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Snowdonia National Park (Wales)

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NATIONAL PARK. National Park Officer, Snowdonia National Park Authority, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48 6LF, Wales. Tel: +44 (0)1766 770 274 Fax: +44 (0)1766 771 211. Snowdonia gets it's name from Snowdon - the highest mountain in England / Wales.

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      26.10.2008 23:50
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      I am so glad I live here!

      I was born in the West Midlands and lived there until 2002 when we all moved to Llandudno in North Wales. My husband, Dave, and I bought a large Victorian house and mom and dad came to live with us so that I could be their full time carer.

      We have now sadly lost both of them and Dave and I have moved to a small cottage on the Great Orme here in Llandudno as our old house was far too big for just two of us.

      The view from the front of our cottage is of the sea and the Snowdon Mountains beyond and it got me thinking that it was about time I wrote a review about this beautiful part of the world.

      The Snowdonia National Park stretches from Llandudno in the north to Machynlleth in the south and from the west coast of Wales inland as far as Bala.

      I don't intend to go into minute detail in this review but rather to give you a flavour for the area and its attractions. Where I have written a separate review on a particular subject I will put (R) for your information. I am not touting for reads but if there is something that you are particularly interested in you can take a look.

      Beginning where I live - Llandudno (R) is a typical Victorian seaside resort with two large sweeping bays separated by The Great Orme (R). This is a headland which was formed in prehistoric times and affords some lovely walks with beautiful views. There is a cable car or tram (R) to take you to the top or you can walk if you are fit! There are also some Bronze Age Copper Mines (R) which are well worth a visit too.

      Moving west along the coast we come to the walled town of Conwy with its imposing castle and pretty shops. You can still walk almost all the way round the town on the top of the walls - a really interesting walk I might add.

      West again takes us to Bangor, the home of Bangor University which has quite a well known research facility. The town has an up to date shopping centre and a large out of town shopping areas with a huge Tesco's, B & Q, and Focus DIY etc.

      Caernarfon is next as the coast dips southwards. Again there is a castle well worth a visit and a decent little shopping centre too. You can catch a boat here to cruise along the Menai Straits.

      Staying with the coast we now move directly south from Caernarfon across the base of the Llyn Peninsula, as this does not form part of Snowdonia, to Porthmadoc. This is a pleasant enough little town with a main street of gift shops and a pretty harbour.

      Just outside Porthmadoc is the Italianate village of Portmerion where the 1960's series The Prisoner was filmed. You have to pay to visit Portmerion but it is so unusual I thought it was worth the money although I can't remember now how much we paid!

      As we move south again we find yet another superb castle at Harlech, a traditional seaside town at Barmouth and a small town with lots of caravans at Tywyn.

      Moving inland Machynlleth and Dolgellau are lovely little towns - great if you fancy mooching round some nice gift shops.

      Well, that's the outskirts of the area covered so now we'll move into the main area of the mountains for which Snowdonia is famous.

      The highest of these mountains is of course Mount Snowdon which gives the park its name. Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and the second highest in Great Britain and you can reach the top by climbing up one of the many marked paths or by travelling on the Snowdon Mountain Railway (R) - an amazing ride! By next year the new café at the top of the mountain will be open too.

      The town at the foot of Snowdon is Llanberis - again with some nice gift shops. There is a lake here with a narrow gauge railway along the side and boats to be hired. There is also an amazing place called Electric Mountain (R) where you can go on a tour into the Elidir Mountain to visit the Dinorwig Power Station built inside the mountain.

      Beddgelert is a lovely village in the Snowdonia National Park with some really nice shops and some lovely walks along the river. The home made ice cream shop is not to be missed!

      Blaenau Ffestiniog is the centre of one the main slate mining areas and tours are available into the now disused mines.

      Another really pretty town in the area is Betws y Coed. There are some really nice gift shops here, together with shops selling walking and mountaineering equipment and lots of tea rooms and restaurants.

      Just down the road from Betws y Coed is the famous Swallow Falls which for those of you who don't know is a stunning waterfall and is well worth a visit.

      So there you are, I have described the various places to visit within the Snowdonia National Park but of course the whole area is famous for its outstanding scenery. There are walks for every level of fitness from an amble along a flat path next to the river at Betws y Coed up to a climb up Snowdon or Cader Idris.

      There are rivers and lakes for canoeing and white water rafting via various clubs and activity holidays.

      Obviously I haven't covered everything about the area or you'd be loosing the will to live by now - if you aren't already!

      If you want to find out any more you could always visit www.snowdonia-wales.net which is a really informative website.

      Basically I am saying that my new home is beautiful and is well worth visiting whatever the weather so who needs to go abroad?

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        14.03.2008 12:03
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        A great day out for everyone!

        Snowdonia National Park is, in my opinion, one of the most colourful National Parks in the country, and is as diverse as it is beautiful. Its Headquarters lie in Penrhyndeudraeth, a small town in the southern part of the Park, and like several National Parks, many areas are supported by the National Trust. Snowdonia National Park runs from near Bethesda in the North, to Machynlleth in the South. Snowdonia takes its name from the famous Mountain, Snowdon, which is the highest mountain in Wales, and excluding Scotland, the highest mountain in Britain. It also has one of the wettest climates in Great Britain, helping Wales to maintain its reputation as one of the rainiest places in the world!

        Snowdonia is a national park that caters for everyone. There are beautiful beaches along the coast near Harlech and Barmouth for families and children - very popular with summer holidaymakers; for those who like climbing, both Snowdon and Cadair Idris are excellent places, as well as all the smaller mountain ranges - Carneddau and Glyder in particular. For those who like forest walks, there are *huge* forests around Beddgelert and Betws-y-Coed; coastal paths follow along by Harlech and Barmouth, whilst small villages offer something quaint for those who find themselves physically restricted.

        A huge amount of money is invested in upkeep for the National Parks each year, and the hard work of the National Park Association employees ensures that the beautiful NP surroundings are maintained to the highest standards. Conservation is clearly a number one priority, as well as making sure that visitors and residents alike are given the highest standard of environment.

        The one drawback I've experienced in my many explorations of the Park is the cost of parking my car in the main spots. The majority of places people choose to visit - Snowdon, Beddgelert Betws-y-Coed, etc, cost between £2-£5 to park for the day, which in places where public transport is not viable, can become expensive - paticularly if you're a resident in the area. I think that the government contributions to the running of parks could be a little higher anyway, and perhaps this could reduce or abolish the cost of parking one's car. I've noticed a lot of people choose to park on the main road instead - causing congestion; or the park in residents' areas instead, which is unfair.

        Snowdonia is a stunning place to visit, work, and live, and I implore anyone who's considering a UK based holiday to pay it a visit.

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          09.04.2007 23:49
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          This is a good starting palce for walkers as well as a good place to bike ride with loads of walking shops and the best outdoor shops to collect all the essentials you may need out of the lakes as you will see loads off
          It has loads of walking shops, there you i saw a few good food pubs and tea houses to stop at but thats if you can stop anywere as you will find it hard to park anywere.

          A good place to visit if you dont do the snowdonia mountian pass in the cable car is the swallow falls just out side the betsy coed were you will see a lot of the coenists yes my spelling is rubbish on the river the are good to watch if you can get chance.

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            22.09.2005 19:01
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            A place of timeless beauty.

            Let me take you on a tour through a part of my homeland, the land of the Celts, Wales, I want you to see through my eyes the majestic mountains and gentle valleys, the mountain streams cascading into waterfalls, the spectacular passes with their rugged beauty, heather-clad rolling hills, towering forests and secluded villages all with their own particular charm. Hear through my ears this land of song, the gentle lilting voices that harmonise together with rising crescendo sending shivers down the spine.
            Put the cares of everyday living aside and stand in silence hearing only the babble of water over stones while overhead a lone bird calls to its mate. Lie down on soft grass listening to the swish of the reeds and the whisper of the wind in the trees.
            Now come with me to the mountains where the wind howls constantly sending tiny pebbles bouncing down the sides to the valley below. Fill your lungs with the clear air, let the sun and wind brighten your cheeks with a rosy glow, lift you eyes to heaven for surely this is as near to heaven as you will ever feel.

            This is North Wales and in particular the Snowdonia National park, which totals 823 square miles of the wildest land you will see anyway in the world. A mere 26,000 people live and work in this area of unspoilt beauty some making a bare living from the land others practising crafts handed down through generations. Millions of people visit North Wales every year but the National park stays unchanged by time.
            Looking at the geology its hard to imagine the sheer age of this area, from pre-Cambrian to Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian ages spanning over 400 million years, it makes a person feel like a tiny speck in time. The last Ice age lingered a long while here which still shows in the rocks and crag abundant throughout the land and the formation of rocky gorges through which waterfalls abound. Snowden or Yr Wydffa is the highest mountain at 3,560 feet above sea level, second highest to Ben Nevis in the UK. Not far from here are the three peaks Yr Tryfan, Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach a sombre foreground to the majesty of Snowdon.

            Yet there are far more than just mountains to see and plenty of things to do with about 100 lakes and seventeen nature reserves to castles, beaches, mountain railways, mines, slate quarries, historic houses and gardens, tiny villages, larger towns and working craft centres.
            For the walker, mountain climber or pothole enthusiast choose from beginner to expert with so many places to offer. For families there are seaside resorts, visitor centres and railways to keep the children happy and also to learn a bit about historical sites. Try your hand at etching on slate, pottery throwing, working a loom at the many woollen mills, it’s fun, its reasonably inexpensive and leaves you with a sense of achievement. Anglers’ will be in seventh heaven and mums and children can look around the trout fisheries and feed the fish while the men (or women) are occupied with landing that whooper of a fish.

            The first thing to do is to choose what type of accommodation you need to suit your budget and happily there is so much choice in and around Snowdonia. Caravan and camping sites offer the best value for money and a place to use as a touring base. Choose from Prestatyn or Rhyl, Colwyn Bay or Llandudno and drive along the coast road passing under the tunnel near Colwyn Bay with the road hugging the coastline. Although this is outside of the National Park its near to the main roads to travel into the park. Visit Conway Castle and the Mountain Zoo, cross the Menai straits into Anglesey.

            Try Caernarfon a busy town with its own castle as another base there are plenty of caravan/camping sites around here. Or choose Porthmadog with its many cottages, terraced houses and waterfront flats to stay in. If you can afford a hotel or a B&B Betws-y-Coed is a magical place to stay and the best place to be in the heart of Snowdonia, more later.

            As the mountains dominate the landscape, so the roads have to go through the valleys or the mountain passes so the choice of where to stay or what trips to make are important from the start of your stay. Many places offer discounts on main attractions so it’s worth looking these up. National trust passes are ideal for the many castles or you can buy railway passes as well if you love trains as much as I do this represents a hefty saving. Most caravan sites and hotels will offer savings or will arrange coach excursions for those that don’t want to drive. A car is still the best form of transport if you want to take in most of the sights. There are only about five major roads leading into the mountains so planning is vital to get the most out of the day. These are my own favourite routes. -

            1) From Prestatyn follow the coast road stopping at the picturesque bays on route to Conway Castle. The sea-life centre at Rhyl is well worth a visit and with the castle will take up one day.

            2) From Porthmadog visit the village of Portmeirion overlooking the Borth-y-Gest bay, it’s here that the famous village was made as a setting for an old TV programme, hands up all who remember it? If you have any time left take one of the many railways running from Porthmadog the Ffestiniog Railway will take you into Blaenau Ffestininog where you can see the slate mines which have been producing slate roofs for many centuries now.

            3). From Caernarfon take the route to Llanberis visit the ancient Welsh castle Dolbardon built by the Welsh princes to protect the pass of Llanberis from the English kings. From here the famous Snowden Mountain Railway winds through the mountains eventually reaching the peak of Snowden. Lets stop here a while and discover what makes this so special.
            Built in 1896 this is the only railway in Britain, which uses the rack and pinion system featured mostly in the Alps. It’s a steep climb rising to within 66feet of the summit, which you can walk to on a good day. At times it feels like you are clinging to the mountainside as the old Victorian steam engine chugs slowly to the top. The trip takes up to an hour so check the timetable carefully or end up being exposed to the elements. It’s not cheap (around £12 per person last time I went) but it’s a unique experience not to be missed. On a clear day you see as far as the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. Sadly the summit building is in dire need of restoration and all contributions are welcome.

            Still following the Llanberis pass by car once you reach the top of the pass you can park here and attempt various walks to Snowden something I have never done myself but you really do need to be a seasoned walker to attempt this climb. There is a climbing centre and a Youth Hostel here for the brave (or foolhardy) who wish to attempt the climb.

            4). From the small town of Betwys- y-Coed take the road leading towards Capel Curig stopping on the way to visit the spectacular display of the Swallow falls just out of the town. There is a charge but its reasonable and standing at one of the many viewpoints expect to use up half a roll of film it’s so beautiful and an experience that’s hard to describe. Stop at Capel Curig in one of the little cafes here for a proper Welsh breakfast or a snack by now your appetite will be ravenous so buy some real Welsh cakes to nibble on as you get back in the car and go on to take one of two routes. The first will take you to the top of the Llanberis pass and through magnificent scenery down to the little village of Bethesda and into Bangor with its large shopping centre. Or turn onto the route that takes you through Llanwrst and through the vale of Conwy back to the sea road.

            Betws-y-Coed is worth spending a half day to look around the shops buy hiking boots and woollen goods or just sit on the rocks by the river and drink in the peace and quiet. I stayed here once in an old coaching inn dating back to the 17th century. The choice of rooms were only limited by my budget so I never did get to sleep in a four-poster bed with it’s own spa bath and low-beamed ceilings instead I went for the cheaper but still luxurious room built on an extension at the back but awoke each morning to sound of the river and drawing back the curtains saw a forest of trees as far as the eye could see. Surrounded by mountains there was no TV reception which suited me fine, the cuisine was mouth-watering and late night guests could take a drink from the small bar and use an “honesty “ box, now that’s what I call a welcome.

            5). Another good route is either from Llanrwst or Caernarfon heading towards Beddgelert a tiny village in the heart of Snowdonia. Legend has it that the one and only king of Wales, Llewellyn had his summer camp here deep in the forest and mountains near to Snowden. One morning he left his son in the care of his dog, Gelert while he was out hunting. On his return he found an empty cradle and his dog covered in blood and thinking that the dog had killed his child he slew the dog on the spot. The child was found unharmed but a wolf lay nearby slaughtered by the faithful dog and in a fit of remorse he buried the dog nearby. The grave of “Gelert” stands to this day, possibly just a fragment of imagination but enough to draw visitors to this lovely spot. The drive from Caernarfon is along winding roads following the course of the river along the pass of Aberglaslyn into the village. The famous illustrator of the Rupert Bear comic strips Mr Arthur E Bestall MBE lived here for over forty years drawing inspiration from the surrounding countryside. Beddgelert has been called the loveliest village in the country and I recommend a visit to this delightful place.

            Nearby is the Sygun copper mines where copper was mined until 1903, now restored as a visitor centre the guide will lead you through the mines travelling high up into the mountainside where young children squeezed into the narrow passages where adults could not go. At one point in the tour the guide will extinguish all the lights leaving you to imagine what it must have been like for these youngsters.


            6). For my final route I would choose Trawsfynydd a little further down the National park. I stayed here at a site with log cabins in landscaped gardens offering a lot of privacy. In the mornings my view was that of the distant mountains and the sunrise and sunsets were spectacular. There is a dry ski-slope here and mountain bikes to hire. The restaurant is situated in an old part of a mansion house with little niches to sit in and dine in style on venison, pork, chicken, rabbit, grouse and a good array of vegetarian meals. Just imagine dining here overlooking the mountains or retiring to your own log cabin to sit on the balcony with a takeaway and a bottle of good wine?
            Near to the site is the Coed-y-Brenin Forest with 50 miles of forest trails and wildlife including buzzards, otters, polecats and deer. This is also the home of the welsh gold mines where you can look and drool over the pure welsh white gold bought for many a royal finger but out of my league. From here you can visit Harlech castle and on into Porthmadog or turn further south into Dolgellau to visit a very old town. A short run takes you into Bala with white-water rafting and canoeing. I stayed in Bala as well when I raised funds for Cancer Research totalling £100 for doing a group race down the falls (our whole group raised £1000).

            To really get the most out of your holiday you need two weeks just to do the main sightseeing and still may feel you have only just touched the surface of this special place. It’s hard not to be sidetracked by the many other attractions, it seems like every route passes through an unspoilt village a mill, a stream, a nature reserve, a pottery, a larger town selling good souvenirs of your stay. Over the years I have visited North Wales about seven times and each time I find a new experience, another walk into the wild, another time to reflect on the brief nature of mankind when I sit by a stream, look at the mountains, soar with the eagles and see myself, a humble person in a land where nature is bigger than petty squabbles. I am proud to be one of the race called welsh and urge you to visit and feel some of this glory yourself.

            I could write a poem but what better way to end on a spirit of welcome, a translation of the old song.

            We’ll keep a welcome in the hillsides,
            We’ll keep a welcome in the vales
            This land of song will still be singing
            When you come home again to Wales
            This land of song will keep a welcome
            And with a love that never fails
            We’ll kiss away each hour of Hierith
            When you come home again to Wales.
            (Repeat last two lines). ©

            Hierith is a word, which is so hard to describe, it’s a longing for one’s home, land, family, and it’s a deep sadness in the soul for all those who are away from their homeland and kinfolk. It’s a longing, yearning to be whole again both a sadness and a blessing.

            Thanks for reading
            © Lisa Fuller 2005.

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              09.04.2001 17:19
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              I consider myself an extremely privelaged person. In the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, with views over the breathtaking Irish Sea, there sits a modest (actually its pretty big) 18th Century Farmhouse. With the closest neighbour a 20 minute drive away (due to the endless stream of gates) and the ominous peak of Cader Idris looming behind you, you could be forgiven for thinking you had found Nirvana. Owned by my Girlfriends parents, this remote retreat is used as a base to discover (and Re-discover!) the fantastic scenery and wildlife that this beautiful part of the country contains. I will explain a little about the surrounding towns and what there is to do: DOLGELLAU (pronounced: Dog-Eth-Lee {although God knows why!}): A small town which consists of a few pubs (friendly atmospheres), Hotels (fairly cheap), Shops (Kwik Save, Co-op, Boots, an excellent hardware store run by 2 old ladies, a fantastic little shop which sells small gifts and things called 'Francesca's', post office etc.). The main attraction in Dolgellau is the market which happens twice a year, to be honest its all old tat, but still worth a look! The BEST thing about Dolgellau is the bakers (on the one-way, opposite Threshers Off-License) which sells THE most amazing Honey Buns - Do try these! CADER IDRIS One of the highest peaks in the country, walk (or run!) to the top and be rewarded by fantastic views from all angles. CREGENNAN LAKES With Cader Idris looming to one side, and the estuary and Irish Sea to the other, the two Lakes enjoy beautiful views. You can fish for Trout here for about £15 for the day. Unless you are as useless as me at Fly/Float fishing, you will definitely catch a few! Rods and Tackle available for a small fee. FAIRBOURNE A small town with a few shops and little in the way of night life! Fairbourne has a Train Station plus a miniature railway which tak
              es you along the beach front (it is beautiful golden sand when the tide is out!) to the mouth of the estuary. This miniature railway also boast the longest name for a railway station (not to be confused with the Llan diddly gogogoch one - its longer!). In the summer you can also take a little ferry (rowing boat with a motor!) over to: BARMOUTH The biggest town in the area, a real sea side holiday town with excellent restaurants, hotels, gift shops and amusements for the kids. There are all the shops that you could need plus a Doctors Surgery if anyone gets ill. Based around a fishing village, there are still a few chartered and public trips out by boat. Fishing trips are about £20 per person for 6 hours fishing - Very good value! For those who don't wish to venture on to the unpredictable Irish Sea, you can fish for Crabs at the side of the Bay for about £5 an hour! There is also a railway bridge which can be fished off for 2 hours either side of the tide. Using either Lugworm (looks like licqourice) or Sand eels (make sure you secure them on the hook properly) you can more or less guarantee a good sized Sea Bass - which cook up GREAT! Barmouth offers a fairly good night life too, being a preferred holiday destination for the inhabitants of Birmingham, they offer a range of clubs and pubs. WHAT ELSE? The main thing to do in this area is walk. There are some fantastic walks to do ranging from the mild, easy and non-energetic (the 'Torrent Walk' is my GF's fave - it is an easy walk down a stony path past breathtaking water falls) to the more energetic, but rewarding (a nice jog up Cader gets the heart pumping and sets you up for a nice walk down!) I would recommend a holiday here to anyone that likes to do outdoor things. If you want sun and sand, you may well get lucky! See you all at the top of Cader, last one up is a Welshman..... ;o)

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                26.03.2001 23:00
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                Snowdonia. Whether you are just driving through or climbing to the top of Snowdon, you cannot deny the fact that this is one of the most breathtaking areas of natural beauty in Britain on par with the Scottish Highlands. It is really something you have to experience for yourself as it is difficult to find words to describe such a place. Photographs cannot even do justice to the spectacular panoramic views of undamaged wilderness in this secluded area of North Wales. Even the air is different here. There is a real sense of what Britain's green and pleasant lands used to look like before urbanisation. Obviously, not mountains, but rolling fields, woodlands, animals and birds in a natural environment. Snowdonia is perfect for escaping chaos and recovering the soul. If you enjoy hustle, bustle and plenty of action though, you are bound to be disappointed as peace and traquility are the only things on the menu here. Visitors are encouraged to climb Mount Snowdon and the information centre and gift shop at the base provide maps of different trails with average times for ascent and descent, and the effort required to climb at different inclinations around the mountain. At the summit, although only open in season, is a cafe, shop and other necessary facilities such as toilets. If you go out of season, I'm afraid that you'll have to pop behind some rocks to relieve yourself! But the effort whenever you go in the year is definitely worth it. For those who do not want to walk, or are not able to walk, there is the Snowdon Mountain railway which for a small charge, will take you up and down the mountain in their old-fashioned steam train, along the track used by miners and when thay built the facilities at the summit. For my grandmother's 80th birthday, we took her to the summit by train, so anyone can enjoy Snowdon at any age. There is the option to take the train up and walk back down or vice versa if
                you choose, although there is much more satisfaction in having climbed up yourself! Betws-y-coed If you choose to stay in the area there is a lovely little village a few miles east of Snowdon called Betws-y-coed just off of the A5. There are quite a few pleasant guest-houses there with friendly owners. From my own experience, I would recommend a B&B called Bod Hyfred in Betws-y-coed. The owners are a lovely, warm and friendly couple, the rooms are comfortable and the food is excellent. Swallow Falls There is a large river running through this small country village, and if you follow this river a mile up the road, you come to a small attraction called Swallow Falls. It is a breathtaking, natural waterfall set amongst woodland. For a charge of £1 (which pays for the upkeep of the area), you can go right in and see the falls at close range. Steps and a viewing area have been cut into the bank of the river right next to the fall and you can sit and dream for as long as you want. Natural features are always the most stunning, and this is the perfect place to say goodbye to the area if you are leaving. Snowdonia and its' surroundings is an incredible place that really has to be seen to be appreciated to the full extent of its beauty. I wouldn't recommend this place to families with very young children unless the little ones are docile and somewhat interested in looking at scenery and mountains. It will leave you with the most incredible memories, and to most people I have met who have been there, it is a little piece of perfection that you'll hold in the sentimental side of you, and definitely want to visit again.

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                  07.11.2000 22:47
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                  The Snowdonia National Park has some of the most beautiful and breath-taking scenery in England and Wales. You can walk on the moors, sail on a mountain lake, explore the numerous copper mines and even cycle for miles on safe cycle routes. What's more you can enjoy the wildlife and beauty when doing it. The Snowdonia National Park Authority works with local landowners, to look after the area, but at the same time, they allow visitors to visit and enjoy this area of out-standing natural beauty, without spoiling the area. The National Park stretches 840 square miles, which includes sandy beaches, forests and mountains. The main attraction though has to be the mountain it's self. Snowdon stands 1,085 metres above sea level making it the highest peak in England and Wales. If you do visit Snowdonia don't forget to ride the Snowdon Mountain Railway, the little train runs at regular intervals from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon. If you're lucky enough to ride it on a fine sunny day, the views are just magnificent. In the same area, there is also a twin lake at the foot of Snowdon with a massive carpark. The more energetic can go hiking along the various trails. The less energetic can enjoy a picnic by the lake side, then take a leisurely drive along the Llanberis pass, which climbs for miles. The road has sheer cliffs on either side and it's just out of this world. There is so much to do in Snowdonia you won't be able to fit it all in. Why not visit Conwy Bay or Anglesey. Both have clean beaches, with all the usual sea side shops and attractions. Also try to visit a castle whilst there, I would recommend Conwy castle it's a mighty 13th century castle situated above the estuary. This is an excellent day out, which the kids will love. I could go on and on about the numerous things to do, but it would take forever. But as a rough guide, some of the best attractions are the Angles
                  ey Sea Zoo, Ffestiniog Railway, Llandudno Museum, Sygun Copper Mine and King Arthur's Labyrinth. There is plenty of good accommodation in North Wales, ranging from small B&B's to Country cottages. I stayed at a very nice caravan park called Ogwen Bank Country Park. It's situated in Bethesda, Bangor, which is only a few minutes drive to Snowdonia. The park is set in 12 acres of woodland, so you can explore many trails on foot from here. The rates are very reasonable; it cost me about £50 for two adults and a dog, for a 4-day break. The park is also very dog and child friendly. If you do fancy doing something different why not visit North Wales, I can assure you, you won't be disappointed. If you want further information why not check out the areas website on www.gwynedd.gov.uk This site will give you information on the area. Also try the website for the Conwy area this is www.conwy.gov.uk

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                    30.09.2000 19:17
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                    One of my favourite pastimes is walking and scrambling, and I regularly pay a visit to the Lake District because it's so easy to get to. But every so often I go to Snowdonia for tougher walks. Snowdonia offers more challenges than the Lakes, like the ridges of Tryfan (try the north ridge in pouring rain and mist! Great fun), the tough climbs up Cadair Idris and the Crib Goch ridge to Snowdon. I have to say though, as a walker, Snowdon itself has been ruined by the café. It's a mountain, not a tourist attraction. When you get to the summit and see a cafe/pub/restraunt there with hundreds of people swarming around it, it somehow doesn't look right. But not to worry, there's plenty more mountains there to climb. And like the Lakes, Snowdonia does offer some easier strolling, although not as much.

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                    26.08.2000 20:47
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                    Living and working in Birmingham has advantages. It must be one of the best cities in the UK to leave. In less than three hours I can be in the Lake District or North Wales, and in a little more than an hour more, in Cornwall. Snowdonia is where I usually go for day trips or weekend visits to escape the urban environment, and the journey by motorbike is fine, once West of Shrewsbury. Once in the Snowdonia National Park, I usually camp in the Ogwen valley, surrounded by 3000 foot hills and not much else. The best time to visit Wales is Wednesdays, because most of it is shut, and therefore not heaving with visitors. On arrival I find that the pressures of city life soon melt, and I can commune with nature in its raw state, a feeling reinforced by my preferred campsite - facilities are a loo and a cold water tap - what more do you need? If showers and stuff were added, not only would it attract many more visitors, but I would find that my weekend break under canvas would cost me more than three pounds for two nights - no thanks.

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                      25.08.2000 18:33
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                      This is a great little place, and a good starting place for walkers. It has loads of walking shops, and has the best collection of kit ouside of the Lakes. There a few good pubs and tea houses. There is a fast running river through it, which cascades over rocks in the centre of the village, and you can jump from rock to rock and generally act like a kid. There is also the Swallow Falls further out of the village, that are particularly good after a dose of rain. Lots of canoeists came up to this point, and generally there is an atmosphere of outdoor sports.

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