Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve, near Bangor

What's here


The spectacular waterfall in Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve has been popular with visitors since Victorian times.

Known locally as Aber Falls, the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall (which means "big waterfall" in Welsh) tumbles down from the Carneddau mountains and plunges into a deep basin in the river valley below.

Through the ages, climate, geology and human activity have all left their mark here and there is plenty to see on the way along the valley to the waterfall.

There are wide areas of open grassland and woodland, made up of oak, hazel and alder, which is home to many different birds.

The humidity near the waterfall and along the river makes ideal conditions for a variety of mosses, liverworts and ferns, and over a hundred species of lichen have been recorded here.

There are also many features of archaeological interest, including an Iron Age hillfort and the remains of several ancient round huts.

Walking trail

The walking trail is waymarked and starts from the lower car park.

There is an easier route at the start of the trail for pushchairs and power chairs – look out for the signs.

Aber Falls Walk

  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 2¼ miles/3.7 kilometres (total there and back)
  • Time: 1½ hours (total there and back)
  • Trail information: The path to the waterfall (from the gate near the lower car park) has a gradual and continuous climb of 100m/330ft. It is 1.5m wide with a compacted stone surface and some loose gravel. The gates have RADAR locks to open fully.

Follow the yellow waymarkers onto the path along the bottom of the valley which goes through woodland and open grassland to the foot of the waterfall.

The Interpretive display is near the start of the walking trail.

There are benches along the way.

The return route is along the same path.

Interpretive display

The Interpretive display is near the start of the walking trail.

It is in an old stone building and contains information panels about the area including:

  • an overview of why a ‘Celtic Rainforest’ thrives here
  • an introduction to the huge variety of lichens in the woodland
  • the history of clog making using alder trees grown in the woodland
  • a snapshot of human habitation here from hillforts to farming and rural industry
  • an insight into the meaning of local place names

The interpretive display is unstaffed and entry is free of charge.

The building is not accessible for wheelchair users due to its narrow doorway.

What to see on the National Nature Reserve

Coedydd Aber is a National Nature Reserve.

National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.

The landscape and wildlife varies depending on which time of year you visit – here’s what to look out for.


The resident woodland bird population swells in the spring with the arrival of migrant breeders, such as:

  • Pied flycatchers
  • Wood warbler
  • Redstart
  • Crossbills

The ash and wych elm woodland floor has a glorious carpet of bluebells and wood anemone.

On the ffridd (the land between the valley floor and the high mountain) the hawthorn and crab-apple trees create a foam of white flowers in May.


The alder wood is carefully managed by coppicing some of the trees in rotation which leads to a dramatic burst of meadowsweet flowers in summer.

The woodland is home to a range of birds such as the great spotted woodpecker and goshawk which feed on the ground in the broadleaved woodland and the nearby coniferous forest.

Throughout summer these bird species can also be seen:

  • Pied flycatchers
  • Wood warbler
  • Redstart
  • Crossbills

The fast flowing river provides habitat for the dipper and grey wagtail, whilst the ffridd (the land between the valley floor and the high mountain) attracts species like the tree pipit and wheatear.

Ring ouzels, ravens and flocks of choughs can sometimes be seen on the open mountain slopes and on the steep rock wall at the far end of the valley.


As the days begin to shorten, the trees get ready for winter and the valley fills with a dramatic patchwork quilt of red, orange, brown and yellow.


The spectacular waterfall, which is the main attraction for many visitors to Coedydd Aber, is particularly impressive during winter.

Many of the migrant birds leave the reserve for warmer climates but overwintering species such as the dipper and grey wagtail can still be seen throughout the colder months.

National Nature Reserves in Wales

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park

Coedydd Aber is in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park.

Eryri is the largest National Park in Wales and is home to picturesque towns and villages and the highest mountain in Wales.

It is looked after by the Eryri National Park Authority.

For more information about visiting Eryri go to the Eryri National Park Authority website.

Visiting safely

We want you to return home safely after your visit here.

You are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of any children and animals with you during your visit.

Please note:

  • There are unprotected drops at the waterfalls.

For advice and tips to help you plan your visit here go to Visiting our places safely.

Accessibility information

  • There is parking for blue badge holders in the lower car park and in the upper car park.
  • Accessible toilets are in the upper car park.
  • The trail is graded 'easy' but may be accessible to some wheelchairs and pushchairs. See the trail information on this page for details.
  • The gates have RADAR locks to open fully.
  • The interpretive display building is not accessible for wheelchair users due to its narrow doorway.

Opening times

Please check the top of this webpage for any changes to these opening times.

The gate to the car park and the toilets are normally open between:

  • 7am to 7pm (1 April to 30 September)
  • 7.30am to 5pm (1 October to 31 March)

Changes to visitor facilities

See the top of this webpage for details of any planned closures or other changes to visitor facilities here.

For your safety, always follow instructions from staff and signs including those for trail diversions or closures.

We may divert or close trails whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations and we may need to close other visitor facilities temporarily.

In extreme weather, we may close facilities at short notice due to the risk of injury to visitors and staff.

How to get here


Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve is 7 miles east of Bangor.

It is in the county of Gwynedd.

Ordnance Survey (OS) map

Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve is on OS Explorer OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 664 718.


From Bangor, take the A55 towards Conwy.

Exit the A55 at junction 13 towards the village of Abergwyngregyn.

Follow the brown and white tourism signs for Aber Falls out of the village and on to a narrow minor road.

The lower car park is on this road after ½ mile and the upper car park is just over the bridge.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Llanfairfechan (this is a request stop).

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website


There are two small car parks near the start of the Aber Falls Walk. They are accessed by a single track road through Abergwyngregyn village.

Both car parks fill up rapidly, especially at weekends and in the school holidays, leading to severe congestion and long delays on busy days.

You are advised to consider using the free car park before reaching the village of Abergwyngregyn.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Lower car park (near Bont Newydd bridge)

  • £5 parking charge (coins or card)
  • 16 parking spaces
  • Car parking is free for Blue Badge holders.

Upper car park

  • £5 parking charge (coins or card)
  • 20 spaces
  • Toilets
  • Car park gate locked every evening
  • Car parking is free for Blue Badge holders.

Free car park

Free parking is available before you enter Abergwyngregyn village.

Turn off the A55 at Junction 13 signed for Abergwyngregyn. Follow P signs to the free car park which is off to the left instead of following the road up into the village.

It takes about 30 minutes to walk from this car park to the start of the Aber Falls Walk (you will go past Caffi Hen Felin café on the way). Please beware of traffic as the road is very narrow in places.

Contact details

There are no staff at this location.

Contact our customer team for general enquiries during office hours, Monday to Friday.

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