Llyn Brenig reservoir is a stunning place for you and your family to walk or cycle in north Wales. Located in Cerrigydrudion, Conwy the lake offers beautiful scenery, multiple trails, fishing and boat hire as well as a very good visitor centre, making it a great destination for a mini adventure.
It always surprises me when we visit Llyn Brenig just how quiet it is. In fact, it’s possible to walk a good few miles on one of the many trails without bumping into another soul. This is probably one of the reasons why you have a decent chance of spotting a variety of wildlife there. Deer and otters, grouse and buzzards, and red squirrels and badgers can all be found on this beautiful landscape. If you’re really lucky you may even catch an osprey hunting the lake for fish, so a great idea is to take a wildlife spotting card with you for your critters. They’ll really enjoy filling it in and it’ll also distract them from just how far they are walking, which often results in a very quiet car journey home. Perfect!
The reservoir itself is surrounded by stunning moorland, most of which is part of the Mynydd Hiraethog Site of Special Scientific Interest. And with good reason. From Bronze age burial grounds to 16th Century farmhouse remnants, the trails really do offer you a glimpse into the rich heritage of this particular corner of north Wales. Again, whether you do your research beforehand and go prepared, or collect some information leaflets and sheets from the visitor centre before you begin your walk or ride, you can seamlessly intertwine your energetic outdoor family adventure with some historical learning for you and your kids along the way.
There are multiple trails to choose from at Llyn Brenig all of which are waymarked making them great for families who want a taster of the outdoors but who haven’t committed enough to it yet to map read (although maps are available from the visitor centre for those that want them). Despite having a few short, steep sections, most of the trails are also fairly flat and well maintained which makes them suitable for early walkers and riders. As a result, in terms of gear, trail shoes or trail runners are the order of the day as heavy boots will just be overkill on this particular terrain. However, if you’re taking on one of the longer tracks just ensure that your day pack is stuffed with all of your usual hiking gear as the weather is notoriously changeable in north Wales.
Some trails, like the Elorgarreg Trail (5 miles) offer more uneven ground and rough terrain making them a better challenge for older critters. Overall, however, the major factor that really distinguishes trail difficulty at Llyn Brenig is length. The shorter trails, such as the 2 mile Forest Trail or 2.5 mile Dam Trail, are great introductory tracks dotted with the odd picnic table should you wish to sit and relax with your clan by the lake. However, the longer Brenig Trail and Circular Trail (both about 9.5 miles in length) offer a challenge for the more outdoor experienced and energetic families amongst you. For those of you that wish to cycle around the lake bikes can hired onsite but you’re advised to pre-book, particularly at weekends and busy periods. To further confirm their family friendly status you can also hire bike trailers for young children whose little legs haven’t got much peddling in them just yet.
The visitor centre has the obligatory café which serves up your usual array of foodie treats including a great Welsh favourite the Bara Brith cake. It also has some truly lovely views over the lake to reward yourself with after a day of outdoor exertions. Adjacent to the visitor centre there is an adventure playground for children to occupy them while you sip a well-earned brew, although I can’t help but think if Jesse still has the energy to muck about on that he’s conned me by staying in the carrier too long! Last but not least, all of this is yours for the measly fee of a £2 car park charge. So what are you waiting for? Get outdoors!