Cae'n y Coed, near Betws-y-Coed
A field in the woods with picnic spots and a forest...
Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.
Since Victorian times, generations of visitors have walked the woodland paths and fished the clear waters of the rivers here.
Today, waymarked walking trails allow visitors to explore this landscape of lakes, forests and mountains and to learn about its mining history.
There is also a mountain bike trail (which is graded red as it is only suitable for proficient riders), a forest garden and a waymarked walk to the famous Swallow Falls.
Between 1850 and 1919, lead and zinc mining dominated the area. The legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.
Nearly all of the lakes in the forest were created to serve the mines.
Several of the most important mines have been partially restored and made safe for visitors.
Nowadays, as you explore the extensive, rolling upland of wooded knolls, lakes and pastures, you will find it difficult to imagine that this was once a derelict industrial landscape.
Gwydir Forest Park covers an area of over 72 square kilometres (28 square miles) and it encircles the village of Betws-y-Coed.
Waymarked walks start from the following parts of Gwydir Forest Park:
The Marin Trail, a red graded mountain bike trail with big climbs and singletrack only descents, starts from Sawbench.
Llyn Crafnant lake is three quarters of a mile long and lies in a beautiful valley where the northern edge of Gwydir Forest meets the lower slopes of the Carneddau mountains.
At the head of Llyn Crafnant is one of the finest views in north Wales, across the lake to the mountains above.
“Llyn” is Welsh for lake but Llyn Crafnant is actually a reservoir. It was once the water supply for the nearby town of Llanwrst.
Crafnant takes its name from “craf”, an old Welsh word for garlic, and “nant”, a stream or valley.
Even today the valley of Afon Crafnant smells of wild garlic when it flowers.
The Natural Resources Wales car park and toilets are located just before the road reaches the lake.
The car park is the starting point for three waymarked walks, one of which is an accessible trail.
There is a privately run lakeside café (open from Easter until late summer) from where visitors can hire boats.
Please note: private boating and swimming is not permitted.
You can also walk from here to the nearby lake of Llyn Geirionnydd.
All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from the car park.Download more info about the trails.
The Afon Crafnant Amble goes along the side of the River Crafnant through areas of towering conifers, young birch trees and open grassy glades. There are benches along the route and the easy gradient and fine surface make it suitable for wheelchair access.
2.5 miles, 4 kilometres
The Llyn Crafnant Circuit is a route around the lake. It starts on a tarmac road before going onto to a forest road that hugs the side of the water. The highlight is the view across the water to the towering crags at the head of the Crafnant Valley.
2.9 miles, 4.7 kilometres
The Crafnant View Trail starts with a long steady climb up a forest road to a log bench where there are views of some of Snowdonia’s finest scenery – lakes, mountains and forest. The trail then goes along a forest path and joins a tarmac road alongside Llyn Crafnant for the return to the car park.
Download more information about the Llyn Crafnant Trails
The Afon Crafnant Amble is an accessible trail. It has an easy gradient with a fine surface and is suitable for wheelchair access. There are benches along the route.
The toilets are open at all times.
The lakeside café and boat hire (which is privately run) is open from Easter until late summer.
Llyn Crafnant is four miles south of Llanwrst off the B5106.
The OS grid reference is SH 757 618.
Car parking is free of charge.
Take the B5106 from Conwy or Betws-y-Coed to Trefriw, then follow signs for Llyn Crafnant.
The nearest train station is in Llanrwst. For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru
Tel: 0300 065 3000
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