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Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve, near Bangor

A native woodland and a dramatic waterfall

View of a trail at Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve with various flowers along the trail

What's here

Accessible facilities
Dogs
Parking (accessible)
Parking (charge)
Picnic
Toilets
Walking trail

Overview

The main attraction for visitors to Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve has long been the spectacular waterfall.

There are also many features of historic and archaeological interest, including an Iron Age hill fort and the remains of several round houses.

Plant species and wildlife at Coedydd Aber

Primarily made up from oak, hazel and alder woodland, the valley is home to a diverse range of habitats. There are also include extensive areas of scrub, scree and open grassland. Each of these areas supports different plant species.

Ash and wych elm prefer the richer soils and the woodland floor delivers a glorious carpet of bluebells and wood anemone in spring.

The humidity produced near the waterfall and along the edges of the river, especially near the gorge, makes ideal conditions for a variety of mosses, liverworts and ferns. The lichen flora is one of the most interesting in north Wales, with over a hundred species recorded.

Coedydd Aber is also home to many different birds including the great spotted woodpecker and goshawk. The resident bird population swells in the spring with the arrival of migrant breeders.

Visiting Coedydd Aber

The main path goes from the entrance at Bont Newydd to the foot of the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall.

There is a network of footpaths through the reserve, some of which are designated public rights of way. Some of these paths are narrow and pass over rougher terrain.

There are a number of kissing gates and picnic benches.

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.

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Seasonal highlights

During the year, the landscape changes at Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve.

Depending on when you visit, you are likely to see different wildlife, too.

Read on to find out what you could see here during the different seasons.

Spring

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.

Summer

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.

Autumn

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.

Winter

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.

Accessibility information

The main path from the entrance at Bont Newydd to the foot of the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall is generally 1.5 metres wide with no steps and a gradual and continuous climb.

The path is compacted stone with some loose stones on the surface. It is approximately 2 km/1¼ miles from bridge to falls, with a height gain/climb of 100m/330ft.

The kissing gates from the car parks have RADAR locks to open fully.

There is one reserved disabled parking space in the Bont Newydd car park.

There are accessible toilets in the Natural Resources Wales car park.

Find out more

Opening times

The car park and toilets are open at these times:

  • 7.30am to 5:00pm (winter)
  • 7.00am to 7.00pm (summer)

How to get here

Download the location map.

Coedydd Aber is just off the A55, mid-way between Bangor and Llanfairfechan.

The Bont Newydd car park is half a mile from the village of Abergwyngregyn and can be reached by following a narrow road southwards from the village

The OS grid reference is SH 664 710.

Directions

There are two car parks at Coedydd Aber:

  • Bont Newydd car park (16 parking spaces, one space reserved for disabled visitors)
  • Natural Resources Wales car park (20 parking spaces)

There is a parking charge at both these car parks.

The reserve is 200 metres from Bont Newydd car park. It is reached by walking down the road, which has been widened to accommodate pedestrians and wheelchair users safely.

There is another entrance to the reserve immediately off the Bont Newydd car park. This is a narrow path leading along the river bank which joins the main path near the main entrance.

There is also a free car park in Abergwyngregyn village about half a mile away. From here visitors need to walk along the narrow access track through the valley to reach the reserve entrance.

Public transport

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

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000

Email: enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Related document downloads

Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve Location map PDF [778.8 KB]

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