Autumn has finally arrived in my little part of the world. It’s one of my favourite times of the year, only matched by Spring.
Autumn for me is when colour really comes into the landscape. Sure Spring has a lot to offer but the beautiful reds, yellows and oranges of Autumn far surpass anything produced by Spring. Where better to see it than they Gwydyr Forest which is located in Conwy county borough and the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. It takes its name from the ancient Gwydir Estate, established by the John Wynn family of Gwydir Castle, which owned this area.
Occupying an undulating plateau and reaching to between 700 and 1,000 feet (210 and 300 m) above sea level, the forest is divided by the valleys of the rivers Llugwy, Lledr, and Machno, all of which are tributaries of the River Conwy.
Within the forest there are numerous lakes including Llyn Geirionydd which lies in a valley where the northern edge of the Gwydyr Forest meets the lower slopes of the Carneddau mountains.
Llyn Geirionydd is the only stretch of water in Snowdonia where it is permitted to use power boats or water ski. In all the times I have visited I’ve only ever seen these canoes on the lake.
The lake can be reached by car from Trefriw or Llanrwst in the Conwy valley, the lane passing through the hamlet of Llanrhychwyn, or from the road through the Gwydyr Forest. Access is not particularly easy by either route.
On a small hill overlooking Llyn Geirionydd stands the Taliesin Monument, which commemorates the sixth century Welsh bard, Taliesin (c. 534 – c. 599), the earliest poet of the Welsh language whose work has survived. He was chief bard in the courts of at least three kings of Britain, and is associated with the Book of Taliesin, a text from the tenth century containing his poems. He lived in the area, mainly on the shores of Llyn Geirionydd, where he is also stated to be buried.
Descending from Llyn Geirionydd, heading for Llanwrst and Betwys-y-Coed (don’t you just love the Welsh place names, I know I do), I came across this newly formed lake. It wasn’t there in the summer but now that the rains are starting to fall it has appeared. Seemed like a good photo opportunity……too good to miss.
Betws-y-Coed was founded around a monastery in the late sixth century. The village lies in the Snowdonia National Park, in a valley near the point where the River Conwy is joined by the River Llugwy and the River Lledr.
In the centre of the village the Pont-y-Pair Falls cascade over rocks and under a bridge, best time to see the falls is after rain and on a fine day.
Now the good thing about these falls is they are free to view. There’s a small car-park nearby (50 pence/1 Hour) which gets busy at the weekend, so if you can, visit during the week.
Just a little upstream from the falls there is a small picnic area where you can sit and watch the river pick up speed as it heads towards the falls.
This will probably be my last landscape photography post for a while. Over the next few weeks I will be concentrating on trying to perfect my bird photography technique, something I really need to improve. I’ll also be working on resurrecting my digital artwork, incorporating some of my photographs and stock images, through the medium of Photoshop.