Llyn Mair is a beautiful lake nestled within the Vale of Ffestiniog, serving as a prime example of the dramatic countryside Wales is renowned for. Located between Maentwrog and Rhyd, it's said to have been created by Victorian era slate baron WE Oakley as a birthday gift for his daughter, Mair. The lake is surrounded by mixed woodland that forms part of the very extensive western Oakwood that comprises much of Coedydd Maentwrog, a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
Coed Llyn Mair nature reserve makes up the largest section of Coedydd Maentwrog, extending across the valley's northern slopes from Llyn Mair up to and around the Ffestiniog Railway's station at Tan-y-Bwlch. A relaxing train ride through the woodland provides spectacular vistas of the landscape, along with an excellent impression of the habitat.
Llyn Mair enjoys a wealth of wildlife, with frequenting bird species such as Heron, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail and Osprey, as well as insects including Damselfly and Dragonfly. Over the winter season, the lake is a magnet for diving and dabbling wild ducks and during the summer, water lilies are a striking sight to behold.
Venture along the nearby Coed Llyn Mair nature trail as it winds up through the adjacent Maentwrog woodland, and you will observe ancient Sessile Oaks growing on steep rocky ground bedded within the thinnest of soils. A deep gorge runs through the trees and the prevailing humidity supports a luxuriant growth of mosses, liverworts, lichens and ferns. Away from the gorge, the ground flora is dominated by grasses, mainly bents and fescues. Spring and summer is an excellent time to spot breeding birds in the woodland, like Redstart, Wood Warbler, Nuthatch, Pied Flycatcher, Raven and Buzzard. Mammals include Otter, Fox and Badger. Notably the Lesser Horseshoe Bat has its European stronghold here.
Picnic tables abound throughout the area, with lakeside picnic benches an ideal place for lunch. Llyn Mair is a useful starting point for a ramble through the oak woodlands along clearly marked public footpaths. The Coed Llyn Mair nature trail runs for some 400 metres, ascending quite steeply over a series of steps to Tan y Bwlch train station. A small car park is situated at the entrance of Coed Llyn Mair, alongside the B4410 north of the A487, while there are also some parking spaces at Tan y Bwlch station, where you will find toilets, a café and picnic site.
|Llyn Mair is a particularly special wildlife area as it part of the Snowdonia Centre of Excellence. This is a is a £4 million project creating and developing the best outdoor adventure opportunities the sector can offer through four key sites.
These four outdoor activity centres include Antur Stiniog downhill mountain bike trails, Coed y Brenin mountain bike centre, Glan Llyn multi activity centre and Prysor Angling at Llyn Trawsfynydd. The project is nearing completion and some exciting developments have been happening at each of the four sites. Click here
to find out more.