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Portmeirion : 9 New Year's Day 2017 North Wales walks to suit everyone

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01/01/2017 | 07:49am CET

If your New Year's resolution is to be a little bit more active, go out and explore what North Wales has to offer.

The region boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world with its breathtaking coastlines, stunning foothills and incredible architecture.

So whether you're looking for a long distant trek or just a simple stroll around the countryside, we've put together a list of some of the best places to take a walk in 2017.

But remember if you're heading out, be careful of the weather and always plan your journey in advance.

Conwy - Betws-Y-Coed: Llyn Elsi

This route through the forest to Llyn Elsi - a lake in the forest above Betws y Coed - has excellent views across to Moel Siabod. It isn't too stenuous if you're hoping for something a little easier.

It can be completed comfortably in 2 hours, but you may want to take longer to explore the forest or walk around the lake.

Distance

Around 2.5 miles/4 kilometers

Route

From the road behind St Mary's church make your way in to the forest. Stay on the main trail which wends its way towards Llyn Elsi.

Approaching the lake you will be rewarded with stunning views towards Moel Siabod. From the lake follow it around to the right and head towards the monument which commemorates the building of the dam in 1914.

You can extend your walk with a stroll around the lakeside or alternatively follow the Jubilee path back through the forest to Betws y Coed.

Denbighshire - Llangollen History Trail

This cultural walk takes you through the Llangollen countryside where you can visit several historic landmarks and the surrounding Dee valley on this easy to follow, circular trail.

But if you're looking for something a bit tougher, you can lengthen your walk by joining Offa's dyke - built by Offa, King of Mercia between 757 and 796 AD which formed the boundary between England and Wales - along the way.

You can link to Offa's Dyke at several points on the Llangollen History Trail.

Distance

6 miles/10 kim (if you're not joining Offa's Dyke along the way)

Route

From Castle Street, in Llangollen town centre, cross the bridge and keep following the signs to the Llangollen Canal.

Continue along the towpath for two miles until you reach the Horseshoe Falls.

From there, walk on until you reach Llantysilio Church, than on to Velvet Hill, about half a mile away.

Carry on for three quarters of a mile where you will be greeted by the sight of the historic Valle Crucis Abbey, founded by Cistercian monks in 1201.

Now follow the path for two miles to the medieval ruins of Dinas Brân Castle - built in the 1260s by Prince Gruffudd ap Madog - before heading back downhill to Llangollen.

Gwynedd - Portmeirion

If you're looking for stunning coastal views, take a stroll along Portmeirion's coastline and witness its spectacular architechture.

Portmeirion - the home of this year's Festival No 6 - was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 to pay tribute to the atmosphere of the Mediterranean with the village now a poplar tourist attraction and well worth a visit.

Distance

Around 4 miles/6.5 km

Route

Turn right from the post office in Porthmadog and then along High Street towards Minffordd.

From Britannia Bridge continue along the Cob embankment, where looking across the sea you may just be able to see Harlech Castle.

Head down the stone steps and cross the A487 onto the pavement opposite. Turn right and continue with the works above you.

When you reach the end of the lay-by cross over the road again to find an uphill track leading to a railway line. Once there turn left, crossing the the railway and through a wooden gate, continuing your journey upwards.

Through two metal gates until you reach a crossroads. Keep on until you pass a cattle grid on the left, to a large stone wall. Go through the gate and follow the track, there to another wall and keep ahead following a winding path alongside a fence.

Don't go through the wooden gate, instead turn right to enter the Portmeirion village car park. Take the right turning at a large tree and follow the track downhill following it around to right to the road, taking a left at a yellow seat and walk along a track until you reach the road. Turn left towards the A487.

A look back at a busy year for North Wales' mountain rescue teams

Go back across A487 and turn left and then right down the narrow road immediately between houses.

From there, cross the railway line and at the bottom of the hill, after a row of houses on the left, turn left along another narrow lane and continue until you reach a T-junction. Turn right along the road and after passing a lay-by on the left, continue straight ahead through an arch to follow the path alongside the A487 road.

You'll soon see the Boston Lodge lay-by again and this time take the cycle-way and cross over the Cob.

Pass the Ffestiniog Railway station and Britannia Bridge comes into sight.

From Portmeirion head back towards the car park but instead of going into it continue instead along the drive keeping the car park to your left until just past Castell Deudraeth.

Wrexham - Clywedog Valley Trail: Minera Led Mines to Nant Mill

This route is ideal for the whole family to breathe in a bit of fresh air in the New Year.

Minera Lead Mines, which closed in 1914, are the starting point for the Clywedog trail – a walk through woodland, farmland and along the river Clwyedog to Erddig and Kings Mill.

The whole trail is eight miles long, but we're taking you on an easier three mile route, making it more of a family adventure.

The Clywedog trail promises a great day out for the family, as well as some of Wrexham's best countryside.

Distance

3 miles/5 km

Route

At Minera Lead Mines main car park follow the path towards the mine workings. At the top of this path turn left down the hill where you should see a wooden gate.

Go through it and head to the road and turn right. Follow the road for a little while looking out for the next way marker on the opposite side by some farm buildings.

Take this route crossing the stile and two more further on, follow between the fences.

At the road, follow it around to the left across to the path, keeping the river on your left.

Carry on across the meadow. As you exit Nant Wood the path splits, take the left option heading down some steps and across the bridge over the river.

Follow the path towards the playgrounds at Nant Mill. Once at the playground head across the car park and you will arrive at the Nant Mill visitor centre.

Anglesey - St Cwyfan's Church

Follow in the footsteps of an Irish saint to the Church in the Sea on a small tidal island called Cribinau close to the village of Aberffraw, Anglesey.

The church was built well inland but sea erosion has now made it a central feature of Porth Cwyfan.

At high tide the church is completely surrounded by the sea.

Distance

Around 5 miles/8 km

Route

The walk starts from the parking area on the dunes in Aberffraw.

Cross the old packhorse bridge built in 1730 and turn left following the path alongside the river.

Approaching Cei there is a short diversion uphill towards the village. Follow the signs and turn left and you're soon back along side the river Ffraw.

Soon you'll see the sea emerging from your left. After passing a simple stone washed house, look for the path leading onto a small hill to your right.

The signposted path leads to the right but take a detour to the top of Trwyn Du, the hill to enjoy the wide panoramic view of the estuary, the beach and the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance.

Leaving this spot follow the well marked and signed path along the coast.

Follow the path to join the Anglesey Coastal Path and you'll be able to see your destination, St Cwyfan's - the Church in the Sea.

Reach the beach at Porth China.

Return across the beach, looking out for a signpost leading to a minor road on your left. The road leads gently uphill and from its highest point you have a wonderful panoramic view of the area.

Continue along the road towards Aberffraw passing close to St Beuno's Church on the edge of the village, which lies ahead.

Gwynedd - Nant Gwrtheyrn

Nant Gwrtheyrn – a steep sided valley plunging down to the sea – is known as one of the most spectacular spots on the Llyn Peninsula.

It is a spectacular place to visit and well worth putting on your 2017 to do list.

Distance

About 3 miles/5 km

Route

Walk out of the car park, turn right and along the road towards Llithfaen for a short distance turning right again to a gate at the corner of a field.

The path crosses the middle of the field but is very faint. Keep to the left of the power cables as you walk down a gentle slope towards a wall and a gateway.

Go through the gate and across the next field, and head up a gentle slope. At the top, there is a waypoint marker post which you may be able to spot from some distance away.

Walking forward, bear left and go downhill again towards a gate in a wall. The waymarker posts are closer together here, which is a help.

At the gate follow the wall towards an old metal stile and then down towards a gate near the road that runs from Llithfaen to Pistyll.

Through the gate and turn right onto a track that leads towards Ciliau Isaf farm. The path goes past the farmhouse and continues downhill across Gallt y Bwlch.

Towards the north you'll be able to see the sweep of the Gwynedd coastline towards Trefor, Dinas Dinlle and Anglesey beyond.

Continue down the waymarked path across bracken covered slopes and crossing a small stream.

When you reach a high point go down the steep path to just above the beach at Porth y Nant.

The path leads to the start of the quarry incline which leads high into the hillside. It is waymarked and after a short, sharp uphill section you'll arrive at the village.

To return to the car park go past the former chapel, now an interesting Heritage Centre, and head up the tarmacked road which winds its way up the hillside through woodland.

Flintshire - Hope Mountain

Take a walk up Hope Mountain where you will find incredible views of the surrounding landscape, and on a clear day, far beyond.

On the way you're guaranteed to be treated to some very fine viewpoints.

Distance

6 miles/ 10 km

Route

From the car park side exit, turn left and left again into Bryn Yorkin Lane.

Follow the lane up hill past Plas-y-Bwl and go up steps over a stile into a field. Cross over a drive and continue straight ahead until you meet the lane again.

Turn left up lane and turn right into the drive of Bryn Yorkin Manor.

At the Malt House turn right and follow the grassy track. Go through gate and carry on until you come to a stile. Do not cross the stile but take a path on your left climbing up through woods, continue through field to a lane.

Turn left along lane and continue down hill for half a mile.

At the T junction turn right and then left onto a footpath then follow the path turning right to a cottage. A stone stile takes you in front of the cottage to a lane.

Turn left along lane and continue down hill for half a mile.

Pass a lane on right, at T junction turn right and then left onto a footpath. Steps and a stile lead down behind houses. Follow the path turning right to a cottage. A stone stile takes you in front of the cottage to a lane.

Follow the lane to a junction, turn right the yellow arrows lead on up hill past houses. A footpath on left leads down through woods, continue ahead, ignoring a path on left.

Emerging from the woodland there a series of paths ahead, choose the right-hand one, beneath an old quarry face. Cross a stile into open land, the path bears sharply left downhill, turn right at the waymark onto a pleasant woodland path.

A gate on left leads to a drive, bear right passing a quarry entrance and, where the lane bends left, carry straight ahead on another woodland path.

Take right fork, following the waymark sign. The path climbs up in front of quarries, continue to follow the waymarks as the path bears right again through woodland.

Keep straight on this path ignoring paths to the right as it winds its way through woodland, ever climbing. A stone stile takes you through two fields to reach a lane beside the house of Fairview.

Cross the road and left onto the track that leads to Ty Uchaf. Before the house take the signed path to the right and follow the path through trees. Continue along the track, passing through gates. Before the gate to the white house ahead, Fron, turn right to follow a grassy path up hill. Continue on the track passing through gates until you reach a lane.

Turn right, again uphill. At the top a small gate on left leads through the Waun Llyn Country Park car park. A clear path leads to the viewpoint, with great views. A grassy path on your right leads down towards a stone building where a stile with waymark directs you over a field. Follow the wall until a waymark directs you diagonally left down to a gate and a cattle grid. Turn right and follow the track down to a cross roads.

Go straight across and follow the lane, turning left on lane by Croes towards Caergwrle. In ¾ mile, where the lane bends left turn towards Celyn Cottage, a path on right leads up to more woodland. Follow the wall left above the cottage, at a fork in paths take the left hand one, this leads to a lane.

Turn left to the main road, then right to return to the car park.

Wrexham - Aqueduct Walk

If you want to combine breathtaking views with a family adventure, this is an idea route to take. It's an easily walkable route with plenty of pubs and picnic spots as you go.

Distance

4 miles/6.5 km

Route

Leaving the Visitor Centre bear left around the front of the barn and head towards the sandstone Cefn Viaduct.

The tarmac path takes you through the mini beast woods and past the dovecote where you will find some detailed information about the Viaduct.

Follow the tarmac path beneath the towering viaduct arches.

Continue along beside the river. Leave the park by turning left through a gate signposted 'Pontcysyllte Aqueduct'.

Go down the steps through the trees and follow the path which runs alongside the river Dee – this is a linear walk and is easy to follow.

Cross the footbridge over Trefnant Brook and past the old, brick built pump house on the left. Continue along the path through Jeffrey's Wood.

At the base of the aqueduct, climb the steep steps to your right and go up to the Trevor canal basin.

Before returning to Tıy Mawr, if you have a good head for heights, walk along the canal towpath onto the aqueduct for a splendid view of the Cefn Viaduct and the medieval Bont Bridge crossing the river Dee.

Gwynedd - Bala to Llandderfel

To catch a great view of Bala Lake, the Berwyn mountains and the River Dee, walk this route over farmland and minor roads along the Dee valley.

Distance

Around 9 miles/14 kilometers

Route

Leave "The Green" car park and turn right onto A494 (Corwen).

Go over "Pont-y-Bala" (River Tryweryn) using the path on left-side of A494, passing the old arched gateway to Rhiwlas Hall. On the left is Ysgubor Isaf.

Opposite the Bryn turn left and follow path, along fence/hedge, over 2 fields to "Lovers Walk" – a tree lined avenue.

Turn right onto "Lovers Walk" and continue to minor road. On left views of Moel Emoel.

Turn right onto minor road to Llanfor

Just before the church , pass Moel Llan house and immediately turn left (way-marked - around the corner), and follow lane with churchyard on right.

At end of lane, go into field, cross to a stile and follow a way-marked path which runs parallel to the A494 for approximately 1 kilometer to Bryn Pader.

The path follows field boundaries including a row of vertical stones. Towards the top of the hill go over stile and continue parallel to the A494, looking for a chimney.

Pass to the right of Bryn Pader using white-gates, follow the access track right and downhill to A494.

Turn left onto A494 (Take Care Busy Road) pass the Bunkhouse, after 150m cross the road to go over a stile.

The mound on the left just after the Bunkhouse is Tomeny-castell.

Walk straight on across a small field to a stile then across another field. At the fence turn right and through a field-gate.

Continue in the same general direction across the field to a gate left of a white cottage.

Immediately turn right onto a track downhill.

Pass farm outbuildings and take way-marked path to left and keep parallel to the woods on the left.

Follow the way-marked path for 1½ km, passing Ty'n y bwlch on a track.

Continue on the track to pass to the right of Llyn Maesy-clawdd. At the minor road turn right and follow the minor road into Llandderfe.

© Copyright 2017 Caernarfon & Denbigh Herald , All Rights Reserved., source Newspapers

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