The bustling village of Betws y Coed is surrounded by forests, so during a visit to North Wales, we decided we would explore them with the aim of reaching Llyn y Parc in the Gwydir Forest. We left the car at the Pont-y-Pair car park (LL26 0LS) and after the usual faffing around, turned right out of the car park. A quick stroll led us to a road on the right, at the bottom of which, the forest awaited. As we made our way into the trees, we found ourselves on a wide track bounded by pines.
Walking down the tree lined path, we spotted a narrower trail running parallel to our right. Thinking that it looked much more interesting, we made our way through the vegetation to the exciting track. Down there, the path was more overgrown, colourful and felt a little more… David Bellamy.
Our tip toe through the undergrowth didn’t last too long though, and we soon found ourselves back on the forest track, and with no one in sight, we gave the dogs a bit of a run. I also took the opportunity to check the map. We were due to take a left turn up ahead so I decided to practise my pacing.
It worked really well. The left turn arrived as predicted and we head up the steep zig zags, dodging pine cone grenades from each other as we went.
The path levelled out, and we wound through the forest’s beautiful autumn colours, looking at the faces in the crags and trees seemingly growing straight out of the rock.
As we continued along, we started to pass disused mines where once lead, zinc and copper were pulled from the earth. Overgrown now, they made for great talking points with Rowan, imagining what may live inside and whether they were good, or scary. Or maybe a bit of both.
There was a stream running at the bottom of gorge to our right, and soon, we could hear the sound of thundering water – the source of which was a lovely waterfall. Above the falls, we crossed a wooden bridge where the trees opened up on our left revealing what appeared to be cottages – what an amazing place to live.
From here, it was a short stroll to Llyn y Park. The bench overlooking the lake was the perfect place for dinner while Rocky and Pebble worked the dog faces in the hope of sharing our butties.
After something to eat, we were ready set off again. We returned to the track and had to let some heavy machinery pass before making a break up the slope, then took a left to enter the quiet and stillness of the trees.
The woods were gorgeous, with so much to explore – textures of the bark on the trees, little troll bridges and weathered wooden steps made for a magical place to be.
We passed moss covered dry stone walls and small clearings where, due to the lack of other people and animals, the dogs could charge around to their heart’s content.
It may have been a lovely place, but I was starting to struggle a bit with the navigation. I just couldn’t quite work out where we were, despite having known not long before. We continued along a path, with me pretty sure we were going the wrong way. This was confirmed as the trail began to peter out and we found ourselves by some crags, with climbers enjoying a day on the rocks above us. After a bit of a wobble and maybe a small strop, I worked out where we were. Returning by the way we had come, we found the correct path – a decision confirmed soon after by a route marker post.
A steep path began our descent back to Betws y Coed, but not before becoming weird woodland creatures and the always fun game of jumping out on the boy.
Downhill can be just as tiring as uphill at times, so after a quick pit stop, and compass practise (though Mummy possibly needs it more), we followed the forest track back to the road and the car park in Betws y Coed. We ended up walking just under four miles, but you liked the look of this walk, you can find the mistake free map here.