From the foothills of Southern Snowdonia to the striking landscapes of the Brecon Beacons, Offa’s Dyke to the spectacular Ceredigion coast and everywhere in between, this is Mid Wales at its wintery best.
1. Bwlch Nant yr Arian, near Aberystwyth
The Visitor Centre is easy to find, just off the A44. Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of nature along waymarked trails without the crowds. Chances are, there’ll be more red kites than people.
The number of these beautiful birds of prey which come in for daily feeding is often higher during winter. Feeding time is at 2pm every day until the clocks go forward in March when it’s at 3pm.
You may also see other less common birds here in winter including herons and whooper swans. The visitor centre is perched on a hilltop and the wind is often cold, strong and easterly. This is great weather for a bracing winter walk.
The café sells seasonal delights to warm visitors up and there are some festive events planned which are suitable for younger visitors. The shop stocks plenty of Christmas gift ideas for all the family.
2. Ynyslas Visitor Centre and Dyfi National Nature Reserve
It’s a fantastic time of year for a quieter walk to appreciate what makes the beach and sand dunes at Ynyslas so special. Nature lovers, look out for the range of different fungi in the dunes and bring your binoculars to see how many birds you can spot.
The estuary is home to migratory and overwintering birds and you may see waders, sanderling and golden plover on the beach. You can buy books about fungi and birds from the visitor centre shop to help you identify what you see.
The visitor centre is open all winter and it is home to a new exhibition which helps bring the rich nature to life. The centre sells hot and cold drinks and snacks. It has indoor seating and a shop selling books, cards, local artwork and toys.
3. Good Day Out – a walk with a difference in the Brecon Beacons
Enjoy quiet Welsh winter walks with some special little companions, Maverick & Goose, half-brother Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys.
They love nothing more than meeting people and going for an amble and forage across their neighbouring farmland in the Brecon Beacons, through the winter months.
They wear little panniers to carry a picnic and all walks are with tiny groups at £35 per person for individuals to book or can be reserved as private sessions from £140. You can also book ahead to the warmer months or buy undated gift vouchers which come with 15 months validity as standard.
With every Good Day Out participation, a good cause also benefits, so you can have a really good day out whilst doing good at the same time! To see winter availability and to buy vouchers, pop to www.gooddayout.co.uk or call 01874 749092.
4. Aberdyfi, Southern Snowdonia
Staying at the Trefeddian Hotel, or their Seascape self-catering, or visiting the coast for the day? Nothing beats a bracing walk along the four miles of golden sandy beach that stretch out in front of the Trefeddian.
Whether you choose just to meander into Aberdyfi or brave a longer trek to Tywyn, this winter walk is sure to make your cheeks glow. Watch out for grey seals, the petrified forest and curlews along the way.
With winter naturally comes a bit more rain. And with the rain, comes wonderful waterfalls. Pop on your boots and take a little drive to Dolgoch Falls to experience the thunderous sounds of the water as it cascades down the mountainside. A circular walk will take you to the three magnificent waterfalls that roar down the ravine.
Put on your winter woollies and explore enchanting Ynysmaengwyn. Meander through breath-taking and beautiful woodlands to the delightful River Dysynni. Pass tumbled down remains of the once grand estate and the tranquil walled garden, always warm whatever the weather. Look out for an ancient dove cote, fairy garden and bug hotel.
5. Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, near Cardigan Bay
The 40-acre nature reserve at Denmark Farm in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains is perfect for a wintery afternoon stroll. With easy paths and trails meandering around the site, you can discover a wide range of stunning habitats (woodland, meadow, pasture, lakes and ponds) and local wildlife.
There is no charge to walk around but they do request a donation to help keep the reserve accessible for all. Open dawn to dusk, every day except December 24.
6. The Elan Valley, near Rhayader
Winter walks in the Elan Valley are a great way to blow off the cobwebs and get some fresh air. Enjoy the landscape of this 70 square mile estate. There are many walks and trails with a good mixture of lengths to cater for all, including nature trails and scenic walks.
If you’re looking for a little wintery magic this Christmas holiday, check out a winter trail following Christmas trees and snowmen through Cnwch Woods. Pick up a trail sheet (£2/child) from the Elan Valley Visitor Centre between December 18 and January 4. Return your completed sheet to receive a prize!
*Please be mindful of the effect the weather may have on your visit to Mid Wales and check the forecast before you set off. Many of our nature reserves are exposed and the weather can be cold and windy.
High tides are more frequent in winter and the car park at Ynyslas floods more often – please check the signs at the entrance carefully to make sure it is safe to park.
For more winter walks inspiration, see www.visitmidwales.co.uk