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Cardiff’s iconic reservoirs

Brought to you by Welsh Water


From Monday 8 January for two weeks, contractors are undertaking improvements to the footpaths resulting in intermittent path closures. Please take care. If visitors find a route closed, we politely request they seek out alternative pathways and not bypass works by walking on the grass. Thank you.


Enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of walking at Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs.

In order to help us protect our over-wintering wildfowl and the diversity of grassland fungi in particular, please take care when you walk around the site.

Please use signposted trails only and keep off the grass at all times.

Please take notice of our seasonal path closures.

Visitors should wear appropriate footwear when walking our trails around the reservoirs.

Seasonal Path Closures

The Llanishen Reservoir Walk, Visitor Centre To Rhyd-Y-Pennau Woods and the Story Trail are open all year round.

The path around Lisvane Reservoir is closed for winter between October and March to protect the overwintering bird population.

Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1972, Lisvane Reservoir continues to captivate with its diverse bird population. Renowned for its overwintering tufted duck and pochard, the reservoir has maintained its status as a haven for these species, though their numbers have shown a decline in recent years. Nonetheless, visitors still have the opportunity to glimpse these birds in impressive numbers, especially during colder weather. Additionally, Lisvane Reservoir offers an ideal vantage point to observe a variety of other waterfowl including mallards, coots, mute swans, great crested grebes, and little grebes.

Please respect our seasonal path closure and help us protect the SSSI and our precious bird population.

Dogs At Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs

Dogs are permitted on the café balcony, car park and Grab & Go seating area only and are not permitted anywhere else on the site, including the paths.

We know that this will be disappointing news to many nearby residents who would like to walk their dogs at Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs but we have to take seriously any threat to its designation as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) for the rare waxcap fungi.

Natural Resources Wales has advised that the risk from dogs to the fungi is too great. Waxcaps are very sensitive to changes in habitat such as fluctuations in soil moisture, temperature and nitrate levels which can reduce the production of fruiting bodies. In particular, sudden changes to nitrate levels on the site – from dog urine specifically – can have a detrimental effect on the fungi.

Please note that the restrictions are not applicable to assistance dogs.


The paths beyond the pedestrian areas around the visitor centre and car park are not tarmac-based. Laid to a specification that conforms to the site’s designation as a SSSI, the paths are comprised of compacted gravel which may become saturated when it rains resulting in puddles.

Given the ecological sensitivity of the grass embankments, walkers should not leave the paths to avoid standing water, hence the advice to wear waterproof boots or wellies.

Around Llanishen Reservoir

This circular walk around the reservoir is open all year round and accessible to wheelchair users. Take the path heading southwest from the visitor centre towards the old slipway and take the upper route closest to the reservoir. Continue past the pontoon on your left and on past the gantry to your right until the path curves around in an easterly direction. Rhyd-Y-Pennau Woods are on your right. At the south-eastern corner of the reservoir, the path heads north. Follow it until you reach the embankment between Lisvane Reservoir and Llanishen Reservoir and take in the magnificent view of both bodies of water from here. Continue along the embankment towards the Visitor Centre.

Around Lisvane Reservoir

Closed in winter to protect overwintering birds, this short circular walk around the reservoir starts and finishes at the Visitor Centre. It is suitable for wheelchair users. Head east-north-east from the car park with Coed-y-Llwyd Woods on your left and the reservoir on your right. As the path veers east, keep an eye out for the bird islands as you continue round the far end of the water. The path will eventually turn in a more southerly direction, then south-westerly, continuing past the bird hide and onto the lower embankment path between Lisvane Reservoir and Llanishen Reservoir, heading back towards the Visitor Centre.

Visitor Centre To Rhyd-Y-Pennau Woods

This ‘there-and-back’ walk is open all year round and is accessible to wheelchair users. Take the path heading southwest from the visitor centre towards the old slipway and take the lower route. Head towards the gantry, past the dry-stone walls on your left and continue on as the path heads first south towards the Towy Rd Gate (Pedestrian Access) and then east past the bird hide and towards the cinder path where you turn and retrace your steps back to the Visitor Centre. You are more than welcome to continue on up the path and join the Llandishen Reservoir circular trail but it is quite steep and wheelchair users or those with mobility issues may find it difficult, particularly in winter.

Llanishen Story Trail

Commissioned by Cardiff’s Child Friendly City Team, the Llanishen Story Trail is an interactive fable for children and families in the woodlands at Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs. The trail leads children and their families through a curated series of stop points with QR codes where walkers can access each chapter of the particular story. Follow the trail, engage with nature and load up the QR codes to uncover the tale…


Take Care

We ask that all visitors note that Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs comprises a very delicate natural environment including two Sites of Special Scientific (SSSIs). As such, we restrict numbers, activities and access to ensure responsible management of the site. If you have any questions, our team would be happy to explain.