Spending more time outside is something every member of the family can enjoy. The benefits of fresh air and beautiful surroundings can be appreciated by everyone, from the tiniest tot to the most senior member of the family.Snowdonia Mountains and Coast is a wonderful destination for families – especially families that want to enjoy the great outdoors. There’s an abundance of beautiful outdoor space and fascinating wildlife habitats, from forests and mountains to rivers and beaches.We’ve picked five parts of Snowdonia that are ideal for family walks. Common features of our choices include ease of accessibility for pushchairs and wheelchairs, and additional activities to keep children entertained.Coed y Brenin Forest ParkCoed y Brenin Forest Park, Dolgellau, has recently benefited from a £1.7m investment in an extension of its mountain biking centre.But there’s much more to do at Coed y Brenin than mountain biking; it’s also a fantastic place for a family walk, and there’s an excellent adventure playground for younger members of your group to explore.There are accessible toilets and baby changing facilities, as well as an information point and a shop.The walking trails include those that are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, so the whole family can join in the fun; and you can take the fun to another level with the animal puzzle trail or a spot of orienteering.BalaThe whole town of Bala is part of the ‘Walkers are Welcome’ scheme. The town has special ‘all ability trails’ that combine great lake and mountain views with mostly flat, hard surfaces, ensuring their suitability for wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility scooters (though after wet weather some surfaces may be less accessible). In some cases a RADAR key is required – see gobala.org for details.
For children, there are two additional fun trails around the town: ‘Llyn Tegid Eels’, a paper trail for children old enough to hold a pencil; and the Tegi Bach Treasure Hunt, a family activity to help families discover more about Bala. Details of these trails are available from the Bala Tourist Information Centre, or can be downloaded from gobala.org.Older children may also enjoy some of Bala’s ‘scenic trails’, which include a circular walk around Bala and the Mary Jones Walk, which follows in the footsteps of a 15 year old girl who in the year 1800 walked 28 miles barefoot in order to buy a bible – an inspirational story indeed for young people in modern times!Dinas DinlleOff to the beach for our next walk – but Dinas Dinlle is more than just a beach! Just outside Caernarfon, Dinas Dinlle is a small coastal village practically sitting on the beach. All year round it’s popular with visitors and locals alike; on hot days listen to the conversation around you, as a lot of it will be in Welsh while local people enjoy the good weather alongside holidaymakers.The beach is sandy with a stony upper tier topped by a long promenade – ideal for prams, mobility scooters and wheelchairs. When the tide is out this is a great beach for bathing and sandcastles, and there are rock pools to rummage in too (you can pick up a shrimping net from one of the little village shops, which also sell other beach essentials like buckets and spades, inflatables and the like). There’s an excellent fish and chip shop and an equally excellent ice cream parlour, so if you didn’t bring a packed lunch nobody will go hungry.At one end of the prom looms the Iron Age hill fort, which older children will enjoy exploring; at the foot of this, near the public lavatories, there’s a children’s playground with swings and other play equipment. At the prom’s other end are an air museum and small airport, where a pleasure trip in a plane or helicopter is a popular way to see local landmarks like Puffin Island, Caernarfon Castle and Snowdon from above.Padarn Country ParkThere’s a lot to see and do at Padarn Country Park in Llanberis. Not all of it is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, but the Kingfisher Trail in particular is very accessible and well worth a visit if you have a toddler in tow.The Quarry Hospital is very popular with children that have reached that ‘gruesome’ phase; it’s a faithful reproduction of a Victorian quarryman’s hospital, including surgical instruments and an original X-ray machine. Entry is free, so if your family is large you’ll appreciate the savings!The woodlands at Padarn Country Park are home to sessile oaks which in spring are home to the caterpillars of the mottled umber moth; once they’ve finished feeding, in July, the trees grow a second burst of foliage to compensate for the damage the caterpillars cause.
The Padarn Lake Circular Walk is excellent for younger visitors as it’s moderately easy and mostly follows well-made paths and quiet country roads. There’s also a nature trail through the woodlands.The industrial archaeology at the park is fascinating for older children, and there’s a lot going on in the way of adventure activities too – a great way to keep older children and teenagers occupied!BarmouthBarmouth, on Cardigan Bay, epitomises all that’s great about the British seaside. It’s Southern Snowdonia’s most popular seaside resort, and it’s easy to see why.The beach is outstanding: it’s sandy, and it’s huge, and it has dunes – but there’s good disabled access to the beach too, so nobody needs to feel left out.If you’d rather admire the sand without walking on it, there’s a promenade as well as a harbour; and on the quayside there are additional attractions (known collectively as ‘on the quay at Barmouth’) which include Ty Crwn, Ty Gwyn and the Sailors’ Institute.Barmouth has all the other amenities you’d expect from a good seaside resort – shops, cafes, amusements and entertainment – but the attraction that kids seem to love most of all is the small funfair… no surprises there!Whether you’re walking on the beach, on the promenade, or among the striking scenery of the Mawddach Estuary which opens into the beach at Barmouth, this little resort is one of the most fun places to take a family walk in Snowdonia, so why not give it a try?