Those who love to go walking
in Snowdonia have plenty of great mountain routes to choose from, with lots of scrambling and climbing opportunities to enjoy as well as lofty summits to conquer.
Of course, not everybody wants to be on the mountains all the time and a few low-level walks or bike rides can still reveal plenty of wonderful scenery, not to mention the flora and fauna of the valleys.
The stretch between the villages of Beddgelert and Rhyd-Ddu is one such area. Just like a climb up Snowdon, it could alternatively be made in a narrow-gauge steam train, in this instance the Welsh Highland Railway (WHR). But a new footpath project will now make it possible to make the trip in walking boots
, on horseback or on mountain bikes
- without having to deal with the noise and potential dangers of traffic on the A4085.
Work is starting this week on the path, which starts in a national park authority car park in Rhyd-Ddu, passing around Llyn y Gader and then crossing the old causeway. It passes through Parc y Gader as it carries on south, continuing through the Beddgelert Forest before terminating at another national park authority-owned car park in Beddgelert itself.
Puffs of smoke from the WHR will be a familiar sight as it chugs along, with the path crossing the route several times. With stations in both villages, it can be used to complete a return journey.
The path should be ready for walkers this summer and work will then take place to link up other paths and Forestry Commission tracks.
Director of land management at the national park authority Emyr Williams said: "This path will be an important addition to the economic prosperity of the area, and will also form an important link to the wider scheme of creating a network of trails that will surround Snowdon and eventually form the Snowdon Circuit."
Walkers keen to enjoy a combination of valley and mountain walks can experience some of the best of Snowdonia from the Snowdon Ranger valley. To the north of Rhyd Ddu is the start of the Snowdon Ranger Path to the summit of Wales. To the west is the Nantlle Ridge and the 2,569 ft Moel Hebog overlooks Beddgelert itself.