Country parks of Wales
Green spaces are plentiful in Wales and country parks give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the open spaces that represent the stepping stone between more formal city park environments and the remote countryside. Here’s just a selection of the places in Wales that are well worth a visit.
Bodelwyddan Castle, Rhyl
Given the sheer size of Wales’ amazing array of country parks, you’ll always find something new to discover in these havens of natural beauty. You could start your exploration just about anywhere, like Bodelwyddan Castle and Park in the North Wales Borderlands, where there are 40 acres of grounds to explore. A deer park, the remains of First World War practice trenches, a walled garden maze, a woodland walk and a newly restored orchard are just a few of the attractions you’ll see along the way, not to mention the Victorian country house museum at the centre of them.
Greenfield Valley Heritage Park in Flintshire stands near the north Wales market town of Holywell. Reservoirs and ancient monuments – including the ruins of Basingwerk Abbey – stand out in a place with a proud industrial history. Head to the Visitor Centre for tips on the delightful range of woodland walks and nature spotting available there.
The mile-long circular walk at Carew Castle takes in an 11th century Celtic Cross, a medieval bridge, the only restored tidal mill in Wales and a picnic area. The castle itself is still owned by the Carew family, but the site is largely leased to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire
Another site under family ownership for centuries, Parc Glynllifon, is one of the most relaxing places imaginable. This Caernarfon beauty spot is set within the walls of the Newborough clan’s Glynllifon estate, and its Historical Garden is Grade I listed, with the plants and fauna of its forest winning Special Scientific Interest status. The tree-filled park is a place of folkloric wonder, with sculptures, crafts and an art gallery also on offer, and a café for refreshments at the end of your adventure.
Scolton Manor in Pembrokeshire opened to the public more than 30 years ago. Find out all about the county’s history in the enormous agricultural and rural collection held there, then head out to the landscaped grounds of the Country Park and embark on a nature trail through the magnificent woodland surrounding the Victorian Manor House.
Pontypool Park, Monmouthshire, South Wales
Pontypool Park in the South Wales Valleys has a staggering 150 acres of Torfaen scenery to choose from. Climb through history with a walk up the hills, then pick your spot for a picnic. And the Dare Valley Country Park, a mile from Aberdare in the South Wales Valleys, has all sorts of things to see and do across 500 acres, including three suggested trails taking on gentle plains, stile-marked hills, a horseshoe shaped climb and an extraordinary range of biodiversity across former colliery land originally reclaimed at the start of the 1970s.
Back in the North Wales Borderlands, the spoil heaps of Moss Valley, in Wrexham, were also overhauled during the period, and these days they make for a valley with lakes and lines of ancient trees. Lose yourself in a stroll across paths where trams and trains once carried coal and sandstone away from the valley.
More gardens and parks in Wales