South Stack Cliffs, Anglesey
At the end of Holy Island, South Stack is one the best places to see zillions of sea birds in full cry: in spring, the cliffs are thick with guillemots, razorbills and puffins. The 400 steps make the lighthouse a no-no for pushchairs, but there’s a very good path that runs from the lower car park into the heathland and up to a viewpoint in front of Ellins Tower. Look out for tumbling antics of the choughs, easily the cheeriest members of the crow family.
Bute Park, Cardiff
Right in the middle of our capital, the 56-hectare Bute Park is the ideal place for toddlers (and parents) to run amok, with miles of tarmac tracks, woodland play trail, an education centre and two very good cafés. But it’s also amazingly good for wildlife, considering how urban the surroundings. Kingfishers, dippers and otters hunt in the River Taff, and peregrine falcons patrol the skies - a pair nest in the nearby clock tower of City Hall. You’ll hear the drumming of great spotted woodpeckers, and the ‘yaffle’ call of green woodpeckers. There are also 3,000 trees, and a QR code trail that’ll appeal to tech-minded youngsters.
Bosherston Lily Ponds, Pembrokeshire
Bosherston Lily Ponds is a network of lakes was created by Georgian aristos so they’d have something pretty to look at from their splendid mansion, Stackpole Court. It’s long since been demolished, and the lakes have been commandeered by otters, dragonflies and birds. This flat one-mile (1.6km) walk takes in the beautiful lily ponds, and is the easiest way to reach lovely Broadhaven South beach. Pushchairs can’t navigate the half-mile walk over to Barafundle Bay, but older children will love the yomp across the clifftops.
Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Ceredigion
Bwlch Nant yr Arian is a mountain/forest/lake combo sitting at the head of a remote valley with great views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains. It’s the starting point for all kind of hiking/biking/riding adventures, and also one of the best places to watch the daily feeding of red kites. The pushchair-friendly Barcud Trail leads around the edge of the lake where the action happens: at peak times, around 150 red kites turn up for their daily dinner (2pm in winter; 3pm in summer).
Pwll y Wrach Nature Reserve, Brecon Beacons
Pwll y Wrach - the ‘witch’s pool’ – there’s a name guaranteed to pique the interest of little ones – was carved by a waterfall where the River Enig plunges down a wooded gorge near Talgarth. An easy-access path leads from the car park into the heart of the reserve, where a network of dirt paths should be easily managed by little feet. It’s especially lovely here in spring, when wood anemones poke like white stars through a yellow carpet of lesser celandines. Later on, bluebells fleck the woodland floor with shimmering blue and the heady scent of wild garlic fills the air.
Welsh Wildlife Centre, Pembrokeshire
There are plenty of boardwalks and flat trails around the Welsh Wildlife Centre near Cilgerran, the Teifi Marsh nature reserve, where you can spot a huge variety of native birds and beasts. The resident water buffalo aren’t native, but they do a marvellous job of grazing the marshes on behalf of other animals. Inside the visitor centre, there’s a learning-through-play section with wildlife colouring, drawing and quizzes. They do pretty fab home-made cakes, too.
Cors Caron Nature Reserve, Ceredigion
We once asked TV naturalist Chris Packham about his favourite spots in Wales, and he got very excited about Cors Caron’s vast bog. Why? Because although bogs aren’t as look-at-me dramatic as mountains, they do attract an amazing variety of wildlife. They can, however, be somewhat boggy, which is why the 1.5km boardwalk is a sensible way to explore this wetland nature paradise when you’re wheeling a buggy. The 6km surfaced path along the edge of the reserve is easy to stroll, too. The area’s especially good for rarer birds of prey: hen harriers, merlins, hobbies and goshawks live here. A golden eagle (an escapee, probably) has also been seen - triple bonus points if you spot it.
Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire
The wildlife sanctuary islands of Pembrokeshire are a bit of a no-go zone for pushchairs, but you can enjoy them from the mainland on the Marloes Peninsula with a gorgeous clifftop walk which follows easy grassy paths. You can spot dolphins, porpoises and plenty of seals in the waters below, and enjoy great views of Skomer and Skokholm islands. Nature note for youngsters: distant Grassholm gleams white, but not because of snow. It’s thousands and thousands of tons of ‘guano’, as we experts like to call bird poo.
Dinefwr Park, Carmarthenshire
Dinefwr Park is home to Newton House mansion, a 12th-century castle, deer park, nature trails - we’ve done it all with a pushchair (it’s a bit of a shunt up that last hill to the old Dinefwr Castle, mind). But for gentler strolls, we’d go for the long level boardwalk to mill pond, or a tractor-trailer tour of the estate. In any event, you won’t miss stunning valley views and massive trees that are well over 700 years old – which means they were already big when Owain Glyndŵr was busy besieging the castle in 1403.
Millennium Coastal Path, Carmarthenshire
The daddy of all pushchair routes: the Millennium Coastal Path has 13 miles (21km) of smooth, traffic-free tarmac stretching all the way from Llanelli to Pembrey. The Loughor Estuary provides plenty of wildlife-spotting along its whole length, but for closer encounters head for the Llanelli Wetland Centre. They’ve made a big effort to appeal to kids, with lots of play areas, activity trails, events and opportunities to hand-feed the wildfowl.