Trawsfynydd Lake, the third largest lake in Wales, nestles snugly in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, a place renowned for its lush greenery, rugged mountains, and fascinating history. You can reach this wonder from cities like Manchester and Liverpool in about two hours, driving through the motorway M56 and the A494. If you prefer public transport, the nearest railway station is at Blaenau Ffestiniog, a mere 20-minute taxi ride away from the lake.
The journey to Trawsfynydd Lake is as mesmerising as the destination itself. En route, you’ll traverse through quaint villages, cross ancient stone bridges, and get a glimpse of the idyllic Welsh countryside. The nearby town of Trawsfynydd, brimming with charm, is worth a detour to soak in the local culture and history.
At the lake, you’ll be greeted by the majesty of its tranquil waters surrounded by the rugged peaks of Rhinog and Arenig. The man-made lake was initially created to cool the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, a striking landmark that is no longer operational but stands as a testament to Wales’s industrial history.
Walking enthusiasts are in for a treat with several trails on offer. One of the most popular routes is the 14-mile Trawsfynydd Lake Circular Walk that circumvents the entire lake. This trail, gently undulating, is perfect for a leisurely stroll, with frequent sightings of local wildlife like herons, red kites, and, if you’re lucky, even the elusive otter.
An interesting detour from this trail takes you to the Bronaber Rhiw Goch fort. This Iron Age hill fort offers a panoramic view of the lake and the stunning landscape. If you prefer a shorter walk, the Foel Cwm Sian Llŵyd walk is a four-mile route starting from the village of Trawsfynydd that takes you up a small hill with fantastic vistas of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
For those interested in history, the nearby Bryn Cader Faner is a must-visit. This Bronze Age stone circle, also known as the ‘Crown of Thorns’, is a mystifying sight. The thin, sharp stones protruding from the ground like a crown make it one of the most beautiful and intriguing historical landmarks in Wales.
Fun fact: Trawsfynydd is the birthplace of Hedd Wyn, the renowned Welsh-language poet. His home, Yr Ysgwrn, is now a heritage site, maintained to honour the poet and his contributions to Welsh culture. A short jaunt to this beautiful farmhouse gives you an intimate glimpse into the poet’s life and work.
Trawsfynydd Lake is not just about history and walking trails. It’s also an angler’s paradise. The lake, stocked with rainbow and brown trout, offers fishing opportunities all year round. For those who prefer non-angling water activities, the lake provides facilities for sailing and windsurfing.
Despite all these attractions, Trawsfynydd Lake remains an underrated spot in Snowdonia. Its serene charm and captivating beauty deserve more attention. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an outdoor adventure, Trawsfynydd Lake offers both in abundance, coupled with a generous dose of history and culture.
So next time you’re planning a trip, consider Trawsfynydd Lake. It’s a place where you can escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, immerse yourself in nature, and step back in time.