Wales is not very well known to travellers. Yet is it is one of most beautiful places in the UK, with three national parks that protect an impressive 20% of Wales, including precious landscapes, habitats, villages and heritage sites. Our plan for this road trip was to explore the two biggest National Parks in Wales, Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia and drive our motorbike to two of the most memorable and picturesque routes in the U.K., A470 through Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountain road (A4069) in Powys.
We spent the first night in the village Llangross which sits at the foot of the Black Mountains within the Brecon Beacons. It is home to lake Llangorse (Llyn Syfaddam in Welsh). There is a rumour that is home to Gorsey the lake monster who feature in a poem as early as the 15th century by the Welsh bard Lewys Glyn Cothi. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him.
In the local pub meanwhile there was a peculiar system of food ordering where each table would order its food, prepared and served before the next table could order. But then again, there were only five tables. The menu was available only on chalk boards, 17 to be exact, but small ones.
The mountains of Snowdonia provide some of the most dramatic sceneries in Wales and thousands of hikers arrive each year to hike up Snowdom massif (Eryri). Starting from Llanberis, we crossed the glacial valleys and through Capel Curig we arrived to Betws-y-Coed, a pretty Victorian resort in the Conwy valley.
Gwydyr Forest Park which encircles the village of Betws-y-Coed lies in the heart of the Snowdonia. The walking trails allows the visitor to explore the lakes and the mountains of this old mining landscape. Mining and quarrying have been a major part of Snowdonia’s history, and literally has shaped the landscape that we see today . Almost all the lakes in the forest were created to serve the mines.
One of our favourite destinations was Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid in Welsh meaning Lake of Serenity), in Gwynedd. It is the biggest natural lake in Wales and a protected wildlife site, popular to watersport enthusiasts, because of the winds which sweep through its mountain valley setting.
The scenery is so beautiful and serene, one can spend hours just sitting with a book at the edge of the lake watching the changes in the colour of the water and the sky. Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake Railway), one of the old little mining trains of Wale, is still in use offering a nine-mile round trip around the lake.
Located in the middle of Snowdonia, it is an old Quaker building with beautiful views in a great location, ideal for hiking and mountain biking. Just half an hour walking for the town of Dolgellau.
Glan y Gro is situated in a secluded position on the shore front of Lake Bala, you can’t be any closer to the lake really, with stunning views across the lake and hills beyond. We loved the view of the lake and the peaceful surroundings and the breakfast was delicious.
Bage Pool, a 16th century farmhouse of great character situated in a quiet location in western Herefordshire’s Golden Valley, on the Welsh Borders, just 5 miles from Hay on Wye, the famous second hand bookshop town. Fascinating property and thousands upon thousands of books.