Saving the Llyngwyn wild carp

12 February 2024

Wild Carp Trust forms a special relationship with Rhayader & Elan Valley AA to save the Llyngwyn wild carp

Wild Carp Trust President John Bailey and Chairman Fennel Hudson have met with the Chairman and Secretary of Rhayader & Elan Valley AA, the angling association that owns Llyngwyn – the UK’s most famous wild carp water. They discussed the phosphate pollution at the lake and, based on professional advice provided by experts including Prof Carl Sayer, agreed how the Wild Carp Trust and Rhayader & Elan Valley AA will work together to protect the carp.

Further info below.


Catchment-wide pollution that threatens one of the UK’s oldest strains of carp

The pollution at Llyngwyn is not simply a local issue, rather it is part of the catastrophic pollution of the water table across the River Wye catchment. Phosphates from agriculture, especially manure from intensive chicken farming, are washed into the soil and then percolate up from the water table through springs into waters such as Llyngwyn. The image here shows the geographic extent of the intensive chicken farming, which is staggering.

River Wye catchment pollution

The extent of intensive chicken farming in the River Wye catchment. The density has a level unmatched across the whole of Europe. Map Credit: Brecon and Radnor Branch of CPRW, Dr. Alison Caffyn, Dr. Christine Hugh-Jones and Margaret Tregear of Brecon and Radnor Branch of CPRW

The chicken sheds in the Wye catchment presently house around 20 million chickens that produce 4,000 tonnes of phosphate per year. (Phosphorous represents 0.5% of the manure content.) Against such intensive pollution, it’s clear that there’s no quick fix for Llyngwyn. The pollution will affect the lake for years. Until the wider issue is resolved, the phosphates will remain – and likely increase – within the water table.

What’s the risk to the wild carp?

Large volumes of algae and weed are present in Llyngwyn, growing due to the excess phosphate in the water. The risk is high that dissolved oxygen levels within the water will crash when the algae and weed decomposes, further destroying the invertebrate life food chain and ‘suffocating’ the fish within the water. Because of this, the Wild Carp Trust and Rhayader & Elan Valley AA have formed a special relationship where both organisations will work together to save the carp. We’re in this together, and for the long term. The Wild Carp Trust will prioritise its resources to rescue and rehome the carp, while both organisations monitor the algae and oxygen levels in the lake. This will be the Wild Carp Trust’s key focus for the coming years.

Ultimately both the Wild Carp Trust and Rhayader & Elan Valley AA want to see Llyngwyn return to health so that the carp and trout it contains can thrive. Llyngwyn has been home to these wild carp for more than 600 years, and we wish it to remain so, while getting as many carp as possible to safe new homes. Wild Carp Trust members will be invited to help in this task, removing carp by rod and line through the year. (Larger scale netting and electrofishing is possible, once we have enough funds and conservation pools to permit it.)

Please, please help

The situation is sad and desperate, so please help us in our fundraising and rehoming activities, also by lobbying for the reduction in agricultural pollution in the Wye catchment. You can join us here, or donate here. We need to raise £10,000 to fund the purchase of transport tanks and oxygen meters, cover the costs of electrofishing and netting, and to lease more conservation pools.

For more information on the pollution in the Wye catchment, please see: and watch the Rivercide documentary here: