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Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian Forest Recreation Centre (Wales)

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Forest recreation and visitor centre located in Aberystwyth in Wales.

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      18.12.2009 01:58
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      Great exercise, and you see the kites

      Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian is an outdoor recreation centre run by Forestry Commission Wales. It's located about 10 miles inland from Aberystwyth, just off the A44. The name means "Silver Stream Pass", a reference to the silver that was once mined in the area. [There is a former silver-lead mine about a mile further along the A44 at Llywernog, which is also worth a visit.] Entrance is free, though car parking is £1.50 per day. The facilities at Nant-yr-Arian include three signposted walks through the forests, ranging in length from 1.2km to 5km. The shortest walk is suitable for wheelchairs. I would particularly recommend you take of the two longer routes, though, as they both include a spectacular view along the ridge top. The car park is always busy with people loading and unloading their cars with mountain bikes. The three walks are mirrored by three cycle trails, at 9km, 16km and 35km in length. Not being a cyclist, I've not used these, but enthusiasts travel from far and wide to get here. The visitor centre - apart from providing hot meals and drinks - has excellent showering facilities [for both riders and bikes!]. There are also two play areas for children, catering for differing age groups. At weekends, an RSPB hut is manned with enthusiastic volunteers who will help you spot the various birds that inhabit the forest and its lake. If you do visit the site, try to time your stay to include 2.00 pm [winter, or 3.00 pm summer] as this is the time that the Red Kites are fed. Kites are no longer as scarce as they were even 15 years ago, but the site of about 80-100 circling and diving for food is quite spectacular.

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