve tower and bell mouth spillway of the reservoir built in 1923-7 by the Taf Fechan Water Corporation to provide water for South Wales. Laying within the Brecon Beacons National Park, framed by forested banks and mountains this is a beautiful and soothing place. Although beneath the enigmatic waters resides a submerged secret. Incorporating the earlier Pentwyn reservoir from 1858, the creation of the reservoir involved the deluge of several farms, cottages along with a church and chapel. My parents would tell me as a child that if you listened closely you could hear the toiling of the church bells beneath the water. During a drought way back in the eighties I remember seeing the remains of what I think was the old chapel.

As with the Synagogue, the valve tower has a fairy tale Gothic quality, octagonal in plan and built of coursed rock faced penant stone. Pointed arches with hood mouldings, corbelling and a spiky copper clad roof contrast with the sombre penant stone. I would rather not dwell on the bell mouth spillway too much. Suffice to say it is a very deep hole with a concave bell shaped section designed to regulate the water level of the reservoir. As to monsters and ghostly church bells emanating from sunken lands – I think we can safely say such
things do not exist or do they?…

Additional information

Accent colour

None, Grey, Red

Illustration Size

A3, A4