Attractions industry news

20 Jul 2023

Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs launch as hubs for health and wellbeing with new visitor centre

Two of Cardiff’s iconic reservoirs are being brought back to life this month, when they reopen to the public as a hub for health and wellbeing.

Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs are set to reopen on 28 July and will, for the first time, allow open water swimming to take place.

In addition, the introduction of a wide-ranging watersports programme will include canoeing, stand up paddleboarding and kayaking.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy 5km of circular paths around the reservoirs, a woodland Story trail and a bird hide.

A brand new two-storey visitor centre has been built, offering views across the reservoirs and a cafe/restaurant featuring local produce in the mornings and lunch. The café will be transformed into a ‘restaurant by night’ in September 2023, when an evening menu will be available three evenings a week.

The project is driven by Welsh Water, which acquired the reservoirs in 2016.

Since then, the company has been working with partners and the local community to bring the reservoirs back into operational use and to create a health and wellbeing hub.

Built in the late-19th century, Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs are a Victorian landmark – covering 110 acres of green and blue space and home to a range of flora and fauna. They encompass two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The reservoirs came under threat in 2001, which led members of the local community forming the Reservoir Action Group (RAG), which successfully campaigned to save the reservoirs from a housing development.

In 2016, Welsh Water stepped in, purchasing a 999-year lease for the site from Celsa Steel. Since taking over the site, Welsh Water has worked in partnership with RAG on the plans.

Richard Cowie, the chair of RAG, said: “RAG was formed with two aims: to prevent a housing development on the site of Llanishen reservoir; and to protect both Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs as a recreational resource for future generations of Cardiffians to enjoy.

"After a long 12-year fight, thanks to Celsa and Welsh Water, our second goal has also now been achieved.

"We are absolutely delighted to see Welsh Water open their spectacular new visitor centre and reopen the reservoirs to the public, and we have enjoyed working with them to achieve this outcome”.

Julie Morgan, Member of the Senedd for Cardiff North, said: “After a long and united community effort for the last 20+ years, it is fantastic that Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs are back in operation.

"I have been involved in the fight to save the reservoirs since the beginning as I firmly believe that they should be open and available for all to use and enjoy.

"The new facilities that have been created by Welsh Water will create a hub for health, wellbeing and nature in the heart of Cardiff North. I’m so pleased that the community have been successful, and I’m looking forward to seeing the reservoirs become a thriving community space.”

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