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Blog: Hear from our partners about ‘Walking With Water’

As part of our ‘Walking With Water‘ initiative, we have teamed up with various project partners to help spread the word and get more people outdoors and appreciating the sources of our water supply.

Hear from water companies and our project partners on what walks are being recommended:

The Outdoor Guide

The Outdoor Guide Logo

The Outdoor Guide (TOG) brings together information for walks all around the UK. Whether you enjoy hiking in stunning hills, exploring mountains, or strolling through picturesque villages, TOG has everything you need. If you love adventure and discovering new landscapes, let The Outdoor Guide be your trusted companion on your next memorable journey into nature – just remember to walk near water!

To learn more about how their dedication to the outdoors aligns with CCW, read our guest blog for The Outdoor Guide.

Tony Rees from South Wales Rivers Trust

Tony Rees, an elderly man, is standing in front of a Pontsticill road sign.

Tony Rees chairs the South East Wales Rivers Trust, one of the six regional River trusts in Wales, represented by Walking With Water partner Afonydd Cymru (their umbrella organisation).

Tony took us on a walk along the River Taff towards Ponsticill reservoir, one of the most important sources of drinking water in South East Wales, close to his beloved hometown of Merthyr Tydfil. Listen to Tony talk about the walk on our Waterfall podcast, episode 45.

Who am I?

I am a keen angler since I was 11! I was a butcher by profession. I love Merthyr Tydfil where I was born and raised. I would not live anywhere else in the world. I am 84 and have seen big positive changes in River Taff’s water quality where I suggest you walk. A lot of work has happened to prevent hazardous substances from polluting the river through industrial activity. We need to keep it safe!

Where the walk is?

Tony's driving instructions from Pant to Pontsticill

Tony’s driving instructions to Ponsticill

I picked the destination spot of Ponsticill that you can reach from different parts of the famous Taff trail. The Taff Trail offers navigable and accessible walk and cycle routes. If you chose a longer trail you can stop at various Welsh towns and use the accommodation they offer overnight.

Ponsticill is reached through a part of the trail that meets one of the country roads near Merthyr Tydfil – this means it is also accessible by car, for a brief day visit. Pontsticill is 4 miles to the junction of the River Taff Fechan, and Taff Fawr, joining to form the main River Taff, from the peaks of Penyfan. Whichever direction you reach this point from, I suggest you head towards Ponsticill reservoir and a viewpoint past its gates. Most of River Taff Fechan’s watershed is used to fill this reservoir.

Why I chose this walk

When on this walk, you can witness the journey of the river from its source, into a reservoir that brings you water, and then also flows into a biodiversity-rich river. Whether you walk upstream or downstream, you can see how connected and reliant we and nature are on this water source.

Walking to a reservoir to see how much water it holds is really important in making a connection with our water use and its availability. In the past few years water levels have been visibly lower in early summer time. Often that is soon after flooding where we could also see how the reservoir overflows. The flow from the reservoir is what is called “compensation flow.” It must be released from the reservoir to make sure the river flows healthy, supporting nature and fish!

On this walk you can spot…

Depending on where you start from, there is a lot of history and nature on route to spot!  You can spot historic collieries, bridges, towns, brown trout, the protected Bullhead, Miller’s Thumb, and lots of birds along the riverbanks when you walk! You can also visit Taff Fechan nature reserve! Make sure you download CCW’s free activity booklet to note down what you see!

This walk inspires me to…

This walk and location continues to inspire me to be mindful and respectful to nature with my water use. Living and walking close to a significant reservoir helps me understand how my river flows to supply nature and us with water. It would be great to have live cameras showing us what prolonged dry weather, or rain, means for water levels as very often it is hard to understand how water levels drop so quickly in a country where it rains a lot.

Visit CCW’s water save tips pages to see how you can save water, money on bills and protect the environment.

Follow CCW, Waterfall Podcast and Afonydd to share your routes and what inspires you when #walkingwithwater.

@AfonyddCymru, @CCWvoice, @waterfall_podcast


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