Height – 37m
Length – 186m
Volume – 35,530 megalitres
Designed to look like a waterfall when overflowing, Caban Coch was the first dam to be worked on. The stone in the quarry nearby was used inside the dams, but the facing stone was a sandstone brought up from the Vale of Glamorgan. Caban Coch means “Red Cabin”. It is five minutes’ walk from the Visitor Centre.
Eustace Tickell, one of the senior engineers on the scheme, and chief Engineer of Pen y Garreg, wrote about Caban Coch: “… in time of flood, when the storm water rushes over the crest and falls to a depth of over 120 feet, the dam at Caban Coch will present the appearance of a magnificent waterfall”.
Compensation water is always released from the bottom of Caban Coch into the River Elan. This was written into law when Birmingham Corporation bought the Elan Valley estate, as the River Elan is a tributary of the River Wye.