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Rhayader, United Kingdom

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The workaday market town of RHAYADER (Rhaeder Gwy, literally "waterfall on the Wye") is an excellent base for exploring the wild, spartan countryside to the west of the town, a hilly patchwork of waterfalls, bogland, bare peaks and the four interlocking reservoirs of the Elan Valley, a nine-mile-long string of four lakes built between 1892 and 1903. Three miles north, just off the A470, the lovely Gilfach Farm nature reserve (unrestricted access; free) features meadows, oak forest, moorland and river habitats, which together support a huge variety of wildlife and flora. A restored longhouse barn …
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