Gwydyr Forest Park
In a nutshell. Walks and wildlife, secret lakes and surprising industrial heritage.
The Gwydyr Forest is more than just woodland – albeit a very beautiful one.
It’s amongst the most-visited forests in Wales.
The fact that there’s easy access from Betws-y-Coed, the bustling mountain resort, may have something to do with that.
Betws-y-Coed is almost enclosed by the 7,250-hectare/17,900-acre forest, and a number of walking trails begin here – Pen yr Allt, for example, a 4¼-mile ‘moderate’ walk that loops northwards with views of ever-dominant Moel Siabod rising above the trees.
There are 14 walks in all, taking in all that Gwydyr Forst has to offer...That’s a lot!
The Hafna Miners’ Trail, for example, tells the story of the men who once toiled in Gwydyr’s lead mines.
The Crafnant and Geirionydd Trails take you to two idyllic lakes hidden deep in the woods.
The walk from Ty’n Llwyn car park, on the other hand, goes to one of Wales’s most famous beauty spots, Swallow Falls.
For horse riders there’s the Gwydyr Trekking and Riding Stables based in Penmachno. And mountain bikers will make for the Marin Trail, a challenging 16-mile route with big climbs, big descents and awesome views.
Everyone, though, should take time to ‘stop and stare’, for Gwydyr Forest rewards gentle exploration.
Its woods conceal a wealth of wildlife.
Birds such as nuthatches, crossbills and woodpeckers can be spotted amongst the trees, while the lakes attract dippers, grey herons and great crested grebes.
Beautiful, ancient copses appear amongst the conifers, and springtime brings a stunning carpet of bluebells.