GUIDE TO THE AFON TARELL
NAME OF RIVER: Tarell.
WHERE IS IT?: Parallels the A470 through an attractive valley overlooked by the Brecon Beacons.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Turn-off the A470 Brecon-Merthyr road opposite the A4215, down a narrow road to Old Glanrhyd. Put in by the road bridge just before a sharp left-hand bend. Take-out at the first road bridge in Brecon after the A470 round-about, or continue down to the Usk.
APPROX LENGTH: 10 km.
TIME NEEDED: 2 Hours+.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Needs lots of water, only possible after heavy rain. Trees would be a major problem in full-spate.
GRADING: Grade 3.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Lots of fallen trees, I can remember about three tree portages required in Nov 02, and a few more that could be sneaked past/ ducked under. 'Zimmer Falls' is a Horseshoe weir about half way down that may require portaging.
Guy Genge...'Paddled this on 26 March 06. Alot of the trees on the river left bank have been felled and in the most part the bigger stuff has been sawn in to logs and stacked up in the field. BUT there are A LOT of smaller branches in the water, mostly at face height and/ or in the eddies, plus a few healthy trees for good measure. The combination of small and dubious eddies and the constant strainer risk can make this an irksome run - harder work to paddle safely than the grade suggests.'
Hywel (Dec 2003)...'I did this a couple of weeks ago (i.e. mid-Dec 2003). Shortly after the major weir, there is a stone bridge (leading to Libanus mill?). There was a wire mesh, some 6 inches wide, across the river, just above the water (at medium spate level). I hit it, went under and rolled up. A mate following took it at chest level and broke it. Take care lest it has been replaced.'
Sam Moore (Dec 2003)...'3 riverwide tree blockages, two above Zimmer falls, one below. The first two are after about 1km and 2km respectivley. The last is on a flat section towards the end. There were also several sneaks that would be a lot harder in high water.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Lively tributary of the Usk, worth doing if it's up. Almost immediately after the put-in is a small drop on a left hand bend. The river continues at grade 2-3 through mini-gorges with numerous waves and small stoppers, trees being the only significant obstacles before Zimmer Falls. This Horseshoe weir can be shot with care, although inspection is recommended, and there is a metal obstruction on one part of it.
Small drops follow, until a grade 3/ 3+ sloping drop is reached on the left-hand side of an island, which is the recommended route.
As the river flows beneath the Ffrwdgrech Industrial Estate it notches up a grade, culminating in a pour-over under a bridge, best taken on the left to avoid being eaten (to which one of our group can testify)! Calm water then flows to the get-out.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Dave Chambers, also Sam Moore, Guy Genge and Hywel.