TRAVEL / SNOWDONIA
WHERE TO STAY ✽ OLD LARCH YURT A homely, woodland yurt full of vibrant colours. Enjoy views from the raised deck, relax in the hammock or take a boat out. A campfire circle, BBQ area and hammock complete the camp with a wonky swinging bench. Kids will love following the nature trails, the treasure hunt, finding fossils and adding to the wishing tree. Within Bodynfoel Hall's 600 acres of sprawling grounds there are even a couple of ponds really close by where you can borrow a boat and go for a relaxing punt. bodhall.co.uk ✽ RIVER YURT, ECO RETREATS Located deep in the Dyfi forest, you're in the perfect spot to reconnect with nature and take in your peaceful surroundings. It’s truly off-grid, with a gaspowered private shower using fresh spring water, wood fired bath, compost loo and minimal light pollution. There's no Wi-Fi or mobile signal here so you can switch off completely. ecoretreats.co.uk ✽ Dragon Cruck feels like it grew out of the woods that surround it, which, given the very local sourcing of the timber, it pretty much did. Tree surgeon Mike and his team crafted every inch of the quiet spot among the trees, from the curve of the camp kitchen roof to the dragon joint for which the cabin is named. The Vyrnwy valley isn’t just great to look at, but also for wild swimming, canoeing and picnic spots in the hills. Mike is a mountain guide as well as a craftsman and can set you off on hiking routes as challenging or gentle as you like. sunnylea.co.uk
DOWN ON THE BEACH Explore vast stretches of sandy beach - often you’ll have these all to yourself.
1Abersoch Beach, Llŷn Peninsula (pictured above). On the south coast of the Llŷn Peninsula is Abersoch, a village where the Afon Soch river reaches the sea. A haven for dinghy sailors, jet-skiers and windsurfers, the former fishing port is now a hub for water-based fun. There are two sandy beaches, the main one being the best for sheltered swimming surrounded by postcard-perfect views.
2Barmouth beach has one of the most impressive locations in Wales, with the Mawddach Estuary and Cardigan Bay lapping at its toes and the foothills of Snowdonia rising dramatically at its back. With direct trains from Birmingham taking just three and a half hours, it’s been a favourite with visitors from the Midlands since Victorian times.
3Trearddur Bay, Anglesey. This village to the south of Holyhead has two gorgeous beaches: Trearddur Beach and Porth Diana. At both, you can swim in protected bathing areas, clamber along the rock pools and play in the sand. Shallow scuba diving is a really popular past-time there, with scuba equipment hire facilities dotted around nearby. After you've had your sea fix, you can walk to the famous South Stack, with its lighthouse and RSPB reserve.
Where to stay Find quirky places to stay at canopyand stars.co.uk
3 DAYS OUT 1Greenwood Forest Park (greenwoodfamilypark.co.uk) prides itself on being eco-friendly: it has the world’s only people-powered roller coaster, and the UK’s first solar-powered ride. There’s also active adventure play, mazes, archery, jungle boats, live shows and crafts, furry and feathered residents – and an indoor Enchanted WoodBarn as a rainy-day back-up.
2Snowdonia National Park’s Environmental Studies Centre (snowdonia.gov.wales/study-centre) offers courses in countryside skills in a beautiful spot overlooking the valley of the river Dwyryd in the heart of the National Park. Public courses include orienteering, guided walks and hikes, crafts, history, archaeology, painting, illustration, photography, wildlife and fishing. The tea room and gardens are worth a visit, too.
3The 320 acres of Moelyci farm (moelyci. org) seemed destined to become a holiday-home development until the local community clubbed together to buy it in the early 2000s. It’s now run as an environmentally-friendly farm, with 60 allotments for locals, while the Blas Lôn Las shop/café champions local food and drink.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2019 thegreenparent.co.uk