Ten walks for summer
Make the most of the long summer days on one of...
Put a spring in your step and discover the great outdoors
All Natural Resources Wales (NRW) car parks, play areas and toilet blocks in the reserves, woods and forests are closed from 23 March 2020.
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From the melody of birdsong to brilliantly coloured bluebells, spring is the season when nature comes alive.
We’ve chosen ten routes in our woodlands and National Nature Reserves where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.
The walks are listed below from north to south and each one is waymarked to help you follow the route.
Wales has the UK’s second largest expanse of fens after East Anglia and these wetland areas come alive in spring. At Cors Bodeilio you can enjoy the display of wildflowers from our boardwalk that goes out onto the fen. Nine different types of orchid grow here along with typical fen species like great fen sedge and bottle sedge. Listen out for the hums and rattles of breeding birds – reed and sedge warblers, reed buntings, grasshopper warblers, and stonechats breed here. On warmer days dragonﬂies and damselﬂies hover and dart across the bog’s open waters – see how many different types you can spot.
Follow our circular trail through this peaceful woodland and enjoy the sights and smells of the season. At the start of the walk, the path is edged with bluebells and primroses and the fragrance of wild garlic fills the air. You are never very far from the Nant Melindwr stream on this route and the trail crosses a wooden footbridge at the halfway point. It returns along a forest road with glimpses of the surrounding hills through the trees.
The spectacular Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall (also known as Aber Falls) has been a popular beauty spot for many years. In spring, it’s not just human visitors who flock to this National Nature Reserve as 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.
Are you looking for a short walk with some extra fun for younger visitors? Our boardwalk through giant Douglas fir trees on the outskirts of Betws-y-coed is ideal for pushchairs and it has a tree facts trail and animal discovery trail for children. At the end of the boardwalk there’s a wide stone track leading to a picnic site on the banks of the Afon Llugwy river. The tree facts trail continues for a little way through the woodland on a slightly steeper short loop.
Coed y Brenin Forest Park offers the ideal family day out in Snowdonia National Park 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.
Gogerddan is an easy-to-find picnic site in a woodland which is well-known locally for its stunning display of bluebells in spring. The circular walking trail sets off through some beautiful old trees with carpets of bluebells and other seasonal flowers. It is a fairly short walk but there is a steep climb to a viewpoint with wooden bench overlooking the fields and hills. The small picnic site overlooks the Nant Clarach stream and is near the car park.
Located half in Wales and half in England, spring is a great time to visit this border country woodland. Look out for carpets of bluebells on the circular walking trail that climbs steadily from the car park on its way through the woodland. It makes its way to a viewpoint with views to Radnor Forest and a hillfort, one of many along this part of the border.
As its name suggests, the Four Falls Trail takes you past a lot of water! This waymarked woodland trail in the Brecon Beacons National Park has optional routes off the main trail down to view each waterfall. As you walk towards the first one, known as Clun-Gwyn Falls, you will hear its thundering roar before you reach it. Brace yourself for a walk behind the curtain of water that forms Sgwd yr Eira, the last of the four waterfalls on the trail. In spring, there are carpets of bluebells, wood anemones and wood sorrel in the old sessile oak and ash woodland.
Spring is the best season to visit Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve with younger children, 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. This circular trail takes you through the reedbeds where the bearded tits and water rails are starting to nest. You might not see these birds but 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.
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It 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 enjoying a different view first, you can climb the highest sand dune in Wales, known locally as the ‘Big Dipper’.
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