A lake in the forest, nestled 200m above Betws-Y-Coed, Llyn Elsi is one of the walks you can embark on straight from our front door (no vehicle access required for this one and kudos for reducing your carbon footprint!)
Llyn Elsi was once two lakes, however in 1914 Lord Ancaster allowed the building of the damn merging the lakes into a reservoir supplying Betws-Y-Coed with drinking water. From start to finish back to the hotel the walk takes about 2 and a half hours – although I ambled around the lake taking in the Autumn reflections so was a little over schedule!
I took a right out of the hotel front door towards St Mary’s church, another right up past the church itself and then veered right up the forestry path behind St Mary’s.
Here the route starts off steeply but there is a bench half way up to get your puff back – keep an eye out for the ruined cottage on your right. There are other pathways that branch off along the route but sticking to the main track will brings you to the lake’s edge. All the tracks are well maintained and easy on the foot – although I’d still suggest walking boots rather than trainers at this time of year!
With stunning views of Moel Siabod as you emerge through the forest I completley forgot my huffing and puffing up the first steep leg. Behind Moel Siabod lies the Snowdon Range with Snowdon itself directly behind Siabod, it’s no wonder the first time visitor sometimes gets them mixed up! Siabod’s claim to fame is that it has the bigget footprint of any mountain in Wales and it stands alone rather than as part of a massif. It looks magestic and copper infused today with the autumn russet hues of the bracken glowing in the cool sun.
At the top the walk levels off and continuing right along the narrow path brings you to the monument commemorating Lord Ancaster. There are benches here for a break and a great viewpoint for sarnie eating! Luckily chef had organised me a packed lunch, nothing like a cheese n pickle on granary washed down by tea from a flask! The walk around the lake is clearly sign posted by white way markers – The Tourist Information Centre in the village has a handy guide of all the waymarked trails in the forest, it’s also very useful for further exploration of the Gwydyr Forest and it’s ancient pathways, full of myth and legend.
You really get a sense of place by walking up to Llyn Elsi – with Betws below nestled in the forest and the spectacular Snowdon vista enticing further discovery ahead… it’s made me want to explore our ancient forests even more.
Especially if there’s more flapjack to take with me….