Coed y Brenin Forest
The Coed-y-Brenin Forest, which translates as the Forest of Kings, lies at the heart of the Welsh gold prospecting area and is the oldest and most extensive forest in Wales, containing some spectacular scenery. The forest covers 16,000 acres, (6,480 ha) There are 50 miles of marked tracks, ideal for walking and mountain biking, as well as picnic areas. The forest was renamed from the original Vaughan Forest to celebrate the silver jubilee of King George V in 1935.
There are numerous trails through the forest, but best walk is that from the car park to the bridge to the atmospheric waterfalls of Pistyll Cain and Rhaeadr Mawddach, which lie within two hundred yards of each other are not accessible by road.
A number of rivers flow through the forest including the Afon Mawddach and Afon Wen. Coed-y-Brenin's show trees, are Douglas Firs (Pseudotsuga Menziesii) which are known as the 'King's Guards'. The Douglas Fir was discovered in 1791, in North America's Rocky Mountains by Archibald Menzies. The Scottish explorer, David Douglas sent the first seed back to Britain in 1827. The widest tree in the forest is known as 'the king' and measures 148 feet (45 metres) high, with a diameter of 39 inches (100cm). The tallest tree at Coed-y-Brenin, 'the champion', stands by the Afon Mawddach near Ty'n y Groes stands at a height of 161 feet ( 49 metres) and has a diameter of 32 inches (80cm). Ty'n y Groes has a car park, riverside picnic site, playing field and toilet block. All facilities suitable for the less able.
The Coed y Brenin Forestry Commission Visitor Centre, located just to the north of the village of Ganllwyd, is the focal point of the forest park . The Visitor Centre has exhibits on all areas of interest, the forest wildlife, gold mining and the history of the area. It provides ample car parking, a cafe, toilets and shops. There is a play area with riverside picnic sites next to the centre. Information leaflets are available on a number of family walking trails.
The Afon Mawddach at Coed y Brenin
The forest contains small numbers of fallow and roe deer. Fallow deer live in isolated groups and have the widest variation of coat colour amongst British deer species, with coats ranging from dark brown or black to white, but most commonly are a chestnut colour spotted white. Roe deer are easily identified by their short antlers and head markings, in summer their coats are foxy red, while in winter they turn a grey fawn colour speckled yellow.
The best time to spot deer at Coed-y-Brenin is at dawn or dusk.
Autumn in the Forest
The forest is renowned for its world class mountain bike trails, which range from the 11km fun route to the 20 mile Karrimor route with 1100m of climbing. The famous Red Bull Mountain Bike Course is 11.3km and not suitable for beginners. Coed y Brenin is also home to the Fat Tyre Festival, a celebration of mountain biking.
Take care when mountain biking
*If you intend to go out on the hills or on a lengthy ride consider the following:-
*Inform someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.
*Take food and drink, a first aid kit and a puncture repair kit with you.
*check the weather before starting out.
*Check routes, jumps and technical sections before you attempt them.