Cae'n y Coed, near Betws-y-Coed
A field in the woods with picnic spots and a forest...
A choice of peaceful forest walks away from the tourist bustle
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.
Pont y Pair is in the centre of Betws-y-Coed, one of the most popular villages in the Snowdonia National Park.
Much of Betws-y-Coed was built in Victorian times and Gwydir Forest Park encircles this pretty village.
There is an easy boardwalk and footpath from the Pont y Pair car park in the centre of the village through some of the giant Douglas fir trees, planted in the 1920s, and along the banks of the Afon Llugwy.
There are also four waymarked trails from Betws-y-Coed which go up into the peaceful forested hillsides that surround the village.
All of the walking trails are waymarked from the Pont y Pair car park (apart from the Llyn Elsi Trail).
The Llyn Elsi Trail starts behind St Mary’s Church.
½ mile, 0.6 kilometres
Follow the boardwalk and wide path alongside the river on this short walk through very tall trees. Look at the majestic Douglas fir trees which are up to 100 years old.
1.4 miles, 2.4 kilometres
The Cyrau Trail climbs through some majestic Douglas firs to give a stunning view over Betws-y-Coed. The path returns to the village along an avenue-like forest road with trees growing either side. Download more info about the trail.
4.3 miles, 7 kilometres
The Pen yr Allt Trail is a circular route through shady fir forests and upland meadows. The path passes abandoned mines and offers breathtaking views of the ever dominant Moel Siabod and the Conwy Valley. It returns along the River Llugwy (if there has been a lot of rain, the river may flood part of this path and you should follow the diversion).
6 miles, 10 kilometres
The Llyn Parc Trail sets off along an old miners' path and goes past the ruins of Aberllyn Mine. After reaching the lake, it continues along the shore before passing a small waterfall on its way back to the village.
3.6 miles, 5.9 kilometres
The Llyn Elsi Trail starts on the forest road behind St Mary’s Church in Betws-y-Coed. Follows this road to woodland where the route is then waymarked to Llyn Elsi. The path goes around the lake with views of the island that supports nesting seagulls and geese.
A woodland trail for budding detectives. Download more info about the trail.
Test your map-reading skills by navigating between wooden marker posts on one of the two permanent orienteering courses in Gwydir Forest Park.
Both courses begin just outside Betws-y-Coed and finish in the centre of the village.
Pont y Pair is in the centre of the village of Betws-y-Coed which is at the junction of the A5 and the A470.
The OS grid reference is SH 795 566.
Pont y Pair car park is operated by Conwy County Borough Council. There is a parking charge.
Pont y Pair car park is at the junction of the B5106 and the A5 in Betws y Coed over a narrow bridge.
The nearest train station is in Betws y Coed. For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru
Tel: 0300 065 3000
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