Welcome to the first of our 12 Christmas Blogs that will lead you through the festivities up to the 2nd of January. We will be looking at lots of different subjects including coping with the stresses of Christmas, recipe ideas, debt, savings and New Year’s resolutions. So come back each day to see what topic we’ll be discussing.
Today’s first blog celebrates the Festival of Winter Walks that is happening between 17 December and 8 January 2017. What better time to go for family walks than when you’re home with the kids and feeling like you’ve overindulged on the mince pies!
I asked some of my friends and colleagues across Wales if they had any suggestions for great walks with the kids and I was inundated with answers. So grab your hat and scarf, pull on your coat, and take a look at the guide I created from suggestions of family friendly walks.
Anglesey is full of great walks. Lesley and Ann like Llanddwyn because there are lots of different routes, including this one that takes you over to Llanddwyn Island during low tide.
Nicky has lots of favourite walks on Anglesey, as well as also recommending Llanddwyn, she suggests The Rocky Coast at Breakwater County Park and Holyhead Mountain. She also likes Penrhos Coastal Park nature reserve where the kids can spot all the creatures that live in the woodlands. “We’ve done all of these walks and more with our boys,” says Nicky.
There’s a beautiful circular walk in Rhoscolyn according to Non, “You start from the beach up to St Gwenfaen’s Well and the ancient cliffs, and back down to the White Eagle. It’s easy enough and you can even take a buggy (but maybe not down to the well).”
Rest Bay, Porthcawl is Marco’s suggestion, “There is a great beach and great views, and you can watch the surfers and you can also walk along the front. If you walk right (as you’re facing the beach) there’s a boarded walkway so it’s suitable for prams and wheelchairs. There’s a cafe at the top in the car park and clean toilets just around the corner.”
“If you go left you can walk to Porthcawl town centre. If you park in the car park it can cost anything between £1 and £3 depending on the time of year, but if you park closer to the town you can park for free and make it a part of the walk.”
Thomas suggests somewhere different to go in Cardiff – the Nant Fawr trail, “This is part of Nant Fawr Community Woodlands in North Cardiff. It links Cardiff’s reservoirs to Roath Park and is dog friendly. There is also an explorer trail for children,” explains Thomas.
“Red kite feeding time at Bwlch Nant yr Arian is popular with the little ones,” says Dylan.
Lea also likes Nant yr Arian, “The children loved it,” she says, “even paths, not too long, a good cafe and a playing field.”
While Amy likes Penrhyn-coch near Aberystwyth. There are plenty of walks in Gogerddan at Ystwyth Forest.
“There is a picnic site, parking, a river to skim stones. It can get very muddy but that’s part of the fun! There are several paths to follow, it does get quite steep at the far end but alternative routes will avoid the steeper bits,” says Amy.
In Conwy Helen recommends Llyn Crafnant saying it’s a beautiful place and great for children. There are three walks around the lake, one of which is accessible with prams and wheelchairs, and fantastic views as well as a cafe (closed during winter months) and public toilets.
“You can vary the distance of each one depending on the mood of the children,” suggests Gwenllian.
There is a walk along the Bryngwyn path from Tryfan Junction to Moel Tryfan and Waunfawr that turns it into a longer walk taking in different villages along the way.
Susanne mentions the Aberfalls walk in Abergwyngregyn. This is great with children, an easy walk that’s suitable for prams and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to reach the waterfall.
A suggestion made by Darren and Gwenllian and a favourite of mine too is Cwm Idwal. This is a walk around the bowl shaped hollow that surrounds Llyn Idwal. It could be a tough walk with smaller children as the terrain is quite rough mountain paths with some steep sections but a great walk with older children, and a great challenge for younger ones too with some help perhaps. The scenery is stunning.
Ann suggests Beddgelert that has an easy walk for children of all ages, including prams, along the river to see the grave of Gelert the dog. She also mentioned that the forests in Beddgelert are also good places to go for walks.
Sue often walks from Treharris to Bedlinog and back, and there are car parks at both ends, “It takes about an hour along mostly tarmac, so good for bikes and prams. It goes past a fishing lake with lots of ducks and there’s a cafe and toilets along the way,” explains Sue.
NEATH PORT TALBOT
Stephanie mentioned some fantastic waterfalls in woodlands in the Neath Valley.
“It’s quite dark at this time of year. The river swells when the rain and waterfalls are stronger so it can be wet and slippery so you can’t get too close. When it’s drier you can walk close and go behind the falls. There are some circular walks of varying difficulty. I always see families but they aren’t suitable for wheelchairs/prams,” says Stephanie.
Salli said there were some amazing walks in Pembrokeshire. “There’s a walk from Stackpole Quay car park to Barafundle Bay on Visit Pembrokeshire. It’s not too long or challenging for younger walkers and has some beautiful views. Don’t go too near the edge though! We sat at the top on the cliffs and had a picnic because the scenery was so fantastic.”
This walk is about half a mile and takes about 30 minutes. There are some fairly long stairs up from the car park and down to the bay so you can’t take a pram.
Sali explains that there’s also a longer walk for more adventurous walkers starting from the same car park, a 4-hour circular route.
Non also loves walking in Pembrokeshire and suggests the coastal path from Caerfai to St David, “The path will take you past St Non’s Well and the grand Warpool Court hotel. You can have a pint and a meal to finish in the Farmers beer garden where you can see the tower of the cathedral.”
A canal walk in Llangynidr is Pat’s suggestion. She advises heading to the Coach and Horses at Llangynidr where you can park and eat lunch.
“There’s a garden for the kids right near the canal. The walk along the canal side from the locks at Llangynidr up to the triple locks further on towards Brecon is great and ends in a picnic area,” she explains.
“There’s good access all the way along and if there are any boats going through the locks it’s very interesting.”
Stephanie suggests a 6 mile one way walk along Swansea Bay Prom to Mumbles, a straight and easy walk.
“You can walk along the seafront, there’s a path for wheelchairs/prams and there’s plenty to see and do such as cafes, pubs, shops and ice cream parlours,” she says.
She also suggests the Gower coastal paths and said that there were some circular routes available of varying difficulty. She explains that some are more secluded and that some are only accessible by foot.
VALE OF GLAMORGAN
The Llantwit Major to Barry walk along the Wales Coastal Path is one of Sam’s favourites.
“Get the train out to Llantwit, head to the beach, then keep walking east,” he says.
“You can stop off in the Blue Anchor in East Aberthaw for a pint and either carry on to Barry or catch the bus back to Llantwit. There is a bit of a scramble on a rocky beach by Gilestone and you do skirt round the power station but it’s really interesting and the nature reserve just after Aberthaw is lush.”
There are so many stunning and interesting walks in Wales that it would be impossible to share them all here but here are some links where you can find information about other walks in Wales:
- National Trust – Walking in Wales
- Let’s Walk Wales
- The Ramblers
- Wales Coastal Path
- Visit Wales – Family walks in Wales
The Festival of Winter Walks is a celebration organised by The Ramblers for over 25 years aiming to get more people out walking and exploring the great outdoors. You can find out more information, find group walks and register to Walkabout (where you can log your walks, see your walk history, how many miles you’ve walked and calories you’ve burned) on their website.
If you would like to share your favourite walks then post a comment underneath, or you could even write your own article to be featured on the FamilyPoint website.
Join us each day until 2nd January for more of our 12 Christmas Blogs
Want to find out about services available to you and your child in your area? Do you need advice or support on family matters? Then get in touch with the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. We are open over the festive period, even on Christmas Day.
- Phone: 0300 222 57 57
- Text: 07860 052 905
- Instant message (see below)
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