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North Wales Off The Beaten Track

Day Tripping North Wales, Walking in Sunshine, Almost!

With the first weekend of proper blue sky sunshine upon us and a bit of heat in the air to accompany, thoughts turn to getting out of the city, even if just for a day and heading into the countryside.

Living in Manchester we are lucky enough to have a host of easy to reach destinations whether traveling north, south, east or west. That said, it is never a difficult one you make in choosing Wales, one of my favorite places on the planet. It doesn’t matter how far or wide I travel this globe of ours I never tire of trips to Wales, where even a familiar landscape causes me to smile as the light shows it in a subtle different and ever changing fresh perspective.

Whilst most of the traffic is headed for the familiar coastal regions we take a road less traveled and not a million miles away from the National Trust Bodnant Gardens. Turning off onto narrow twisting country lanes we are headed for a place, although familiar to and well used by locals, that is a bit of a well-kept secret, “Parc Coedwig Gwydyr” Llyn Crafnant (Gwydyr Forest Park) I discovered this place a couple of years back and having visited a couple of times I am always keen to return.

Even at this time of the year when many trees are not in leaf, some just breaking bud, there is much to marvel and catch the breath in what must be one of North Wales best kept secrets. Though the air chills a little as the sun goes into hiding and clouds roll across the hills, the sweet smell of spring and the boney silhouette of still nude trees among sloping fields of last year’s rusted and flattened bracken ferns, sit stark and strong against the blackened shimmer of the lakes lolloping waves, whilst mossy stone walls shelter dainty wild flowers, brave enough to open  and catch the careful eye. Past babbling brooks that gurgle and whisper, across rock and mound, cascade downhill from stone stepped waterfalls, to brackish small ponds, streaming icy cold flow, to join the lake below.

Although the sun disappeared in part not long after we arrive the dappled light and rays cast through fragmented cloud still manage to light the lake valley in luminous tones of passing winter and early spring colour as ones crosses into the other.

There are a number of walks, either by the lake side or forest, with trails clearly marked along with average walking times for each. We took a brisk walk around and beyond the lakes perimeter, about an hour and a half, and finishing up at the charming Café by the water’s edge. Set to the end of a row of traditional stone cottages it daily serves a full English, among other options until 11 am, along with a variety of sandwiches, lunches and homemade cakes. On warmer days, or for hardier souls, there are picnic tables by the lakeside. Worth noting these are only for the use of Café patrons.

There is also a good selection of homemade vegetarian options on offer too, including vegetarian sausage, so breakfast for all!!

Top Travel Tip

If you plan on visiting the Café be sure to bring cash as they do not accept cards of any description.

Cafe and Fishing Click this link 

Park Information For park maps and walking routes  Click this link

 

North Wales Tourist Information Click this link

 

Traffic and Routes Click this link

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