Want to go walking, but have children? It can be tricky to find places suitable for little legs – and it’s never much fun having to carry a tired and grumpy child back to the car…
Fear not – we’ve got you covered!
Below are a selection of Snowdonia walks we believe are suitable for families, ranging from flat pushchair friendly routes to ‘introductory’ mountain hikes. They take between one and three hours to complete – with the exception of the Mawddach Trail, which is longer (but you can do as little or as much as you like).
The great thing about these routes is that they really don’t compromise on the ‘Snowdonia’ experience. We guarantee stunning mountains, incredible viewpoints and varied terrain. So, lace up your boots, pack a raincoat and get walking!
Mawddach Trail – South Snowdonia
Buggy friendly? Yes
Postcode: LL42 1NF (Barmouth Car Park)
Arguably one of the best trails in Britain, for cyclists as well as walkers, this broad, flat route was once the trackbed of the old railway line from Barmouth to Ruabon, which closed in 1965. It stretches 9 miles, following the beautiful Mawddach Estuary, and gives walkers a taste of Snowdonia’s striking scenery and varied wildlife habitats, including the salt marshes conservation area.
If you don’t fancy such a long walk, the trail can be joined at several points, including Morfa Mawddach and Penmaenpool.
Cwm Idwal – North West Snowdonia
Difficulty: Easy- Moderate
Buggy Friendly? No
Postcode: LL57 3LZ
A famous and popular walking route, which gives kids a fantastic introduction to Snowdonia walking. A fairly easy incline, along a well-maintained stone path takes you up to the lake, and from there, a circular route around the lake which you can do, depending on your children’s experience level. Younger children will be in awe of the amazing glacial valley. Spend half an hour sitting beside the lake with a picnic and skim stones on the water – kids (and adults) will be in their element.
In 1954, Cwm Idwal became the first officially recognised National Nature Reserve in Wales. One of Charles Darwin’s favourite hangouts, he spent time studying the rocks and plant life while developing his Theory of Evolution. So, as you’d expect, Cwm Idwal is a great place for wildlife spotting, with a large variety of arctic-alpine wildflowers as well as feral goats, polecats and rare pine martens.
Carneddau Mountains – North Snowdonia
Buggy Friendly? No
Postcode: LL32 8AZ (Bwlch Sychnant Car Park)
For children who have a little bit more experience with hillwalking and have built up a bit of stamina, the Carneddau has a lot of great paths to explore. There are a number of mini ridges with incredible views across the sea and to Anglesey.
Kids will love the fact that there is so much to see up there. Get the OS map out and see if they can find the cairns and remnants of old settlements that are marked on the map. Wild ponies and plenty of wildlife will also keep their attention. It’s a nice walk for parents, as you can gain a good pace by marching them along the old Roman road. Easily accessible, start at Sychnant Pass car park, where tarmac paths guide you up towards the Roman road. There’s not too much of an ascent as the car park is already high up, and you can walk as little or as far as you like and still feel that you’ve achieved something.
Hopefully these three routes will be enough to turn even the most reluctant of children into fearless outdoor explorers. If you still find yourself struggling – there’s always the fail-safe bargaining tool of an ice-cream at the end! Good luck – and enjoy!
Images courtesy: Cwm Idwal, Tori Smith, 2017. Other images, © Crown copyright 2016 (Visit Wales).