Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve

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National Nature Reserves weren’t really a thing in Wales up until 1954.

But then suddenly people started to take notice of certain landscapes, recognising that you don’t often see mountains like those in Snowdonia and tranquil Welsh woodlands every day.

A special title for a special place

So it seems fitting that the first National Nature Reserve in the whole of Wales was Cwm Idwal, because who wouldn’t kick off with one of the most breathtaking environments anywhere to be found in the whole of the UK?

Before you’ve even got out of the car, the rocky mountains and grass-covered hills sweep up from the roadside around you.

The valley floor stretches away, treating you to one of the most scenic car journeys you’re likely to find.

Watch out for the weather

With an environment as rugged and wonderful as Cwm Idwal, the walks around the area can be quite challenging.

Uneven pathways run up steep climbs, and unmarked trails are often rocky and irregular.

Just be sure to dress according to the weather, wear some good walking shoes and bring lots of water, because once your adventure begins – you’re not going to want it to come to an end.

Mountain lakes to find

The landscape seems almost impossible, words simply can’t convey the pure beauty of the area.

It’s hard to cover any distance because most of the time you’ll probably be awe-struck, gazing up and along mountains in stunned silence.

Finally, when you set off again, you'll soon come across the mesmerising Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal).

Sitting at the base of mountains, its waters quietly lap against the shore, reflecting the rocky peaks above.

Your adventure awaits

To experience Cwm Idwal truly, you have to take an adventure there yourself.

You can capture its magnificence in photos and describe it in words, but nothing compares to actually standing amidst its mountains and lakes.

So check out the upcoming weather and clean those walking boots, there’s some exploring to get up to.

Youth Hostels Association,
Idwal Cottage Youth Hostel,
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