The ghosts of Llanwddyn

Friday, July 29th, 2016
  • Lake Vyrnwy

    Somewhere in your daydreams you probably have places you imagine could be home? Your very own ivory tower. We’ve all looked at places and thought “Wow, I’d like to live there.” Well, this is one of those places for me.

    This tower sits on Lake Vyrnwy in Wales. It’s a picturesque location that I visited and photographed many times before. The Gothic revival tower might look like a beautiful ancient castle of some kind, but in fact it was built in 1879 for a less than romantic reason. It’s actually a filtration tower, built to strain out material from the lake’s water before it flows into an aqueduct.

    However, while the view is undeniably enchanting, Lake Vyrnwy hides a tale that conjures ghostly images and stirs the imagination. Beneath the calm clear waters of the pristine lake lie the remains of an entire village called Llanwddyn.

    In the 1870s, the village and surrounding valley were claimed by industrialists and businessmen to make way for the formation of a vast reservoir that would supply water to the booming English port of Liverpool.

    Work began on a huge dam that grew over time casting a long shadow over Llanwddyn as the villagers went about their daily routines. Thirty seven homes, two chapels, three inns, and ten farmhouses made up the village that was vacated in 1881 when the residents were relocated.

    Many of the buildings were demolished shortly before the lake was filled, but some buildings, including one of the chapels, were simply left to the mercy of the rising water that took two years to fill the valley.

    Today it’s still used as a filtration tower by Severn Trent Water. The machinery has been updated, automated, and controlled from a computer terminal in South Wales. However, such facts matter little when one lets the mind wander.

    Would I live here, in this tower on the lake? It seems like a good idea, and certainly the stuff of whimsical daydreams. However, I suspect it might be a rather cold and lonesome abode as it faces the cold harsh Welsh winters. Then of course, when night falls across the lake and all sounds disappear into the darkness, I might wonder if perhaps there is some spooky story that never made its way into history, a secret that never left the former valley maybe. I’m not afraid of the dark, but I might wonder about ghosts from the lost village of Llanwddyn.

    See the tower from the road using Google street view.