Powys Digital History Project

The Elan Valley dams
From Shelley to the Dambusters

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The dams, reservoirs, and 73 mile aqueduct of the ElanValley waterworks in mid-Wales were built a hundred years ago to supply desperately needed clean water to the city of Birmingham in the English midlands.Careg-Ddu  dam

It was an epic feat of civil engineering, and the remarkable story of the Elan Valley dams includes the poet Shelley and the Dambusters of the Second World War.

Use the links below to pages on many aspects of the story of the dams.

Photograph by kind permission of the Rhayader & District History Archives:
Visit their website at

The Elan Valley
Visitor Centre

is located on the road
to the dams.
It includes displays
on the history of
the project.
There is also a
cafe and shop.
Location map
The machines
Birmingham's need,1890's
Caban Coch dam
A source of fresh water
Careg-Ddu dam
The lost valleys
The Foel Tower
Eustace Tickell
Craig Goch dam
Cwm Elan house
Pen-y-Gareg dam
Nantgwyllt house
A new landscape
Shelley in the Elan Valley
Dol-y-Mynach dam
James Mansergh 
The aqueduct
George Yourdi 
Royal opening,1904
Elan Valley Railway
The Dambusters
 The Elan Village
Claerwen dam
 The navvies
High Dam plans,1973
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