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Walks in Snowdonia
Get your walking boots on - there's plenty of walks to choose from that can have you either strolling in lovely river valleys, alongside tranquil lakes or scrambling about in the hills and mountains.
But if you are feeling energetic and want to say that you've climbed Wales and England's highest mountain at 3,200 ft and incidentally Britain's most climbed mountain- then perhaps you're in the mood to tackle Snowdon.
There are a variety of ways of doing it, the easiest and longest way is the Llanberis Path (5 miles) which follows the Snowdon railway line out of Llanberis and takes about 3 hours to the summit. Three routes go up from Peny y Pass, The Miner's Track (4 miles 2.30min) the easiest, the stonier Pig Track (3.5miles 2.30min) and the Snowdon Horseshoe (8 miles 5-7 hr) described as one of the finest ridge walks in Europe but not for the faint-hearted. There are also three southern routes up Snowdon, the Snowdon Ranger Path, the Rhyd Ddu Track and the Watkin Path. Leaflets detailing the various routes are available.
Otherwise here are a selection of fairly easy walks to get you started:
1 Betws y Coed: A riverside walk as far as Swallow Falls. Drive to the centre of the village. Cross the bridge and park on the left. The path is marked alongside the nearby river Llugwy, follow the signs crossing by the Miners' Bridge coming back down the road on the other side of the river.
2 Crafnant Lake: Coming from Conwy to Trefriw turn right in the centre of Trefriw village before the woollen mill and follow the signs for Crafnant. The scenery is magnificent - almost like a bit of Switzerland in Wales. There are walks around the lake and in the surrounding woodland and a cafe in a pretty white-washed Welsh cottage.
3 Beddgelert: The rivers Afon Colwyn and Afon Glaslyn converge in Beddgelert. Cross the river footbridge in the centre of the village and follow the clearly marked path that will take all the way down through the Aberglaslyn Pass, a very attractive rocky gorge with dramatic rapids. The walk takes you alongside the old narrow gauge railway - which is being restored to provide a scenic rail link from Caernarfon to Beddgelet. Trains are already running as far as Rhyd-Ddu just up the valley.
4 Aber Falls: On the A55 between Bangor and Caernarfon take the turning marked Abergwyngregyn (kwown locally as Aber). Drive through the village and along the lane. There is a car park as the start of the path which crosses the river Afon Anafon. The path,an easy-going slope, mainly follows the course of the river uphill for about a mile through fields and woods to the lovely cascades.
5 Llanberis: Driver to the Llanberis lake, Llyn Padarn, for a stroll through Llanberis Country Park. There's parking by the lake and you can walk round the lake past the former quarrymen's hospital. There are way-marked routes which will take you round the lake and through the oak woods that surround it. You can enjoy the toot toot of the little train as it takes passengers around the lake.
6 LLyn Llydal: A more strenuous walk. Park at Ogwen Cottage, between Bethesda and Capel Curig where there is a mountain rescue centre, a snack bar and a youth hostel. Already by one lake, the Llyn Ogwen, and the Ogwen falls, the path to another, the beautiful limpid Llyn Llydal, is past Ogwen Cottage on the right. You quickly leave the road behind to be immersed in rocky and dramatic scenery. The lake reflects the grey cliffs famous for the cleft in them called Devil's Kitchen and much favoured by climbers.
Follow the path round the lake.
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Most areas produce their own maps of walks and trails in the immediate vicinity. For instance there's a leaflet on Trefriw trails and another on walks in the forests around Betws y Coed, and the Llanberis Heritage Trail. Or wander along trails, quarrymen's paths and even former railway tracks to discover some of the industrial history of slate quarrying in Snowdonia using Slate Valley Trails as your guide. There are lots of other guide books and free leaflets available in local shops and the tourist information centres.