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wpe4.jpg (25298 bytes) Betws-y-Coed
The inscription on Thomas Telford's ornate iron arch proudly announces that the Waterloo Bridge was built in 1815 to commemorate Wellington's victory over Napoleon. The bridge straddles the River Llugwy at Betws-y-Coed, one of the prettiest villages in North Wales, a short distance from where the river tumbles down a series of rocks at the picturesque Swallow Falls.

 

Betws-y-Coed and the Gwydyr Forest (Gwynedd)
Betws-y-Coed is a popular visiting spot so try to arrive early at busy times of the year, parking in the car park almost at the end of the B5106. (You might first want to walk into the village and visit the Snowdonia National Park Information Centre which has information on walks and on the wildlife in the Gwydyr Forest Park.) To start the walk from the car park, take the path which leads down by the river, heading to the right and walking through woodland. As you reach a huge rock, almost at the end of the wood, take the path uphill to the right, away from the river and heading towards a bungalow.
At the bungalow turn left when you reach the forest road, which takes you past a farm. Carry on walking for almost another kilometre (0.5 miles), and where the road bends, look for the path going off to the right. This takes you over a stile into a field, with painted markers pointing the way along the path, over a further two stiles to another forest road.
When you reach the road turn right, going straight ahead at the T-junction until you reach a second T-junction, where you should turn left, crossing a road. At the next junction of paths you should head left, this path taking you past the southern tip of Llyn Park Lake. After the path has passed the lake you reach a T-junction, where you turn right, then right again along the path which bears off after a short distance. This path follows a stream and passes the lead mine workings.
The Aberllyn lead mine is no longer used, but scraps of the lead ore it once produced can sometimes be found in the spoil heaps around. Slowly, though, nature is reclaiming the remnants of the mine. The Gwydyr Forest is one of the few havens south of Scotland for the pine marten, though it is rare for a visitor to see this sleek and graceful chestnut-coloured creature. Passing the lead mine, take the lower path which descends towards the Conwy Valley, veering right and then heading straight back towards Betws-y-Coed and the car park. If you are not exhausted by this exhilarating walk follow the signs to two of the renowned local beauty spots: the Swallow Falls and the Conwy Falls.

Caernarfon Castle
Built in the 13th century, Caernarfon Castle gives the appearance of being complete and unscathed, thanks to sympathetic restoration of the ruins in the 19th century by the eminent Victorian architect, Anthony Salvin. In 1969 the castle was the setting for the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales, a ceremony that dates back to the 14th century.

Segontium Roman Fort and Museum
Llanbeblig Road
Caernarfon LL55 2LN
Gwynedd, Wales
Tel 01286 675625
Fax 01286 678416
The strategically important Roman fort at Segontium, near Caernarfon, was occupied from AD 77 to about AD 394 by a regiment of 1,000 auxiliary infantry. Remains of the fort include the house of the garrison commander, soldiers’ barracks, store buildings, and a bath house. The Segontium Roman Museum recounts the conquest and occupation of Wales by the Romans, and displays the numerous finds excavated from the fort.

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wpe24.jpg (23739 bytes) Craig Goch Dam (Mid-Wales)
Surplus water pours over the face of the Craig Goch Dam, one of a series of great engineering structures built along the Elan Valley in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in order to supply far-off Birmingham with water for its growing population. In their magnificent setting of remote uplands, the reservoirs are now a popular tourist destination.
Portmeirion (Gwynedd)
Genial architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis (1883–1978) devoted his long lifetime to creating his dream village, Portmeirion. His belief that buildings should delight and amuse attracts visitors in their thousands to this wonderful synthesis of architecture and landscape on its wooded promontory in North Wales.
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Gloddfa Ganol Slate Mine
Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3ND
Gwynedd, Wales
Tel 01766 830664
Fax 01766 830527
Gloddfa Ganol Slate Mine is the world's largest slate mine, set in magnificent natural surroundings. After exploring the huge blasted caverns on the guided tour, visitors can watch open-cast blasting, visit restored miners' cottages, and see how quarrymen saw and split the slate blocks.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns (Snowdonia)
Slate is perhaps the most famous product of Snowdonia. It is extracted at a number of sites, the most spectacular of which are near the “Slate City” of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Visitors can explore the depths of the old slate mines at Llechwedd by underground tramway, accompanied by experienced miners.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns
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