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Top ten winter walks

Wrap up warm ready for a winter adventure and then pick one of these walks in a woodland or National Nature Reserve

Coed y Brenin in snow

Your choice of routes

We’ve chosen these ten routes as they are at their best on a crisp winter’s day. Follow a trail to a famous waterfall, climb up high for views of snow-capped mountains or discover the legend of Wales’s very own Saint Valentine.

The routes include two all-ability trails and several shorter walks suitable for families with young children.  

Click on the links below for more information.

Plan your trip

  • You can download any of these routes free of charge onto your Apple or Android device from Viewranger or TrailZilla. (We recommend that you download routes and maps before leaving home so that you can use them without the need for a mobile signal)
  • The PlacesToGo app shows you where you can go and what you can do in Wales’s public forests and National Nature Reserves. The PlaceTales app includes audio trails and folk tales to bring these places to life. Find out how to download the free apps Places to go and Place Tales apps before you set off on your trip
  • Traveline Cymru is a one-stop-shop for information about travel by bus, coach and train in Wales. Find all the information you need about public transport in one place on the Traveline Cymru website

Enjoy your visit

The Countryside Code helps you respect, protect and enjoy the countryside, enabling you to get the most out of your visit.

It provides you with helpful advice about:

  • Preparing for your trip
  • Keeping yourself and others safe
  • Ensuring the countryside remains a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy

Pick your route

Route 1: Ystwyth Gorge Walk, Hafod Estate, Mid Wales

Ystwyth GorgeFollow in the footsteps of early tourists in search of “wild nature” at the Hafod Estate tucked away in a remote location near Aberystwyth. The Ystwyth Gorge Walk is a spectacular route all year round but crossing the wonderfully wobbly chain bridge is even more exciting during winter, when the river is in full flow. If you want to explore some more of this historic landscape, choose from the four other waymarked walks that take in the waterfalls, unique bridges and stunning views.

  • Length: 1 mile (1.5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: All the routes are strenuous and include climbs and descents along the way. Some have steep drops beside the path and some have bridges to cross. The routes are waymarked and there is information onsite with more details
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: Hafod Estate car park
  • Getting there: The Hafod Estate is twelve miles south east of Aberystwyth on the B4574. The nearest train station is in Aberystwyth

Find out more

Route 2: Jubilee Tower Circular, Coed Moel Famau, North East Wales

Jubilee Tower Circular at Coed Moel FamauWarm up with a steep but steady climb up Moel Famau to the Jubilee Tower. The views across north Wales from the top are particularly special in winter with a dusting of snow or frost. The waymarked trail returns to the car park through mixed forest and open countryside. Moel Famau is the highest summit in the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Find out more about the area in the Loggerheads Country Park which is nearby.

  • Length: 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The trail has some steep sections
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and Finish: Coed Moel Famau car park
  • Getting there: Coed Moel Famau car park is three miles south west of Mold, signposted off the A494. There is a parking charge. An annual parking permit is available for several car parks in the Clwydian Range. The nearest train station is in Buckley

Find out more

Route 3: Stackpole Walk, Stackpole, West Wales

View of the icy river at Stackpole - credit Mike May National TrustStackpole National Nature Reserve is a great place to spot wintering birds and seabirds like gannets and choughs as it packs in so many habitats in a relatively small area. The Stackpole Walk starts in the wooded shelter around Bosherston Lakes where you’ll see different species of duck before setting off for Stackpole Quay. The route then follows the Pembrokeshire Coast Path along windswept limestone cliff tops to one of the area's finest beaches at Broad Haven South before returning to the more gentle landscape of Bosherston with its 19th century lily ponds. If you visit during a winter weekend, you can enjoy refreshments at the Stackpole Quay tea room.

  • Length: 5 miles
  • Terrain: This ranges from the accessible lakeside path around Bosherston Lakes to more challenging and undulating terrain along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: Bosherston National Trust car park. There are other car parks on the National Trust estate
  • Getting there: Bosherston and Stackpole National Nature Reserve is five miles south of Pembroke. The main access is via the B4319 Pembroke to Castlemartin road. The National Trust own and operate the car parks and there is a parking charge. The nearest train station is in Pembroke and there are bus stops at Bosherston, Stackpole Quay and Broad Haven

Find out more

Please check the National Trust website for further information on the Stackpole estate including parking, the extensive network of footpaths, accessibility and the opening times of the tea room.

Photo credit: Mike May, National Trust

Route 4: Sychryd All-ability Trail, Dinas Rock, South East Wales

Bwa Maen, Craig y DinasIf you use a wheelchair or are pushing a buggy, this is a great trail to enjoy some impressive views. The route winds its way through a wooded gorge alongside the river down to the Sgydau Sychryd cascades which are in full force during the winter months. There are also views across the river to a spectacular limestone rock formation known as Bwa Maen. The trail is in the heart of Waterfall Country and there is nowhere else in Wales with so many spectacular waterfalls in such a small area.

  • Length: 0.5 miles (0.75 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The trail is mostly compacted gravel and earth which can get muddy
  • Suitable for: Walkers and robust wheelchairs and buggies
  • Start and finish: Dinas Rock car park
  • Getting there: Dinas Rock car park is thirteen miles north east of Neath off the A465. Follow the A465 leaving at the Onllywn exit for Glynneath. At the end of the slip road, follow signs for Pontneddfechan and the Waterfalls Centre on the B4242. Follow signs for waterfalls through Pontneddfechan village. Take the right fork by the inn, continue for one kilometre. The car park is beyond the bus turn-around point across the bridge over the river. The car park can be very busy at times as this is a popular area for outdoor centres

Find out more

Route 5: Pont Llogel Trail, Dyfnant Forest, Mid Wales

Pont Llogel trail through the forestIf your New Year’s resolution is to walk a long distance footpath, here’s your chance to have a taste of one of the three national trails in Wales. The riverside Pont Llogel Trail follows part of Glyndŵr’s Way on the edge of Dyfnant Forest. The national trail is named after Owain Glyndŵr, the prince who fought for Welsh independence and who once rode through these rolling hills and lush green valleys. Nowadays, Dyfnant Forest is well known for the Rainbow Trails which offer facilities for modern day horse riders and carriage drivers.

  • Length: 1 mile (1.6 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The Pont Llogel Trail is a sheltered waymarked walk along the river. You can either return the same way or use the high level return path if you don't mind steep sections and flights of steps
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: Pont Llogel car park
  • Getting there: Pont Llogel is about twenty miles west of Welshpool. Take the A458 from Welshpool to Dolgellau and turn on to the B4395 at Llangadfan to Lake Vyrnwy. After about three miles, you reach the hamlet of Pont Llogel and the car park is on the right just over the bridge

Find out more

Route 6: Saint, Sand and Sea Trail, Newborough, North West Wales

Ynys LlanddwynDiscover the legend of Wales’s own Saint Valentine on a romantic walk on Ynys Môn (the Isle of Anglesey). The Saint, Sand and Sea Trail follows woodland paths before heading on to the iconic Ynys Llanddwyn, part of the magnificent coastal dune system of Newborough Warren and Ynys Llanddwyn National Nature Reserve. Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, is said to have retreated here in the 5th century to live the life of a hermit after falling in love, even though her father had arranged for her to marry someone else.

  • Length: 5 miles (7 kilometres)
  • Terrain: Ynys Llanddwyn can be cut off at high tides (follow the high tide diversion sign) and the terrain is rocky with uneven grassland. The rest of the trail is on woodland tracks and soft sand dunes
  • Suitable for: Walkers. Some sections are accessible by buggies and robust wheelchairs
  • Start and finish: Newborough beach car park
  • Getting there: Newborough village is reached by the A4080. From the centre of the village, take the minor road opposite the Post Office down to Newborough beach car park, signposted to Llanddwyn. Follow this road until you reach a barrier (where you need to pay the £4 parking charge) and then follow the road down to the beach car park

Find out more

Route 7: Penrhos Mountain Trail, Coed y Brenin Forest Park, North West Wales

View of the forest Penrhos Mountain TrailFollow the green waymarkers through woodland and up the hillside to the heather and gorse-clad summit of Penrhos mountain. Your reward for the hard slog up will be stunning views across the snow-capped peaks of Snowdonia National Park. This circular trail returns to the car park which is a short drive from Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre where you can warm up in the café.

  • Length: 3 miles (4.5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: This is a strenuous walk and the trail follows a number of steep footpaths on an unmade and uneven surface
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: Ty'n y Groes car park
  • Getting there: Ty’n y Groes car park is signposted from the A470, near the village of Ganllwyd

Find out more

Route 8 - Swallow Falls Trail, Gwydir Forest Park, North West Wales

View of the waterfall on the Swallow Falls TrailPlan your visit to this popular beauty spot during the quieter winter months and find out why Gwydir Forest has inspired artists since Victorian times. The Swallow Falls Trail goes to a viewpoint over the famous waterfall, which is particularly spectacular after heavy rainfall. The route then makes its way through the woodland and passes another viewpoint over the mountain tops of Snowdonia National Park. There are plenty of cafés and pubs in the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed just down the road.

  • Length: 2.5 miles (4 kilometres)
  • Terrain: This waymarked walk has some narrow paths which are stony and slippery when wet. There are several steps and the route climbs to 645ft/197m. You may also come across fast moving bikes as the path crosses the Marin mountain bike trail
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish at: Ty’n Llwyn car park
  • Getting there: Ty’n Llwyn car park is four miles west of Betws-y-Coed on a minor road off the A5 into the forest from the Ugly House (Tŷ Hyll). The nearest train station is in Betws-y-Coed

Find out more

Route 9: Afon Irfon All-ability Walk, Irfon Forest, Mid Wales

View of the forest on the Afon Irfon All-ability WalkHead out along this waymarked level trail which follows the River Irfon on part of its journey from the Cambrian Mountains down to the River Wye at Builth Wells. You can enjoy both the views and the sound of the river along this easy access route as it passes through spruce-scented conifer woodlands. The trail is a few miles from Llanwrtyd Wells which claims to be the smallest town in Britain but which has several pubs and a café where you can warm up after your walk.

  • Length: three quarters of a mile (1.2 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The Afon Irfon Walk is an easy, level trail with no steps that is suitable for all. There are a number of benches along the way and the route returns to the car park along the same path. There is an option for walkers to follow a one mile circular route which leaves the hard-surfaced level path and goes up a gentle incline away from the river and then returns to the car park along a quiet forest road
  • Suitable for: Walkers, wheelchairs and buggies
  • Start and finish: Pwll Bo car park
  • Getting there: Pwll Bo car park is three miles north west of Llanwrtyd Wells. Follow the signs for Abergwesyn off the A483 and the car park is along this road, before you reach Abergwesyn village. The nearest train station is in Llanwrtyd Wells

Find out more

Route 10: Sculpture Trail, Fforest Fawr, South East Wales

Fforest Fawr dragon and wizard arch Picture courtesy of Cardiff MummyPull on your wellies and head out for a woodland adventure on this fun trail designed specially for children. The route follows the story of a sleeping giant who lives in the woods and has discarded his treasure chest, cauldron, books and a chair. As well as the intricately carved wooden sculptures, there are wooden stepping stones through the trees and, after wet winter weather, plenty of puddles to splash in. Fforest Fawr is near the fairy-tale style Castell Coch castle with its distinctive round turrets that rise above the woodland.

  • Length: 1.5 miles (2.6 kilometres) 
  • Terrain: The route goes through the forest and follows the contours and uneven ground of the natural forest floor. There is an information board at the start and a series of waymarkers to help you discover the different sculptures along the way
  • Suitable for: Families with small children
  • Start and finish: Fforest Fawr car park
  • Getting there: Fforest Fawr is near Tongwynlais off the A470. Follow the signs to Castell Coch from the A470 and the Fforest Fawr car park is 1.5 kilometres past the castle entrance

Find out more

Picture courtesy of Cardiff Mummy Says, a lifestyle blog for parents living in Cardiff and beyond. Read about Cardiff Mummy’s visit to Fforest Fawr.

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