North Wales

Alwen Reservoir

Alwen Reservoir is the largest manmade reservoir in Wales at 5km long and lies in the borough of Conwy, surrounded by stunning forest and the heather moorland of Mynydd Hiraethog.

Alwen offers a loop of paths perfect for bike riding, dog walks, walking, trail running, horse riding and fishing. Alwen Reservoir is a great place to chill for the day, much quieter than it’s popular neighbour Llyn Brenig, as well as being far more picturesque.

The circular loop of the lake is approximately 7 miles and nearly all on flat ground. We usually wander down with the gear to a nice spot halfway down the west side of the lake and crank up the Biolite stove for a lovely brew by the water. Once comfy and full of tea, we often take our Macaco Slackline up in the forest and spend the day alternating between reading books lakeside and balancing between the trees.

Catching sunset at Alwen can be amazing, on clear days the sun leaves a beautiful golden carpet across the lake as a lasting memory from the day out. The changing seasons are really noticeable at Alwen and it’s a great place to play spot the difference on repeat visits.

Nearby is the town of Denbigh, the village Cerrigydrudion and an amazing abandoned house called Gwylfa Hiraethog that is another stunning location for sunsets in North Wales.

Alwen Reservoir August 2019 | The Frozen Divide

Bryn Alyn

Bryn Alyn is a small hill in the Clwydian Range, with the peak at just 408m. The beauty here lies not in the hill itself but the surrounding views.

Bryn Alyn | Nov 2017 | Featured Image | thefrozendivide

Clocaenog Forest

The Clocaenog Forest occupies 40 square miles of what was once moorland, the coniferous trees were first planted in 1905. The trails are perfect for walking, running & exploring, with dense evergreens that filter the sunlight beautifully.

Taking its name from a small village near the historic market town of Ruthin, Clocaenog is home to a thriving population of red squirrels and many other small birds and animals. The forest has undergone conservation efforts since the 1990s and consequently the wildlife benefits greatly.

The changing seasons effect Clocaenog beautifully, with different elements springing into life throughout the year. We love visiting in the rain, the greens dance vividly, as if the colour saturation has been cranked up to max. The blend of evergreen and deciduous trees mean autumn is a particularly spectacular time to spend in Clocaenog. Deep oranges, reds and pinks pepper the green carpet, a feast of incredible natural colour for the eyes.

Clocaenog Wind Farm

Work was completed in September 2019 to install 27 large wind turbines in Clocaenog Forest. This renewable energy source is set to provide energy to over 60,000 homes and has a capacity of up to 96 megawatts, making it the UK’s largest onshore wind farm.

Local firm Jones Bros were the principal contractor, having won a £20m contract from Germany’s leading renewable energy company Innogy, who managed the whole project. With Jones Bros headquarters only 10 minutes drive away in the local market town of Ruthin, this project brought about a lot of work for local people.

Although many trees were removed to allow this project, it’s good to see significant clean energy sources appearing in our area. The consequential benefits for the region via the Community Investment Fund are also positive.

Clocaenog Forest from above with Windfarms | The Frozen Divide

Foel Fenlli

At 1,677ft (511m) Foel Fenlli is the second highest hill in the Clwydian Range, North Wales and is located just south of the most popular peak Moel Famau.

Fenlli is shaped like a child would draw a hill – steep up and down the sides with a rounded top. It’s most easily accessed from Moel Famau’s Bwlch Pen Barras car park, where it’s simple to do a circular walk that reaches the summit in approximately half an hour.

The main route up Foel Fenlli forms part of the Offas Dyke National Walk, with well maintained paths that make navigation simple.

Foel Fenlli Pink Sunset Silhouette | The Frozen Divide

Llandanwg Beach

After a day in the mountains we enjoyed a BBQ with friends and set the GoPro cameras, Hohem gimbal and Grip Gear motion tracks to record this Llandanwg Beach Sunset Timelapse. The view looks towards the sun setting over the Llyn Peninsula, North Wales, with the Irish Sea to the left and Snowdonia’s mountains rising on the right. The sky is so vast from this viewpoint, it’s a really incredible place to take in the end of a day of hiking or mountain running.

Llandulas Beach

Llandulas Beach is a short stretch of the North Wales coast, with fun boulders to play and fantastic light at both sunrise and sunset. The beach is easily accessible from the A55 expressway, a short distance from the landmark Lady Emily’s Tower and neighbouring beach Pensarn. Simply take the Llandulas turning from the A55, turn right under the flyover and it’s about 30 seconds down the left hand turn by the caravan park entrance. This isn’t the best sunbathing or day out on the sand beach in the area (try Pensarn, Llandudno or Penmaenmawr for that), but it has that certain charm that make it a fairly regular stop off point for us if we’re passing at either sunrise or sunset.

Llanferres Woodland

Halfway between the towns of Mold and Ruthin is Llanferres Forest, a great bit of woodland with quarries, an abandoned house and natural climbing walls. Just past the Druid pub and into the 60mph zone there’s a large lay by with a footpath sign heading over the fields. This leads directly to Llanferres Forest across 3 small fields and over the River Alyn. The first point of interest is the small section of limestone cliffs, popular with local climbers.

Further up the path there’s a sharp left hand track that leads to a cool abandoned house with an amazing view of the nearby Clwydian Range hills.

There are various paths and tracks that weave through the trees, and a little hidden gem here is the old mining shaft. Hidden deep in the forest there’s a small opening in the rocks that leads into a tunnel approximately 100 yards underground. A small chamber ends this passage, with a choice of two further smaller tunnels – we’ve never been further than this point!

Llangollen

Llangollen is a picturesque town in North East Wales, popular as a tourist destination. Widely known for both it’s status as the home of the Eisteddfod Music Festival and it’s vintage steam railway, Llangollen is also a great base for exploring the Berwyn Mountains and the Clwydian Range (including Offa’s Dyke) – nearby Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This post highlights our favourite places to visit and things to do near Llangollen.

The most obvious landmark in the valley, Castle Dinas Bran is a ruined hilltop fort overlooking Llangollen town and surrounding area. The castle was abandoned in 1277 and despite various attempts to reinvigorate life into the building by different folk over the years it’s crumbled to just a few walls, arches and partial towers.

 

Moel Famau

One of the most iconic hills in North Wales, Moel Famau is a 1,821ft (555m) peak that divides the counties of Denbighshire and Flintshire. We grew up with the summit being a daily viewpoint, albeit from opposite sides, so there’s always a lovely warmth and familiarity about this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for both of us.

Parys Mountain

The alien landscape of Parys Mountain, an old copper mine on the isle of Anglesey, North Wales, is a fantastic place to spend a few hours exploring. Easy trails to follow and good car parking make this a great stop with friends and family, particularly with youngsters.

Parys Mountain 05 | June 2018 | thefrozendivide

Pensarn Beach

Pensarn Beach is one of the best stretches of the North Wales coast line. Easily accessible from the A55 expressway near Abergele, there’s nothing remote or exclusive about coming here – it’s a popular place and for good reason. Both sunrise and sunset can be fantastic here, as well as making a lovely spot for a normal beach day out. There’s plenty of space for everyone and it’s rare to find the place empty. Lady Emily’s Tower is a nearby location that’s worth a visit.

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