TOP 5 WELSH WILD PLACES

Daniel Start chooses his favourite spots from his new book, Wild Guide Wales.

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - The View -

PORTH IAGO LLYN PENIN­SULA

Time stands still on this won­der­fully ru­ral penin­sula and this is one of its best lit­tle beaches. West fac­ing, shel­tered, with golden sands, clear wa­ters and an an­cient hill­fort look­out above. You can even wild camp here, in­cluded in the hon­esty box fee you pay as you pass through the farm. Head east along the coast path to find two su­per-se­cret sandy coves that face each other across a nar­row bay at Porth Widlin. Or a dra­matic walk west along the coast leads to the pop­u­lar white-sand bay of Porth Oer, or Whistling Sands, where there’s a lit­tle shop and café. Fur­ther along coast, the small is­land head­lands of Di­nas Bach and Di­nas Fawr have sea caves to ex­plore. FIND IT: A mile and a half north east of Rhoshir­waun on the B4413.

KLONDYKE WOODS CONWY

Look for Tyl­wyth Teg (Fairy Folk) in the mag­i­cal mossy woods above Klondyke, an eerie mill ruin slowly re­turn­ing to na­ture. The aban­doned build­ings are named af­ter the cat­a­strophic Cana­dian Klondike gold rush as this was where swindler Joseph Aspinall cre­ated a hoax cop­per mine in 1918 to ex­tract vast sums from gullible Lon­don in­vestors. Even more con­sumed by the progress of lichen, moss and fern

ABERCWMEIDDAW BINOC­U­LARS, MACHYN­L­LETH

These fas­ci­nat­ing dou­ble-bore test tun­nels can be reached by a short scram­ble near the edge of the old quarry. They were cut through the rock­face by a ma­chine patented by Ge­orge Hunter in 1864 and form the ap­pear­ance of huge binoc­u­lars star­ing out of the moun­tain­side. Walk up beyond the pit along the main path to dis­cover the man­ager’s house ru­ins in the woods. Paths also con­nect up to the slate re­mains at site of Aber­cor­ris mine; the steep foot­path passes a quirky minia­ture re­cre­ation of the fa­mous build­ings of Italy! FIND IT: Right turn about a mile north of King Arthur’s Labyrinth on the A487. are the ear­lier min­ing en­deav­ours at Clog­wyn-y-Fuwch, reached on a path through the an­cient oaks. Dat­ing from 1790, these were some of the first slate mines in Snow­do­nia, and adventurers can un­cover a vast set of cham­bers up the hill­side. Con­tinue your walk up to Llyn Craf­nant, a mes­meris­ing but lesser-known lake with a hid­den shore­side café. FIND IT: Fol­low signs for Llyn Craf­nant op­po­site Fairy Falls inn in Tre­friw B5106; fol­low to forestry car park.

SCWD DDWLI AND HORSE­SHOE FALLS, BRE­CON BEA­CONS

The grace­ful arc and large pool of Ddwli falls on the Nedd Fechan river is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est and most sat­is­fy­ing of over 20 spectacular wa­ter­falls which run through an­cient wood­land along the Mellte and Nedd rivers. Walk down­stream to reach Horse­shoe Falls which is also great fun and has a big, deep jump. Turn right af­ter a mile to find Lady Falls with a grace­ful col­umn of wa­ter in a wooded am­phithe­atre. A bush­whack up­stream leads to the im­pos­ing Ein­ion Gam, fall­ing 21m high into a canyon, very rarely vis­ited yet with a huge plunge pool, best in the morn­ing sun. FIND IT: En­ter­ing Pontneddfechan from B4242, fol­low road left at the Di­nas Inn 1 ¾ miles, then left to Pont Melin-fach bridge. Car park on left af­ter ¾ mile.

ABEREIDDY BLUE LA­GOON, PEM­BROKESHIRE

This iri­des­cent pool was once a quarry but it has long since breached to the sea, and the old wheel­house now pro­vides three plat­forms for leap­ing into the deep abyss be­low – a fa­mous rite of pas­sage for lo­cal swim­mers and vis­i­tors alike. Walk east along the spongy, flow­ered coast path to Traeth Llyfn, a su­perb se­cret beach. Keep on go­ing to find the old tramway lead­ing down to the huge brick load­ing hop­pers in Porth­gain har­bour, home of the fa­mous Sloop Inn and gas­tro fish and chips at the Shed, a con­verted wharf shed on the sea front. FIND IT: Abereiddy is signed from the A487.

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