You can own all the guidebooks in the world, but there is nothing better than local knowledge to help you discover hidden gems within the British countryside. One gem we discovered recently, whilst visiting relatives in North Wales, was the glorious Aber Falls hidden behind the quiet village of Abergwyngregyn.
This short walk (approximately 3 miles round trip) is a treasure trail of flora, fauna and local wildlife that leads up to one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Wales.
The walk starts at the car park at Bont Newydd Bridge and takes you up a wide and accessible path surrounded by lush green hills and the tips of snow-capped mountains. The forest clearance - a result of previous logging - is noticeable at the start of the walk but is soon left behind and replaced by a well established and varied woodland, most noted for its scent of fresh pine and the thick bed of needles crunching under your feet.
Once through the forest the landscape opens up to display a host of mature trees including oak, alder, ash, sycamore, poplar, willow, beech, birch, and hazel and some inquisitive woolly friends munching the grass underneath their branches. It’s at this point that you catch your first glimpse of the majestic falls as they power through the hardwearing Granophyre rock of the Carneddau Mountains. Looking behind you, you are met with the impressive screes of Marian Rhaeadr-fawr to the left and the panorama of the valley to the right. This is a great opportunity to stop, absorb the immense views, appreciate the crisp mountain air and rejoice in being alive!
Moving upwards following the contours of the river, it is just a short walk to the foot of Aber Falls and once there you cannot fail to be impressed. Venturing there in winter meant the falls were in full flow and the power of the water hurtling 115 feet down the rock face was an experience that took our breath away. If you’re feeling brave you can walk to the end of the path and stand close to where the falls hit the river – just be careful not to get caught out by the spray! Alternatively, you can cross a bridge below the falls and find another great vantage point from the other side.
After sharing a flask of lemon tea, we decided to head back down the way that we came but there is also the option to extend your walk following the path on the other side of the river back to Bont Newydd Bridge. It will take you on a route going west, crossing Afon Gam and the head of the valley, before swinging right rising on to its western edge. The route then continues north above the forest to the hills above Abergwyngregyn. From there simply turn right and descend towards the village and back to the start.
Our entire family (age 4 to 46) loved this walk and we’re so grateful to have found it. It’s a showcase for the stunning Welsh countryside and undoubtedly leaves an imprint on your heart.
Sarah Booth: The Hiking Enthusiast