From Talgarth free car park off the A479 roundabout, walk back onto High Street. After the small shops turn right onto Penbont Road. Bear left at the fork by the strand Café. The road is narrow and at the fork bear left up Hospital Road. Follow the single track road up a hill for about 1 mile. A short distance after the last houses of Talgarth, the small reserve car park and entrance is on the right where you will find an information panel. You can drop off and pick up here but will need to park in the Free car park during busy times. There is also a brown signed walking route from the free car park that avoids some road.
Please be considerate to local residents and refrain from parking in any of the passing places on this single track road.
Nearest town: Talgarth.
GridReferenceSO 165 326
DirectionsFind out here
Public TransportFind out here
Walking InformationYou are allowed to visit the reserve on foot for your quiet enjoyment of the wildlife present. Please keep to the paths and any dogs under close control. This is to protect ground nesting birds, dormice and otters which are easily disturbed.
AccessA gravelled access path, with a gradient suitable for people in wheelchairs and pushchairs, leads from the main car park into the heart of the reserve. Currently there is a bench at the end. From here, a more uneven and sometimes muddy path leads to the main waterfall. There are numerous steps up above the waterfall to complete the circular walk back past the quarry. A network of other unsurfaced trails run around the reserve which can be uneven, muddy and feature steps in several places.
Geology TrailThe site has some very interesting geological features. A leaflet describing the geological features and trail to look out for is available from the Tourist Information Office and online.
ParkingThere is very limited rough parking on site please consider walking from Talgarth Free Car Park so that less able people are able to enjoy this reserve.
DogsThis site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Dogs must be on lead all year round as dormice hibernate at ground level in the winter and nest near the ground in summer. We strongly recommend that dogs are free run elsewhere. All dog mess must be bagged and taken home, this protects the fragile ecology of this reserve.
Grazing AnimalsOccaisional stray cattle and deer.
Factsheets and Guides for Your Visit
Please note that until further notice, some of the paths on this nature reserve will soon be closed to public access. This is due to the presence of Ash Dieback in the trees.
This is the Trust’s most visited nature reserve in the Brecknock area and was extended in 2012 to double its original size, with the help of a grant from the Countryside Council for Wales.
It is 17.5 hectares of beautiful ancient woodland, which slopes down to the banks of the River Enig. Near the eastern end of the reserve the river plunges over a spectacular waterfall into a dark pool below, known as the “Witches Pool” from which the reserve gets it name.
What to look out for
The woodland is particularly beautiful in early spring when white patches of wood anemones merge with a yellow carpet of lesser celandines. In late spring bluebells fleck the woodland floor with shimmering blue and the white flowers of wild garlic give the air a pungent smell.
Look out for the strange looking toothwort plant near the base of trees (especially hazel), down by the river. It lacks chlorophyll and is parasitic on the trees.
Dormice live in the reserve, although you are unlikely to see these golden brown creatures. In some parts of the reserve small groups of trees have been felled to encourage the food-plants of dormice, such as bramble and honeysuckle, to grow.
Species and habitats
HabitatsMixed deciduous Woodland, Rivers & Streams
SpeciesAlder, Ash, Bird's-nest Orchid, Bluebell, Bracken, Bramble, Caddis Fly, Chiffchaff, Common Frog, Dipper, Dog violet, Dog's Mercury, Dormouse, Early-purple Orchid, Enchanter's nightshade, Field Maple, Ground-ivy, Guelder-rose, Hart's-Tongue, Hawthorn, Hazel, Herb Robert, Holly, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Lady-fern, Large White, Lesser Celandine, Lords-and-Ladies, Male-fern, Meadow Brown, Pied Flycatcher, Pygmy Shrew, Ramsons, Rowan, Sessile Oak, Speckled Wood, Spindle, Sycamore, Wood Anemone, Wood Avens, Wood Mouse, Wood Warbler, Wood-sorrel, Wych Elm, Yellow Archangel
Further information about path closures onsite
Our detailed assessment of the number and health of the ash trees (and the risk they pose to site users) determined that making enough trees safe would cause too much harm to the nature reserve, especially the species that depend on ash. It would also reduce our ability to learn about any resilience these local trees might have.
Therefore, with wildlife in mind, we have decided to leave the trees standing- but that means we reluctantly have to reduce public access here until further notice. This decision will be kept under review and this site updated if the situation changes.
The path closures will be clearly marked on site and for your own safety we would ask that you respect the closures and instead continue to enjoy the other routes still available on the site.
For further information on Ash Dieback and the Trust’s policy on managing it, visit our Ash Dieback page.