Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs

Bringing Cardiff’s iconic reservoirs back to life

Welcome to our page about our exciting plans for the Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoir site. Our vision for the site is to create a hub for recreation, health and wellbeing – and provide an area in our vibrant capital where people can reconnect with water and our beautiful environment. On this page, you will find out all of the information you need about our future plans for the site and also how you can play a part in the decision making process.


We took over Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs in 2016 – and became guardians of its amazing ecology and heritage.

Built in the late-19th century, this Victorian landmark covers 110 acres of green and blue space and is home to amazing flora and fauna – offering an oasis of calm just a few miles from Cardiff’s city centre.

Lisvane Reservoir is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for overwintering birds; and the embankments of both reservoirs are designated SSSI for waxcap  fungi. Much of the reservoir grassland and scrub woodland outside the SSSI is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

Ever since we took over Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs  in 2016 we have been working to bring them back to  their former glory. Whilst understanding the ecological importance  of the site, we also recognise the site’s potential to create a  hub for recreation, health and wellbeing – and provide an area in our vibrant capital where people can reconnect with water and our beautiful environment. Our proposals aim to maximise public access whilst protecting and enhancing the  ecology of the site. They have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders and using feedback received from the local community.

The work so far

Restoring the reservoirs and bringing them back into operational use so they can be enjoyed for decades to come has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Ecologists have overseen every stage of this work to minimise   the impact of the work and protect the iconic wildlife all around – from the waxcap fungi to the overwintering  birds.

Since taking over the site in 2016 we have carried out a lot of work which has been essential in restoring the reservoirs. This has included:

  • vegetation clearance within both reservoirs
  • repairing the stone pitching on the inside of the dam wall at Llanishen reservoir
  • repairing and replacing valves and pipes needed to operate the reservoirs  safely
  • reinstating the perimeter fence
  • draining Llanishen reservoir to fully inspect it before allowing it to safely refill
  • introducing a new mowing regime for the reservoir embankments, which has enhanced the grassland for the waxcap fungi

The Visitor Hub 

Our vision is to create a community hub for the local area and visitors to enjoy. At the northern end, we will create a visitor hub with spectacular views across both reservoirs. The two-storey building will  feature:

  • Changing rooms, showers and toilets to enable water-sports use
  • Meeting and training rooms
  • Cafe with panoramic views across the  reservoirs

So you can enjoy the spectacular views and nature around us – we will also create:

  • Circular paths around the reservoirs
  • Bird hides and a viewpoint
  • Conservation areas
  • Site wide signage and interpretation and a nature  trail
Virtual room


Information Room

We have created a virtual information room to show you our plans for Lisvane and Llanishen.

Take a look around here

Access and parking

Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs are widely loved across Cardiff and further afield – so we want to make sure the site will also be as accessible to the local community and wider capital as possible, whilst protecting and enhancing the unique ecology of the site.

New access points and circular paths around the crest of the reservoirs and site will connect to local communities and public rights of way. We have carefully designed paths to guide visitors around the site and minimise impacts on ecologically sensitive areas. A wheelchair friendly bird hide will allow visitors to quietly observe the overwintering birds on Lisvane  reservoir.

Parking will also be available at the visitor hub for those  that need to travel by car. We also hope to be able to offer disabled parking provision and access to a viewpoint  on Llanishen reservoir from Rhyd-y-Penau Rd. We are a Dementia Friendly organisation and are committed to offering  Sailability.

The reservoirs site will be free to enter and open to the public 364 days a year. However to protect the overwintering birds and waxcap fungi, public access to Lisvane reservoir will be restricted during the winter months.


As part of our plans to transform the reservoirs into a hub for health and wellbeing, we intend to bring back watersports to Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs.
Our plans include providing water-based activities – windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, electric picnic boats, and more.

Sailing would also come back to Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs for the first time since the club was moved to Cardiff Bay in 2010. The site was one of the most prominent and well-loved sailing training centres in Wales and our intention will be to bring back this sport for people in Cardiff and south Wales to enjoy once  more.

We also intend to bring paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking to the reservoir – allowing everyone the chance to enjoy a range of watersports and learn new skills in a safe inland environment.

We’ve had a number of suggestions in support of open water swimming at the site during our open engagement with you over the past year or two. Unfortunately our plans to pilot open water swimming at one of our other visitor attraction sites this year has been put on hold due to coronavirus  restrictions. However we remain committed to exploring this  opportunity.


At Welsh Water, we believe in engaging with young people as they ultimately will be our customers of the future and will play a key role in helping us protect our precious water resources.

We already offer a comprehensive education programme which in 2019-2020 reached more than 75,000 children – and our education programmes have reached more than half a million children since they were established in 2001. Lisvane and Llanishen offer huge potential for building on this record as an educational resource, and so form a big part of our plans.

So our plans include:

  • On-site rangers will deliver activities to visitors, schoolchildren and corporate groups to let them know about the special significance of the  reservoirs
  • A Learning Zone with Welsh round house – which would support Forest  School programmes and be available  for use by education, community & wellbeing  groups
  • Development of learning materials to complement Curriculum objectives
  • Work experience, skills development and training placement opportunities
  • Watersports training and courses

Wildlife, Conservation and Ecology

We take our responsibility for safeguarding the environment for future generations very seriously.

Since we took on the reservoirs, we have been very aware of the precious ecological – and historical – value of the site and have worked closely with Natural Resources Wales, Cadw and other specialists in restoring the reservoirs and developing our future plans.

The site is a unique natural resource of significant ecological value. It includes two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for waxcap fungi and overwintering birds. Gwern-y-Bendy Wood and Rhyd-y-Pennau Woods are Sites of Importance for  Nature Conservation.

A range of studies have been carried out – including ecological, transport, access and flooding. These studies and their findings form part of the information we have submitted as part of the pre-planning application. All of the reports and associated documents can be viewed at the foot of this page.

To safeguard the unique ecology of the site our proposals include:

  • A Winter Conservation Zone on Lisvane reservoir to protect overwintering birds
  • Floating islands on Lisvane to create a bird  refuge
  • Bird hides on Lisvane embankment
  • Conservation Zone in Gwern-y-Bendy  Woods



Health & Wellbeing 

In addition to offering water-based and education activities, we also recognise the site’s potential for being a hub for health and wellbeing.

Our Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being (ENRaW) project has been developed through an innovative partnership and is funded by Welsh  Government.

This will see us working with the Reservoir Action Group, Cardiff Council & Cardiff & Vale University Health Board and a range of organisations to offer activities to benefit people’s own health, while also helping enhance the site’s environment and biodiversity.

The project will enable the creation of:

  • circular paths around the reservoirs and a wheelchair friendly bird hide
  • a Learning Zone with a Welsh round  house
  • a Friends group to work with us to enhance biodiversity and help care for the site in the future
  • a community engagement programme working with partners and local organisations
  • a community heritage project to collect memories for the new signage interpretation  scheme
  • social prescribing opportunities working in partnership with the healthcare sector

Volunteering at Lisvane and Llanishen

Welsh Water recognises that Lisvane and Llanishen Reservoirs are at the heart of the communities’ landscape and heritage, and the residents of these communities helped protect the site for the benefit of future generations. To help deliver our vision of creating an urban hub for health & wellbeing we are supporting the formation of a Friends Group to help people get involved with the reservoirs and the site’s heritage.

Prior to the site opening to the public, members of the group will have the chance to work with Welsh Water and co-create volunteering events that will help with conservation management activities to protect and enhance the unique ecology of the site.

The group will also be able to support the collation of information to capture the rich history and heritage through the eyes of the community and enable us to tell the stories to future visitors.

Once opened to the public the Friends Group will continue to support Welsh Water to help care for the site; maximising opportunities for visitors to make use of the natural environment in order to benefit their wellbeing, encourage physical activity and volunteering.

If you’d like to find out more then please get in touch. You can register your interest by completing the online form below.

We are currently undertaking a 28-day statutory pre-application consultation on the draft planning application (ahead of the planning submission). All relevant drawings, reports and supplementary documents are made available for inspection below.

Masterplan Documents

Design and Access Statement

103.4MB, PDF

Planning Statement

622.6kB, PDF

Application Forms

171.1kB, PDF

Cover Letter

223.3kB, PDF


1.2MB, JPG

5 Masterplan 110220


7 Llanishen and Lisvane Final FCA Report 03072020

12.6MB, PDF

8 Llanishen FCA Modelling Report 70062284MOD01 July 2020

55.5MB, PDF

9 Site Location Plan

7.8MB, PDF

Access and Transport Documents

Lisvane and Llanishen Visitor hub consultation document schedule

457.3kB, PDF

40 Lisvane Llanishen Visitor Hub TA 10025954ARCXXXXRP0001 P02

32.4MB, PDF

41 LISARCXX070DRC0012P03AccessRoadGeneralArrangement OS Mapping

750.9kB, PDF

42 LISARCXX070DRC0009P01AccessRoadCross Sections Sheet 1

398.3kB, PDF

43 LISARCXX070DRC0018P01AccessRoadCross Sections Sheet 2

390.1kB, PDF

44 LISARCXX070DRC0008P01StandardRoadDetails

650.6kB, PDF


1.3MB, PDF


292.9kB, PDF


396.3kB, PDF


312kB, PDF


354.7kB, PDF


413kB, PDF


688.9kB, PDF


462.5kB, PDF

Architectural Documents

10 S002 Site Plan A014

3.8MB, PDF

11 L001 Ground floor A014

330.2kB, PDF

12 L002 First floor A014

317kB, PDF

13 L003 Roof level A014

184.7kB, PDF

14 L004 2nd floor Future expansion A014

202.3kB, PDF

15 L011 North Elevation A014

2.6MB, PDF

16 L012 East Elevation A014

3.8MB, PDF

17 L013 South Elevation A014

1.1MB, PDF

18 L014 West Elevation A014

331.8kB, PDF

19 L015 Cross section AAA013

529.9kB, PDF

20 L016 Long section BB A014

347.1kB, PDF

21 L017 Boat workshop 1 A013

2.6MB, PDF

22 L018 Boat workshop 2 A013

1.3MB, PDF

23 A000 Areas A013

105.6kB, PDF

Ecology Surveys

Llanishen Reservoir Phase 1 Habitat Assessment Final Report April 2020 redacted v1

14.7MB, PDF

52 P4318 Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs Fungi Survey 2019 Final


54 Proposed visitor centre Tree constraints survey

1.1MB, PDF

55 P1231 Lisvane Reservoir SSSI wintering waterfowl assessment Final v20

424.9kB, PDF

56 P1231 Llanishen Reservoirs fungi assessment 2016 FINAL

12.6MB, PDF

60 P1937 Llanishen Reservoirs fungi survey 2017 Final inc Addendum

3.3MB, PDF

62 APEM P00002816 Llanishen Lisvane Crayfish Final Report

2.9MB, PDF

63 P1937 Llanishen Reservoir glow worm survey 2018 Final

1.3MB, PDF

64 Aboriculture impact Report 2019

3.7MB, PDF

65 P3743 DCWW Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs EcIA Final Report

3.1MB, PDF

Landscape Documents

24 LTS09908101Landscape General ArrangementREVB


25 LTS09908102Landscape CallOutsREVB

1.7MB, PDF

26 LTS09908103Existing Trees Removed ProtectedREVB

1.5MB, PDF

27 LTS09908701Landscape SectionsSheet 1 of 5REVB

3.8MB, PDF

28 LTS09908702Landscape SectionsSheet 2 of 5

1.8MB, PDF

29 LTS09908705Landscape SectionsSheet 5 of 5REVB

786.5kB, PDF

Site Infrastructure Documents

47 Floating bird refuge 181019


48 Pontoon layout

257.7kB, PDF

49 180858FULELEVATION113531 Roundhouse

391.2kB, PDF

50 Bird hide design

366.1kB, PDF

Structural Documents

30 37101012 GA Plan Foundation

95kB, PDF

31 37101022 GA Plan Ground floor

119.6kB, PDF

32 37101031 GA Plan First Floor

128kB, PDF

33 37101041 GA Plan Second Floor

119.8kB, PDF

34 37101051 GA Plan Upper roof

90.9kB, PDF

35 37101103 GA Plan bridge

179.1kB, PDF

36 37102012 Sections Sheet 1

105.5kB, PDF

37 37102052 Sections Sheet 5

105.2kB, PDF

38 37106011 Foul Water Drainage Concept

404.5kB, PDF

39 37107002 Site Constraints

482.2kB, PDF
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Lisvane and Llanishen newsletter

PDF, 300.2kB

Find out a bit more about the work that has been taking place and what is planned for the next few months.