It is the peaks of Snowdon itselfthat draw the crowds, helped by the easy ascent offered by an obliging train.Around 350,000 people walk, climb or take the train to the 1085m summit eachyear to take in the splendid views and clear those cobwebs once and for all.The ascent of Snowdon may seem more like a beanothan a serious walker’s solitary struggle against the elements, but that is allpart of its allure and charm.
Despite the number of tourists Snowdonstill retains something of its ancient mythic grandeur. It was here that locallegend states a giant known as Rita Gawr was slain by King Arthur. His remainsare yet to be found at their supposed burial place on the summit.
The park itself is so much more than its namesake,however. Clinging to the northwest of Wales it incorporates some delightfultowns, historic ruins, a stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, running riversand placid lakes in the 35 miles it stretches from east to west and 50 miles itcovers from north to south.
Within the natural splendour you can find somefairly sizeable towns, so there is plenty of opportunity to stay in a hotel inthe heart of the Park itself. Balla,Dolgellau,Harlechand Betws-y-Coedall offer a range of places for visitors to stay from spa hotels to comfortableguesthouses. You’ll have all the modern comforts and dining options you need tospoil yourself yet still be in easy access of the wide open spaces and fieldsdotted with sheep and cattle.
For information on things to do during your staykeep your eye out for the park authority’s free annual visitor newspaper whichincludes details on getting around, organised events such as group walks and otheractivities for young and old alike.
The park attractsover 6 million visitors each year making it the third most visited nationalpark in England and Wales. The northernmost area is the most popular, includingas it goes, Snowdon (surprise, surprise). Thoselooking to escape the crowds, yet still get in some mountain walking, shouldhead for the area around the Rhinogydd in the west.
The park's coastline is a Special Area ofConservation and includes rolling sand dunes that are great for exploring andtumbling down. Further inland nature lovers can look out for rare mammals suchas otters and polecats, and birds such as ravens, peregrines, ospreys and the redkite.
With its wildlife, walking, beaches, lakes andmountains complemented by some wonderful places to stay the SnowdoniaNational Park has a little something for everyone.
Now, let’s see if you will walk up Snowdonand forget the train!