Welsh for “Pool of the Leeches,” Pwll y Gele is a six-acre lake situated at a height of seven-hundred feet, located between two minor roads which run south from Llanfachreth.
This is one of several pools in Wales which were used for the breeding of leeches for medical use, in fact Wales was the leech-farming capital of Europe some two-hundred years ago. In the Victorian age, some forty-two million leeches a year were used for medical blood-letting in Britain. Leeches are still used in medicine today, but no longer inhabit this lake (as far as I am aware anyway).
The lake was enlarged with a small dam, which includes a date of 1956. The dam was damaged in the mid-2000s, but work has taken place over the past few years to fix this and to enhance the footpaths, including the building of a couple of new wooden bridges.
Young salmon were introduced here in the 1980s in the hopes of encouraging them to return to breed, but nothing became of the venture. The lake is teeming with trout and minnows, along with ducks, grey herons, dragonflies, insects and frogs.
There is a very pretty footpath which runs from the quiet west road, over a stream, beside the southern edge of the pool (over the dam) and exits at two points on the eastern (even quieter) road.
A footpath also runs the opposite way from the western road for around a mile, crosses a minor road and then follows a driveway which leads to Lower Lodge, the southern entrance to the old Nannau Deer Park.