There are few more spectacular (and often surprising) sights than rounding the corner of a woodland trail and finding yourself face to face with a waterfall.
A rushing river powering its way over the edge and into empty space, before falling majestically to the plunge pool below, adds drama to any hike – and North Wales has its own fair share of these natural wonders.
Here are a few of the region’s hidden gems, and how to find them.
Rhiwargor Waterfall, Lake Vyrnwy
Lake Vyrnwy has plenty to offer, in terms of both natural and man-made sights – the UK’s first major stone dam, completed in 1888, and over 300 waterways feeding into the lake itself.
Among these is the spectacular Rhiwargor Waterfall, and although it’s quite secluded, it’s also very easy to access along a fairly flat trail with only slight inclines.
Rhaeadr Ewynnol (Swallow Falls)
The name of Rhaeadr Ewynnol actually translates into English as ‘foaming waterfall’, but its common English name is Swallow Falls.
Find it off the A5 from Betws y Coed – easily accessible again, and with a 2.5-mile track along the Afon Llugwy to reach the waterfall itself, setting out from the Ty’n Llwyn car park in Gwydyr.
Grey Mare’s Tail, Conwy
Not to be confused with the UK’s fifth-highest waterfall, also called Grey Mare’s Tail and found in Scotland, the Conwy Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall offers an excellent day out if you like walking circular routes.
It’s even suitable for a rainy day, as most of the distance is on hard surfaces – the section closest to the waterfall is not, but it’s worth it for the sight of the falls in full, thundering flow.
Aber Falls, Snowdonia
A popular attraction for nature-lovers during a stay in Snowdonia, the path to Aber Falls is slightly less forgiving in heavy weather, so inexperienced walkers may prefer to wait for a sunny day to attempt it.
The reward is well worth it though, and there’s a choice of routes, either a relatively easy riverside path, or a more challenging woodland route.
Finally, head to Dyserth for a waterfall with an enigma on its doorstep – you can hardly miss the two huge stone walls immediately to the left of the falls itself, and they are clearly not a natural feature.
In fact, the exact origins of these walls are lost to history; the Domesday Book mentions a mill in the area, and they perhaps supported its water wheel, but nobody knows for sure.