Autumn is one of Eryri’s most magical seasons and its golden hues and crisp air offer the perfect opportunity to explore some of the National Park’s more peaceful and leisurely walks.
Eryri’s iconic peaks will likely be too treacherous to venture under wintery conditions, particularly if you lack the specialist knowledge of hiking in winter conditions. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of idyllic autumnal strolls to enjoy in Eryri.
Nestled between Dolgellau and Barmouth, Abergwynant Woods is a 90-acre woodland on the southern shore of the Mawddach Estuary. The Gwynant River, which starts at the foot of the majestic Cader Idris, meanders through the woodland which allows a rich tapestry of mosses, lichens, and woodland species like fungi, frogs, and newts to flourish. Native trees such as oak, birch, and holly also flourish here.
Abergwynant Woods provides a serene and contemplative atmosphere for a mindful stroll, yet its winding paths and ‘undiscovered’ aura makes it perfect for a family outing.
Duration: 3/4 hours
Betws-y-coed is one of the National Park’s quaintest villages. It’s surrounded by woodland which makes autumn in the village a remarkable experience. Betws-y-coed Bridges is a lesiurely stroll through the village as well as some of its surrounding woodland. As you wander along the route, you’ll cross several bridges crossing the Llugwy River in dense and majestic woodland.
As a lesiurely stroll it is perfect for family outings and the village’s proximity offers a great pit-stop for a post-walk tipple or meal.
Duration: 1 hours
Located on the outskirts of Dolgellau, the Torrent Walk is a favored route in the region. Here, you’ll tread beneath a lush woodland canopy, tracing the course of the Clywedog River while passing by remnants of hidden industrial history.
The gorge is a haven for wildlife, including otters, dormice, lesser horseshoe bats, and a unique array of plants like lichen, ferns, mushrooms, and liverwort. This riverbank once bustled with industrial activity, and echoes of that era still exist today through the mill, smithy, woollen mill, and iron furnace that can be seen along the route.
Grading: Access for All
Distance: 15km but can be enjoyed in shorter distances
Stretching between Dolgellau and Barmouth, the Mawddach Trail is one of the National Park’s most accessible and versatile paths. This 9-mile trail traces the southern shore of the Mawddach Estuary, a wildlife-rich and historically significant area within the park.
The trail’s even surface makes it perfect for all abilites, including wheelchair and off-road mobility scooter users. Access points are scattered along the length of the route, providing flexibility for those seeking a shorter, gentler stroll by the estuary. Families often enjoy cycling along the Mawddach Trail, offering a thrilling day out for all.
Distance: 7km but can be enjoyed in shorter distance
Lôn Gwyrfai, one of the National Park’s most versatile routes, stretches between Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu. Designed for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders, this multi-use recreational path spans 4½ miles. Some sections even accommodate Tramper-type vehicles, which can be hired by the National Park Authority.
Lôn Gwyrfai winds through diverse landscapes, with captivating views of the Gwyrfai Valley, Yr Wyddfa and the surrounding area.
Before you set off
Exploring Eryri during the autumn and winter months is a delightful experience, but it is still essential to prioritize your safety. Woodland paths can often become slippery, so wearing sturdy walking shoes with good grip is crucial to prevent accidents.
The weather can also be unpredictable, especially in higher altitudes, so make sure you wear or carry extra layers and check the weather before you head out.
You should also make sure that you are comfortable with the fitness level required for the route ahead and that it’s also suitable for any others who are walking with you on the route.