Highlights of Wales | Snowdonia National Park
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Highlights of Wales | Snowdonia National Park
More than half (52%) of Wales’ Snowdonia National Park or Eryri (“highlands”) in the western coast is covered by mountain ranges. In total, the park covers more than 2,000 square kilometres of diverse landscapes and beautiful scenery, perfect for those seeking an idyllic escape. The oldest and largest of the three national parks in Wales, Snowdonia is home to Mt Snowdon, the highest peak in the British Isles outside of Scotland, standing at 1,085 metres; Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake, “Lake of Serenity”), the largest natural lake in Wales; as well as tens of thousands of residents who live within the park in beautiful villages.
History of Snowdonia
As the site of a long Welsh history and the centre of Welsh and English conflict, Snowdonia’s terrain is dotted with castles and the seemingly impenetrable mountains that kept the Romans and Vikings away from invading the region. Before Wales fell under English rule, Snowdonia was ruled by the Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd. To protect Snowdonia from invading forces and other Welsh kingdoms, Gwynedd rulers built Dolbadarn Castle and Dolwyddelan Castle.
These fortifications eventually fell under the control of England’s Edward I, who built his own chain of castles called the Ring of Iron. The grandest of these was the medieval castle, Caernarfon.
Snowdonia National Park is now a popular destination for tourists and adventurers. Located in the Celtic heartland, Snowdonia is also filled with legends, with one saying that Mt Snowdon was the final resting place of a giant killed by King Arthur. The highest peak in Wales and England attracts more than 300,000 visitors.
Reaching the summit of Snowdon
Snowdon’s summit can be reached by riding the Snowdon Mountain Railway from the station in Llanberis. Travellers have been going to Llanberis since 1896 to experience this railway journey. A return ticket allows you 30 minutes at the summit to enjoy the views. Trains run to the summit beginning in May; between mid-March and May, the train would only take you as far as Clogwyn. From Clogwyn, it is an hour’s walk to the top.
Snowdon Mountain Railway is accessible and wheelchair users and passengers with mobility issues are welcome. Calling ahead of booking is advised in order to discuss particular requirements.
Various Walks in Snowdonia National Park
For those who are keen to hike, there are also six main routes to the summit, with the longest and most gradual walking route–Llanberis Path–taking you across more than seven kilometres of amazing terrain.
Snowdonia National Park has walks for all activity levels, from rugged mountain hikes to accessible walks. Mawddach Trail, which runs south of Snowdonia National Park, is considered one of the best trails in Britain, following the track bed of an old railway line by the river Mawddach. This fourteen-kilometre walking route is good for beginning walkers who are after a leisurely walk with stunning scenery. There are plenty of accessible benches and picnic tables on his path as well.
Another good accessible walk is the Dôl Idris Path, also south of the park, which takes you through beautiful parkland at the foot of the iconic Cadair Idris mountain. This trail has car parks, a visitor centre, and a tea room.
If you’d like to stay in the park a little bit longer, you can stay in campsites in the area and enjoy a perfect outdoor experience with the stunning north Wales landscape as your backdrop.
Articles about Wales published by Odyssey Traveller.
- History of Wales
- New Discoveries about Britain’s Stone Circles
- Queen Victoria’s Britain, Part 1 and Part 2
- Understanding British Churches
- Exploring Britain’s Prehistoric Past
- Britain’s World Heritage Sites
- Roman Roads in Britain
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Wales.
A Walking tour of Wales with spectacular views across as you walk the millennial path across the Irish sea or up in Snowdonia national park. This guided tour that provides insight into the history of each castle visited and breathtaking scenery enjoyed before exploring the capital of Wales, Cardiff.
A small group tour of Wales, Scotland & England that traces the history of the journey that is the Industrial revolution. Knowledgeable local guides and your tour leader share their history with you on this escorted tour including Glasgow, London, New Lanark & Manchester, Liverpool and the Lake district.
The Industrial Revolution brought great change to Britain with the linking of major rivers with canals and the development of railways. During our program we learn how engineers overcame geographical obstacles through the use of viaducts, bridges, aqueducts, tunnels and locks. Fortunately for us many of these impressive structures have been restored and now carry recreational boating with branch railways through spectacular landscapes.