Posted on 08/03/2017 by David
Fed up of being confined to walking your pooch in the local public park or making do with a quick stroll around the block?
Well here in North Wales, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking your canine companion into the countryside for an adventure. Dog walkers are spoiled for choice, with mountain, coast and countryside routes aplenty.
In the second of our dog-friendly blog series, we’ve chosen 5 woodland routes for you and your dog to try out.
Many of the woods in North Wales offer extensive pathways, open space and plenty for dogs to sniff, bark at and play around in. There should be a route appropriate for all tastes and abilities listed here, but many routes can be tweaked to make them more (or less) challenging too.
If you enjoy this, why not read our first blog, Our 5 favourite coastal dog walks, for more great ideas?
Best for solitude – Llanbedr and Coed Lletywalter
If you are craving some space away from other people, try this secluded woodland walk tucked away on the hillside above the village of Llanbedr. You’ll be unlikely encounter anyone else on this varied route and as you climb higher you’ll find the open ground makes way for incredible views.
This area of ancient oak-dominated woodland is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and a conservation area. Because it is so well hidden, rare plants and wildlife thrive here.
It is a fantastic place to walk at any time of the year, but particularly wonderful in the springtime. As well as the trees, there are bluebells, sorrel and primrose to enjoy. Listen out for woodpeckers and take your binoculars, as you might even catch a glimpse of them through the trees.
How to get there: From Harlech, take the A496 towards Barmouth. When you reach the village of Llanbedr turn east where it is signposted 'Cwm Bychan & Cwm Nantcol' and park at the side of the road.
Best for the whole family – Aber Falls
This is a relatively easy walk and although there are some steep descents, the route is do-able with smaller children in tow.
There is plenty to see on the route including the remains of an Iron Age round house dating back 2000-2700 years. It makes a great springtime walk with lots of wild flowers and beautiful trees – and of course the incredible waterfall that you find at the end of the valley. Take plenty of water for your pooch and don’t forget that all important picnic.
How to get there: The village is on junction 13 of the A55 between Llanfairfechan and Bangor, follow the single track road up to a small car park (Bont Newydd) in the woods and start the route from here.
Best for trail running – Llyn Elsi
Llyn Elsi is a beautiful mountain lake which is only an hour’s walk from Betws y Coed. This woodland trail is right at the heart of Snowdonia National Park and really gives you a taste of everything that makes the area so special.
This route is particularly good for those who like to do a bit of trail running. The paths are broad and well maintained – a combination of tarmac and gravel so are a great introduction for those new to the sport.
If you prefer a longer more leisurely stroll, you can extend the route by walking around the lake in its entirety and taking in the mountain views all around. The trail is about 4km long and is suitable for families with children, (but unsuitable for prams/pushchairs).
How to get there: Follow the Llyn Elsi Trail which begins just behind the Royal Oak hotel.
Best woodland walk – Beddgelert Woods and Cwm Bychan
This route takes you gently uphill, through beautiful woodland and alongside a stream into Cwm Bychan. The valley becomes more prominent as you climb and once you’ve gained a bit of height, be sure to look behind you at the river plains around Porthmadog and Afon Glaslyn. You’ll find a lovely secluded spot, with a complete absence of traffic noise just beyond the crest ahead.
There are plenty of relics from the old copper mine that was worked from 1720 and closed in 1929. In the woods at the start of the walk you can still see a cage that would have been filled with rocks to create a tension weight for the ropeway, and you’ll find a line of ropeway pylons up on the hillside.
How to get there: Park up in the National Trust car park in Nantmor village, the walk starts from the back of the car park.
Best for a nature walk – Mynydd Llwydiarth
This gorgeous spot of woodland on the Llandonna Peninsula is Red Squirrel territory. The deciduous and conifer plantations are the perfect habitat for these beautiful little creatures and walking along the paths in this woodland gives you a good chance of seeing one!
The forest is much smaller than Newborough (on the other side of the island), so you can wander off the path without getting lost.
How to get there: Follow the B5109 road to Beaumaris. The woods are about half mile from the village of Pentraeth on Anglesey’s east coast.
Please note - we know that dogs love the woods but only take your dog off the lead if it can be controlled and you are confident other walkers will not be concerned. Many of these routes will cross open farmland where sheep and other grazing animals are roaming. Lambing season requires particular care to be taken when walking your dog.
We'd love to hear about your favourite North Wales dog walks - share pictures of your four-legged friends enjoying their day out on Twitter or Facebook and we will feature the best walks and pictures in a future blog.
Images courtesy of: Swedish Elkhound by Arto Pääkkönen via Wikimedia Commons.