Bank Holiday in Trawsfynydd

A lake, a village, and a decommissioned nuclear power plant

The old power station overlooking Lake Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd

The Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd has some real gems waiting to be discovered, and on bank holiday Saturday I made the most of seeing two of these. The village of Trawsfynydd and the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog were on my list, and neither disappointed me.

This entry will cover the ins and outs of the first stop of my impromptu road trip, Trawsfynydd.

I left Aberystwyth at 10am, with Lake Trawsfynydd my first stop. A relatively straight forward journey by car, it takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes, although the often winding A roads of mid and north Wales can make it feel like longer.

Turning off the A470, a single track road takes you parallel to the lake. The turning into the car park comes up quickly, so make sure not to go past it (like me, I did that).

The lake has a total area of 4.8km squared and if you walk around the entire length, it would take around four hours. With another location in mind later in the day, I decided to just take in one half of the lake.

A narrow wooden bridge connects one side of the southern end of the lake to another, and it was this I crossed to start my walk along the east side.

The scenery around the lake starts out amazing, and gets better. To get access to the Llyn Trawsfynydd cycle trail, you walk through the village of Trawsfynydd.

A quaint village with narrow streets and flowers outside seemingly every home, the centre of which is a monument to the village’s most famous son.

Hedd Wyn, born Ellis Humphrey Evans, was a poet who was killed on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War. He was posthumously awarded chair of the 1917 National Eisteddfod.

The memorial to him lies in the centre of the village, as a timeless reminder of his impact on the village and beyond.

Walking out of the village, a left turn down a bank brings you onto a path by the A470. It feels as though you are walking away from the lake, but so far along there is a sign pointing into the trees for the cycle trail.

The transition from steady traffic on the road to the tranquillity of the trail is almost instant. Some stretches of the route are through dense woodland areas, and some are out in the open and hug the edge of the lake. One sight that is rarely out of view is one that you would least expect to see by a lake; a decommissioned nuclear power station.

Closed in 1993, the station looms over the lake like a spectre of a bygone era. The building itself isn’t the nicest to look at, but seeing it on the backdrop of the rolling fields and forest gives it a weird kind of beauty. This probably falls into the category of “you’ll get it if you see it yourself.”

The trail goes past the station, but I decided that a viewpoint from behind the building was as far as I needed to go. A quick water break and a read of the history of the power station on an information board and I was on my way for the return leg.

The sun was starting to beat down as morning made way for the afternoon. Fortunately, I was able to make the most of the shaded areas of the trail. Mine was the only car in the car park when I arrived. On my return, a handful more people had arrived to make the most of the fine weather.

Blaenau Ffestiniog was next up , and it was only another 10 miles up the A470.

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. Passionate writing about politics, culture, sport, society and more