This week we had booked ourselves a little holibob in North Wales, Bodfari in Denbighshire to be exact, as it has been over 2 years since we last had a proper break away from home. We had booked ourselves a nice cottage situated in the picturesque Clwyd Valley. Arriving early evening on the Saturday our first evening there was spent getting organised and relaxing from the long journey from Essex. On the Sunday Sharon fancied just chilling in the cottage but I was eager to explore so I packed up my rucksack, chucked it in the back of the car and poodled up the road to have a wee looksie at some of the large hills that were literally across the road from where we were staying.
In less than a mile there was a small turning of to the left which pointed in the direction of the closest hill so I thought I would have a little drive along there to see what I could find. Now anyone who has been lucky, or unlucky, enough to have been a passenger in one of vehicles will know that I love making detours and taking the ‘scenic route’ to my destination, especially if that route happens to be a pretty little countryside lane meandering across our green lands. Well the lane I had decided to drive up quickly turned into one of the tightest, prettiest lanes I have ever driven along. Not only did it have a beautiful high screen of various trees and bushes growing along its verges but it was also gaining in altitude at a rather rapid rate. After a couple of miles the vegetation started to thin out and I could see that was actually best part of the way up one of the Clwyd Valley hills, which one I am not too sure off. I carried on a little further until the road turned into a rough track and decided that was about as far as I should venture in the Missus car. The views we’re amazing from this high vantage point and I kick myself regularly that I did not take more pictures whilst I was there. After being amazed at this view i proceeded to retrace my tracks and head back down to the main road, the journey down was even better than the way up as I could see more of the surrounding countryside.
Trundling back along the main road, which by the way hardly had any vehicles on it, I soon came to a small roundabout and just as I was about to go across it I spotted a small sign saying ‘country park’ pointing to the left turn so I quickly changed my mind and headed in the direction the sign pointed. After a couple of miles I was driving through a wooded valley area slowly getting higher and higher. In no time at all I saw the sign that I was looking for and pulled into the small gravel carpark of Coed Llangwyfan. As i got out the car I could see a signboard with a little information about the local area and also that there was a short 2 mile track which lead through the park and back again to the car park so I quickly threw my pack onto my shoulders and set of along the clearly marked gravel track.
The track I was walking was literally on the side of this ridiculously high hill, on one side towered tall pine trees as they grew on steep hillside whilst on the other side of the track you had maybe 10 foot of undergrowth then a very steep slope running down into more stands of pine, it was jaw droopingly beautiful. Every so often there was a break in the trees which allowed you the chance to gaze across the valley to the next hill and more further away. I had never walked through such a beautiful park and I just did not know where to look next. At the base of some of the trees grew various mushrooms which obviously peeked my interest but then I would would around a corner and be confronted by an amazing view across the Clwyd valley.
Every step I took there was something interesting to see, stunning views, different plants, fabulous fungi and I even saw a couple of buzzards soaring high in the distance, it was a truly amazing experience. Before long the path started to lead down the hill and the trees started to get denser which restricted the views of the surrounding countryside. This did not actually bother me too much as due to the trees being denser it was also mush shadier which in turn meant it was a lot cooler and more pleasant to walk in. I forgot to mention that it was a sunny day with the temperature being in the mid twenties, not my ideal temperature range to be walking in as I prefer it a lot cooler than that. Soon the track starting to level then start to go back up the hill before it turned into a steep narrow grassed pathway which lead back to the car park. This short section of the walk was an absolute killer for me as although I do a lot of walking it is mainly in Essex and primarilarly on fairly flat ground. This steep track showed me how unfit I actually was and was also an eye opener as I had hoped to hike to the top of one these big hills and this proved that I would struggle big time to do so.
Eventually I made it to the top of the track and proceeded to stagger across the gravel to my car a heavy breathing, fat, bald, sweaty mess and throw myself inside and turn the air conditioning on to max whilst I waited for my heart rate to drop back to normal. Although my heart was trying its best to beat right out of my chest I had enjoyed every footstep of this little hike and could not wait to see what else Wales had to show me in the coming week.