Snowdonia National Park

I hadn't been to Snowdonia since I was a small child and I really enjoyed our visit. The landscape is beautiful, the air clean and the people friendly. After spending a day at the centre for alternative technology we camped near the foot of Snowdon itself, we had wonderful views as we cooked our dinner and fell asleep watching the stars in the clear sky. The next day we visited Dolbadarn Castle before taking the train three quarters of the way up Snowdon. We walked the last mile up to the summit and then five miles back down again. It is a lovely walk down and we ended the day in a pub having dinner before the drive home.

Eryri or the Snowdonia National Park was designated a National park in 1951, the third National Park to be created in England and Wales under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the countryside Act. It is the second largest National park in England and Wales, covering some 2,171 square kilometres (838 square miles) of north west Wales, and including the Carneddau, and Glyderau mountain ranges as well as the Highest mountain in England and Wales (1085m/3560ft)- Yr Wyddfa (the Tomb in welsh), or Snowdon from which the Park takes its (english) name. The welsh name Eryri means 'place of the eagles'.

Eryri contains not only some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain but also contains a variety of landscapes, and habitats for animals, birds and plants; from 23 miles (37km) of coastline with sand dunes, estuaries; to glacial valleys, the remnants of broad -leaved woodlands of oak, ash, rowan and hazel that once covered the mountain slopes, lakes, streams and open mountains. There are more National Nature reserves in Eryri than any other National Park in Britain and it is home to many nationally and internationally rare species such as the Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, and the Snowdon Lily (Lloydia Serotina) an arctic/alpine plant only present in the park, and the beautiful rainbow coloured Snowdon Beetle (chrysolina cerealis)found only around Yr Wyddfa.

Eryri, unlike many National Parks in Europe and the US, is not a wilderness area, rather it is a landscape where 27,500 people live and work. It is also positioned within the heartland of Welsh speaking Wales and an estimated 65% of the parks inhabitants speak Welsh. For many, Welsh is their first language and the language of choice in everyday conversation, commerce, business and government.

It is also an area steeped in history and Legend and was the natural fortress for the Princes of Gwynedd and for Llywelyn, the last true Prince of Wales.

Below are a selection of photographs from my visit there.