Beddgelert Forest, near Beddgelert
Huge forest in the heart of Eryri (Snowdonia)...
The oak woodland of Coedydd Maentwrog National Nature Reserve is a remnant of a vast Celtic rainforest that once extended down the western side of Britain and Ireland.
The high rainfall and spray from its steep turbulent streams maintain an almost constant humid environment under the tree canopy, supporting a rare temperate rainforest.
Many of the mosses, liverworts and lichens on the tree trunks and rocks survive only in humid areas and some are so rare that they are of international importance.
The woodland is also a great place for insects which provide food for the bats that roost and breed here, including the rare lesser horseshoe bat.
You can follow a circular walk through the woodland from the Coed Llyn Mair car park or walk to the Tan y Bwlch Station on the Ffestiniog Railway.
There is a lakeside picnic area opposite the car park which is the starting point for longer walking and cycling trails managed by Snowdonia National Park Authority.
The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.
Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails.
Follow the blue waymarkers to climb gradually through the oak woodlands to Tan y Bwlch station.
This station is on the Ffestiniog Railway and has a café with toilets.
Follow the red waymarkers on this circular walk through the ancient oak woodland descending alongside the ravine with views to the stream below.
Look out for the sculptures along the way.
Many of the mosses, liverworts and lichens which adorn the oak tree trunks and rocks here survive only in humid areas – some are so rare that they are of international importance.
The high rainfall and spray from the steep streams means the air remains humid under the shade of the trees – creating globally rare ‘temperate’ rainforests.
Stand near the ravine, where the tree canopy is thicker and a constant spray rises from the stream, and you will immediately feel the greater humidity.
This creates the perfect conditions for a dazzling 200 species of mosses and liverworts and 120 species of lichen, including the large and spectacular lungwort lichen which grows on mature trees.
The woods are also a great place for insects to live in with a staggering 286 different kinds of small moth alone.
This abundance provides food for the many bats that nest here.
On warm summer evenings, if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of the tiny and rare lesser horseshoe bat, hunting high in the woodland canopy.
In summer you may just want to sit in one of the tranquil clearings and wait for the redstarts, pied flycatchers and wood warblers to turn up – the classic ‘upland oakwood’ summer migrants.
Coedydd Maentwrog is a National Nature Reserve.
National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.
There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.
Coedydd Maentwrog is one of six large Meirionnydd Oakwoods which are protected as National Nature Reserves.
These oakwoods are as globally important and as vulnerable as some tropical rainforests and are a remnant of a vast Atlantic ’wildwood’ that once extended down the western side of Britain and Ireland.
Two of the other Meirionnydd Oakwoods may be visited with care:
Dense vegetation and steep access mean that the other three Meirionnydd Oakwoods (Coed Camlyn, Coed Cymerau, and Coed y Rhygen) are not suitable for visitors.
Coedydd Maentwrog is in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park.
Eryri is the largest National Park in Wales and is home to picturesque towns and villages and the highest mountain in Wales.
It is looked after by the Eryri National Park Authority.
For more information about visiting Eryri (Snowdonia) go to the Eryri National Park Authority website.
Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
We may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.
Please always follow any instructions on site and any temporary diversion signs.
Coedydd Maentwrog National Nature Reserve is 7 miles north east of Porthmadog.
It is in the county of Gwynedd.
Coedydd Maentwrog National Nature Reserve is on Ordnance Survey (OS) Explorer map OL18.
The OS grid reference for the Coed Llyn Mair car park is SH 652 413.
Take the A487 from Porthmadog to Maentwrog.
Turn left on to the B4410 at the Oakeley Arms pub and, after about 500 metres, the Coed Llyn Mair car park is on the right.
The nearest mainline railway station is in Penrhyndeudraeth.
For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.
Car parking is free of charge.
Overnight parking is not permitted.
There are no staff at this location.
Contact our customer team for general enquiries during office hours, Monday to Friday.