I don’t know if its just me, but walks are great!
I always have fond memories of family holidays that are made while on these walks. The first that always comes to mind is when the whole family were walking about 3 miles to a beach where you could watch the seals play in the crests of the waves and I fell over practically nothing (I am a little bit clumsy on my feet), but seconds later we were all practically wetting ourselves with laughter. Even writing about it now, almost 10 years later, I have a big grin on my face and feel a nostalgia for home.
When I first came to Aberystwyth for an open day at the University, I thought that there would be nothing here, but I quickly found by living here that there is always something to do, if you really want to. There’s always somewhere to really let your ‘inner child’ out and go on an adventure and, with Christmas coming up, you can indulge a little more with a few extra cheese boards.
We are luckily placed in Wales, with easy access to a wide range of walking areas. We have the A44 into the Mid Wales Cambrian Mountains, and the A487 taking you North to Snowdonia National Park and South to a range of walks in Ceredigion itself.
If you have no idea of where to go, these are some of my own favourites.
Ynyslas Sand Dunes
This one is my favourite, mostly because of it being practically on our door step at Searivers Caravan Park. The sand dunes offer the dynamic of sea and land, with a very open feeling and views of the Snowdonia Mountains, the Dyfi Estuary and, of course, out to sea all on the Dyfi: Ynyslas National Nature Reserve. What could be a more perfect way to blow some of the stress of day to day life away?
The main marked trails are shown on the visitor boards. I like to follow the Dune Walk trail that’s around 2 km long. This one you can start from the Park entrance and come back to the park again, but more importantly back to your caravan and a well-deserved cuppa or G&T!
When walking along the beach I find you can wander and stop as you please and make the odd sand castle or rock pile and taking very ‘Instagramable’ photos and family memories along the way!
Cwm Rheidol Reservoir and Falls
This walk is a route around Cwm Rheidol Reservoir and another way to escape and spend quality time with our loved ones, or even by yourself. Only about a 30-minute drive from the parks, you can take in the beauty of Wales, whilst being at the centre of the largest hydropower scheme in England and Wales.
Parking at the visitor centre and Butterfly House you can find the circular route that’s around 4km long on the board in the car park. This takes you up the Rheidol Falls, where I love to just sit, usually with a bit of a picnic, and listen to the water. Then through the trees and back towards the dam, over the bridge and weir, and then to the car park.
Bwlch Nant Yr Arian
This walk is amongst several forest walks through National Resources Wales land. Named the Barcud Trail, it is about 1km around the visitor centre’s lake and about a 30-minute drive from the parks, along the A44 this maybe one for on the way home. Red Kites were once a rare bird of prey, but not here. The centre’s team has been feeding the kites ever since 1999, where they put food out every day, including Christmas (I wonder what they get for Christmas dinner). The times can be found on their website, along with many other updates. The visitor centre has nice café with picturesque views of the Cambrian Mountains and a play area, if you need to little ones to burn off the last of the holiday energy and sleep for the rest of the car journey! Result!
Ceredigion Coastal Path
This is another one right on our door step and being part of the Welsh Coast Path, it is clearly marked for the whole route, so easy to follow. The path offers views out into Cardigan Bay when walking south or the Dyfi Estuary, when waking north. When walking south to Aberystwyth, this is around a 10.5km and takes about 3 hours from Borth, but don’t worry a bus or train back to Borth will give you time to choose what your reward will be, cuppa, glass of wine, cheese... the list is endless.
All a walk may cost you is a map, parking the car and a hot drink for everyone. So, whether it’s just you on your own, you’ve just got the dog or the whole family, I thoroughly recommend getting out and enjoying what our parks can offer… being on the doorstep of the Welsh coast and countryside!
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I was at the NEC in Birmingham recently, representing Searivers Leisure Ltd at the Caravan Show. Wow, that place is massive, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s as big as Ynylas or Borth. There were thousands of people there, all rushing around, all busy, busy, busy. Being from the Mid Wales Coast, I’m not used to seeing so many people, it was quite disconcerting, and I was secretly glad that I did not have to endure this human congestion every day. It made me think how lucky I was to come from where I do.
A really popular resort in West Wales is Borth, which is north of Aberystwyth on the coast. You can walk the sand dunes of nearby Ynyslas. It's an extraordinary place, very mystical. It takes you back to the fundamentals of life. Borth also has an animalarium with meerkats, a black panther and reptiles all looked after by these bohemians. The children will love it!
When visiting somewhere for the first time, it is your right to look dazed and confused, we live with that look, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. You have so many questions going on in your head, things like, have I come to the right place? Are they friendly? What is there to do here? Do I look silly in these new shorts I got in the sale in Burtons? What time does the bar open? Do they serve food? Where is the swimming pool? Is my dog allowed on the beach? How far is the beach and how do I get there? Must I keep tripping over this suitcase? So many questions….