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Top ten spring walks

Put a spring in your step and pick one of these walks in a woodland or National Nature Reserve

Bluebells at the Oxwich National Nature Reserve

Your choice of routes

From the melody of birdsong to brilliantly coloured bluebells, spring is the season when nature comes alive.

We’ve chosen these ten routes to help you enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

Enjoy walks in woodlands carpeted with wild flowers or spot ducklings at our reserves. As the days get longer, climb up high for dramatic views over mountains and rivers, head for the coast on a warm spring day or enjoy waterfall walks in peaceful woodlands.

Plan your trip

  • You can download any of these routes free of charge onto your Apple or Android device from Viewranger or TrailZilla. Both websites offer downloadable route information with the distance, how difficult the route is, ease of access and what can be seen along the way. (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

Route 1: Coedydd Aber Trail, Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve, Snowdonia National Park, North West Wales

view of the landscape at Coedydd AberThe spectacular Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall (also known as Aber Falls) has been a popular beauty spot for many years. In spring, it’s not just visitors who flock to this National Nature Reserve as, at this time of year, migrant birds arrive to join the resident woodland bird population - the pied flycatchers come all the way from West Africa to breed here! As you walk through the valley to the waterfall, listen out for the distinctive sounds of the Great Spotted woodpecker, Wood warbler and Redstart. Along the way, you’ll pass a foam of white flowers on the hawthorn and crab-apple trees during May and a glorious carpet of bluebells and wood anemone in the woodland. Look out, too, for the remains of Bronze and Iron Age hut circles which are evidence that this valley has been inhabited by humans for over three thousand years.

  • Length: The main path from the entrance by the bridge at Bont Newydd to the foot of the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall is approximately 1¼ miles (2 kilometres). There is also a network of footpaths through the reserve, some of which are designated public rights of way
  • Terrain: The main path from the entrance at Bont Newydd to the foot of the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall is made of compacted stone with some loose stones on the surface. It is generally 1.5 metres wide with no steps and a gradual and continuous climb with a height gain of 100 metres (330 feet). There are a number of picnic benches on the way. Some of the other paths in the reserve are narrow and pass over rougher terrain
  • Start and finish: There are two car parks near the Bont Newydd entrance of Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve from where the main path to the waterfall departs. The kissing gates from the car parks have RADAR locks to open fully. There are 16 parking spaces (with one space reserved for disabled visitors) at the Bont Newydd car park and 20 parking spaces at the Natural Resources Wales car park (where there are accessible toilets)

Find out more

Route 2: Beach Walk, Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserve, South East Wales

VioletsIt may not be warm enough to sunbathe just yet but it’s still worth heading to the beach at Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserve as there is plenty to see in the dunes along the way. Enjoy the colours of the spring-flowering dune plants like pansies and violets and look out for the striking red-caped cinnabar moths, just one of the many insects that makes its home here thanks to the easy-to-burrow-into sandy soils and wildflower nectar.  The Beach Walk takes you through the dunes to the beach but, if you fancy a longer walk, the Wales Coast Path passes through the reserve.

  • Length: 1 mile (1.8 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The route crosses a bridge and then follows sandy paths through the dunes
  • Start and finish: Candleston car park

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Route 3: Nicholaston Woods Walk, Oxwich National Nature Reserve, South West Wales

Bluebells at the Oxwich National Nature ReserveOxwich National Nature Reserve sits on the beautiful Gower coast which is a magnet for tourists, especially during the summer. There’s plenty to enjoy here in spring, too, especially on this walk through Nicholaston Wood with its mass of bluebells, cowslips and primroses. In April cuckoos arrive here from southern climates so it is a great place to listen out for this bird’s distinctive call which has long been considered one of the classic signs of spring. This is a small reserve but it makes a great family day thanks to its combination of beaches, sand dunes, saltmarsh, freshwater lakes, woodland and limestone cliffs. You can also walk a section of the Wales Coast Path from Oxwich and enjoy the blaze of pink, yellow and white flowers that come into bloom in spring.

  • Length: 2 miles (2.8 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The path through the wood is free of gates and stiles and is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs
  • Start and finish: The walk starts at the Beach car park, which serves the reserve. The car park and toilets are owned by the Penrice Estate and are open seasonally between April and October

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Route 4: Forest Lakes Trail, Gwydir Forest Park, Snowdonia National Park, North West Wales

Two dog owners on the Forest Lakes Trail at Gwydir Forest ParkDamselflies and dragonflies begin to emerge in mid March and this walk through Gwydir Forest is the perfect place to spot these pretty insects as they dart around the lakes. Listen out, too, for jays screeching in the woods and the croaks of a raven flying overhead – you might even see the elaborate dance of chases, dives, and rolls that makes up this bird’s mating ritual. It is hard to believe that this tranquil forest was once an important mining area but the trail passes fenced-off mine shafts which are a reminder of the lead-mining industry from many years ago. Along the way, there are also beautiful mountain views and, on a clear day, you can pick out the spiny ridge of Tryfan, framed by the smaller hills of Crimpiau and Craig Wen.

  • Length: 2½ miles (4 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The terrain is moderate to difficult and there are a couple of steep downhill sections. The ground can be fairly boggy in places. Half of the trail is on rough paths and some of it is on a forest road. The Marin Mountain Bike Trail crosses this trail in several places - these are signposted to help walkers be aware of fast moving bikes
  • Start and finish: Llyn Sarnau car park, Gwydir Forest Park

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Route 5: Sculpture Trail, Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve, South East Wales

View of the lighthouse at the Newport WeltandsNewport Wetlands National Nature Reserve makes a great family day out at any time of year. Spring is the best season to visit with younger children though, as they will be enthralled by lines of ducklings paddling behind their parents in search of food. Joining you on your visit in April and May will be flocks of swallows, house martins, sand martins and swifts which arrive here in large numbers from Africa. The circular Sculpture Trail takes you through the reedbeds where the bearded tits and water rails are starting to nest. You might not see these birds during your visit but the children are sure to be have fun identifying them by their distinctive sounds - the water rails sound like squealing pigs! Listen out, too, for the noisy singing of warblers which are busy readying their nests for their new fledglings. Part of the walk follows the Wales Coast Path and, along the way, there are sculptures of birds and other wildlife along with a giant dragonfly head bench. The café in the visitor centre overlooks the wetlands and is the perfect place to share stories of what you’ve discovered today.

  • Length: 1 mile (1.6 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The trail through the reedbeds, over the floating bridge and past the lighthouse is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Take care when walking along the floating bridge near the lighthouse. There are a number of benches to take a breather or just sit and watch the wildlife around you
  • Start and finish: Newport Wetlands Visitor Centre, Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve

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Route 6: Four Falls Trail, Gwaun Hepste, Brecon Beacons National Park, South East Wales

View of a waterfall at Gwaun HepsteAs its name suggests, the Four Falls Trail takes you past a lot of water! The route is a waymarked circular trail through the woodland with linear routes to and from each of the four waterfalls – as you walk towards the fourth one, known as Clun-Gwyn Falls, you will hear its thundering roar before you reach it. Along the way, look out for the river disappearing underground into the mouth of Porth yr Ogof, the largest cave entrance in Wales, and brace yourself for a walk behind the curtain of water that forms Sgwd yr Eira. In spring, there are carpets of bluebells, wood anemones and wood sorrel in the old sessile oak and ash woodland which is home to hundreds of plant species including mosses, ferns and lichens.

  • Length: 5½ miles (9 kilometres)
  • Terrain: Difficult. Some sections are steep, rough, muddy and slippery
  • Start and finish: Gwaun Hepste pay and display car park is the main starting point for this trail. You can also join the trail from the Cwm Porth pay and display car park

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Route 7: Nant y Dresglen Trail, Crychan Forest (Halfway), Mid Wales

Mother and child on a bridge at HalfwayCrychan Forest is set in beautiful countryside between the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains. Years ago, before the trees were planted, drovers passed through here taking cattle and sheep from the mountains of mid Wales to market in London. Nowadays, many miles of horse tracks and cycle routes pass through the forest and there is a waymarked walking trail, too. The Nant y Dresglen Trail goes through a woodland made up of conifers and broadleaved trees and follows the river. There is a picnic spot right by the water but the highlight of this walk is the brand new carpet of bluebells which burst into bloom in May and cover areas of the forest floor.

  • Length:2 miles (3.5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: This route follows an easy unsurfaced track through the woodland
  • Start and finish: Halfway car park

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Route 8: Cefndeuddwr Trail, Coed y Brenin Forest Park Visitor Centre, Snowdonia National Park, North West Wales

Bench at Coed y Brenin Forest ParkCoed y Brenin Forest Park offers the ideal family day out with a choice of scenic walking trails in a dramatic woodland setting. The Cefndeuddwr Trail sets off from the visitor centre and meanders through a beech tree woodland which is carpeted in bluebells in the late spring. Designed with families in mind, the wide paths climb gradually to the Cefndeuddwr viewpoint. Here there are picnic tables to enjoy the view over the mountains. After your walk, you can enjoy locally sourced homemade food in the café which is situated in the award-winning visitor centre. There are also three play areas near the visitor centre which make a great end to the day if the kids still have energy to burn and, if you want a souvenir of your visit, there is a gift and craft shop, too.

  • Length: 1 mile (1.5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: Wide, well surfaced path. There are no steps or stiles and there are plenty of resting places along the way (approximately every 150 metres)
  • Start and finish: Coed y Brenin Forest Park Visitor Centre where there is a café, toilets and other facilities for visitors

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Route 9: Severn-Break-its-Neck Trail, Hafren Forest, Mid Wales

Mother and child watching the waterfall from a bridgeTempt the family out into the fresh spring air with the promise of seeing Britain’s longest river plunge into its first waterfall. Known as Severn-Break-its-Neck, this waterfall is where the River Severn thunders down a gully as it makes its way through Hafren Forest. The short circular walking trail first meanders through a wildlife meadow and then goes into the forest where the citrus scent of Grand Fir, the largest of all fir trees, fills the air. The bridge over the dramatic waterfall is your final stopping point and, from here, you can gaze down on the cascades of water gushing into the yawning gully .Hafren Forest is also home to three other waymarked walking trails and numerous other public footpaths.

  • Length: 1½ miles (2.5 kilometres)
  • Terrain: The trail consists of steps, a boardwalk, forest paths and roads. There are three sections of boardwalk, two as you walk around the open meadow and one small section in the woodland
  • Start and finish: Rhyd y Benwch car park

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Route 10: Waterfall Walk, Cwm Rhaeadr, South West Wales

View of the forest at Cwm RhaeadrCwm Rhaeadr, which means “valley of the waterfall” in Welsh, is a remote woodland and picnic area situated in the upper Tywi valley north of Llandovery. In spring, the woods are bursting back to life with new leaves on the trees and displays of bluebells and other wild flowers such as wild garlic, wood sorrel and wood anemone. As the Waterfall Walk goes deeper into the forest, you can catch a glimpse of the dramatic waterfall, the highest in Carmarthenshire. This waymarked walk returns along the river to the car park. There is also a shorter trail which is suitable for all abilities and a red graded mountain bike trail.

  • Length: 2½ miles (4 kilometres)
  • Terrain:This is a moderate grade walk on an unsurfaced track through the woodland
  • Start and finish: Cwm Rhaeadr car park

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