In this series of ‘My outdoors’ regional guides, I chat to local tourist boards around the country, trying to dig out hidden gems and special outdoor places to help you plan your weekend away. If you’re planning a visit to a new part of the UK, these Q&A’s are a great place to start.
For this guide, we’re in stunning Wales. You might associate this part of the world with sheep, Tom Jones and inclement weather, but there is plenty of adventure to be found here, if you know where to look…
So tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Ceri Jones and I’m part of the PR team at Visit Wales.
Wales seems to have a bit of everything; mountains, coastline, forests, waterfalls… If I’ve only got a weekend to spare, how do I choose where to go?
One of the great things about Wales is that we are a small country so everything is within easy reach… You can be surfing at Abersoch, Lleyn Peninsula in the morning, walking in the mountains of Snowdonia in the afternoon and then mountain biking through the Gwydir Forrest outside Betws y Coed before dinner. Everything is within an easy drive so you can do it all.
I like to explore Wales on foot and my favourite walks are along the coast. Wales is blessed with 800m of stunning coastline much of which can be explored and what’s great is that by July 2012 it will be possible to walk around the entire coastline of Wales with the completion of the Wales Coast Path www.walking.visitwales.co.uk. Large sections of the coast path will also be suitable for cyclists and horse riders.
I love a spot of camping, any favourites?
Wales has some fantastic campsites and at Graig Wen outside Dolgellau you have the choice of two different sites. The lower fields are great for those looking for a back to nature camping experience – you are surrounded by unspoilt scenery and wildlife. The second site offers sweeping views over the stunning Mawddach Estuary and surrounding mountains and easy access to washing facilities and showers for those missing their home comforts!
Camping has also been taken to another level at Graig Wen with the option of staying in one of their luxury yurts. Yurts are furnished round canvas tents inspired by Mongolian yurts. There are now a number of places across Wales where you can experience a night in a yurt.For more information please visit www.visitwales.co.uk/holiday-accommodation
For starters, 26 of the beaches on Anglesey have won awards – Porth Dafarch, Anglesey is a sheltered sandy cove which is fantastic for families.
Or try Llyn Tegid, Bala – this is the largest natural body of water in Wales so your sure to find a quiet spot to cool off
The Gower also has a beach to suit everyone being home to around 50 unspoilt beaches, coves and bays. Always check the weather and tidal conditions before swimming.
Where’s your favourite spot for a picnic?
Moel Famau Country Park – Moel Famau is part of the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. My favourite picnic spot is the Jubilee Tower right a the top of Moel Famau. A walk to the top is well worth the effort with stunning views across the Vale of Clwyd to Snowdonia and the North Wales Coast www.clwydianrangeaonnb.org.uk
What if I fancy a bit of an adrenaline fix?
Wales has world class mountain biking facilities and they offer fantastic riding for everyone, from families to the world-class racers. Cycle the ‘Afon’ trail at Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau and take in some of the most picturesque sections of the Mawddach River and the old Welsh Gold Mines or visit Coed Llandegla near Wrexham, one of Wales largest mountain biking centres covering 650 hectors (www.mbwales.com)
Where can I find out more about planning an outdoorsy weekend in Wales?