26 October 2016

Top autumn walks in Wales

One of the best things about autumn in Wales is being able to head out in the crisp air and explore the beautiful countryside (and maybe visiting a pub on route). We're spoilt for choice, with vast forests, sprawling beaches and infinite fields to take in.

To give you a hand in choosing where to go, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have put together a top ten list of Welsh autumn walks. Every route is marked and passes through either an NRW-managed nature reserve or spectacular woodland, plus there is a variety of difficulty levels to suit all abilities. We've taken a look at four of the top ten.

Pont Annell Walk, Caio Forest, West Wales

This walk takes place near the home village of the 14th century king of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan. It's an easy 1-mile (1.6 km) circular walk through a conifer woodland named Caio Forest, where the deciduous and evergreen trees show off their contrasting colours. The walk starts and ends at the car park, and has a well-walked path, so it's suitable for families, and you'll walk alongside the Afon Annell, crossing the stream before returning. Why not extend your trip after your walk by visiting the nearby market town of Llandovery? It has a statue of local hero Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan.

Trees and path at Pont Annell Walk, Caio Forest

Pont Annell Walk, Caio Forest, West Wales

 by Natural Resources Wales

Elidir Trail, Pont Melin-fach, Mid Wales

In the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park's Waterfall Country is this 2.5 mile (4 km) linear woodland trail. On the way from Pont Melin-fach to the village of Pontneddfechan, you'll pass four spectacular waterfalls and spot some of the 600 species of plants that can be found in the area. Between the waterfalls, you'll climb steep inclines and ascents while having a chance to lose yourself in the autumnal reds and oranges of the berry-laden trees. All those waterfalls can make the ground slippery and uneven, so make sure you wear sturdy boots.

Ridgetop Trail, Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, Mid Wales

Starting from the visitor centre, this well-defined 3-mile (4.8 km) circular walk takes you along the ridge of a dramatic valley, giving you panoramic views of both Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains. Shouldered by lush autumnal greenery along the way, you'll climb up and down high grassy verges and exposed hilltops. There's a great opportunity for bird-watching every afternoon; this area is known for its red kite population, which flock towards the lake for feeding time before sundown.

Bench and view from Ridgetop Trail, Bwlch Nant yr Arian

Ridgetop Trail, Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Mid Wales

 by Natural Resources Wales

Dune Walk, Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve, North Wales

Want a walk with significantly less trees? This beach beauty is for you! It's a 1.4-mile (2.3 km) walk that winds through a small section of the dunes near Barmouth, opening up onto a beach with views of the Llŷn Peninsula before heading over a boardwalk. Keep an eye out for clusters of fungi, flowering plants, wading birds and wildfowl, all of which set up home in this ever-changing habitat.

To see the full top ten, and to find out more information about the walks, visit the Natural Resources Wales website.