The lower, southern slopes, the Coed Cae Fali oak woods, are overseen by the National Trust and are sensitively managed. There is much in the way of flora and fauna, as well as several disused mines and of course, the Ffestiniog railway which curves and climbs ever higher through the trees, often on a Victorian dry stone embankment. We've explored just about every foot of these woods over the years, but were surprised this year to find a family of ducks, roosting in an old water tank.
Further up, over the railway and into the Coed Lyn y Garnedd, a variety of old roads and tracks lead deeper into the hills. You can go east, to Plas Tan-y-Bwlch, west to Penrhyndeudraeth (eventually!) or head north eastwards to Llyn Hafod-y-Llyn and Tan-y-Bwlch. One of our favourite spots is Y Gysgfa (SH642409) a beautiful viewpoint astride a line of crags. The forestry commission has recently felled the woods here, ridding the landscape of tiresome rows of spruce, but keeping the oaks and larches. Once the woodland has recovered and the tracks of the amazing machine that harvests the trees have settled back into the undergrowth, this will be one of the most beautiful spots in Wales. New benches and route markers have been installed, indicating that the woodland has changed use from a purely commercial operation to an amenity resource. Good news for those of us who like to wander aimlessly in the woods!
|Climbing towards Y Gysgfa before the trees were felled.|
|Looking towards Harlech from Y Gysgfa|
|A forgotten trackway above Lyn-y-Garnedd|