There are so many activities to try in the Cambrian Mountains
Be inspired – try some of them!
Rhai o’r nifer o bethau i roi cynnig arnyn nhw tra’ch bod chi ym Mynyddoedd y Cambria
The Cambrian Mountains offer some of the most peaceful and satisfying hiking paths in Wales.
Walk to the summit of Pumlumon – 5 routes to the top
Climbing Pumlumon Fawr – hiking guide
Routes around Llanwrtyd Wells – a mix of shorter and longer routes on the eastern edge of the Cambrians
Wild Walking in the Aberystwyth Hinterland – by CMS Member Maurice Kyle– a very helpful site with a selection of self-guided walks including the northern Elenydd and Pumlumon
Across Wales Walk – 45 mile challenge walk
Heart of Wales Trail – a long distance walk that weaves between stations along the line, from Shrewsbury to Swansea
Ordnance Survey Pathfinder Guide: Mid-Wales Outstanding Circular Walks
Kittiwake Books: 25 walking guides for Mid-Wales, in and around the Cambrian Mountains
Cicerone walking guides:
Clwb Mynydda Cymru (Mountaineering Club Wales) – promoting mountaineering through the medium of Welsh
A number of rivers in the Cambrian Mountains can be canoed when water levels (which vary widely according to recent rainfall) are appropriate. Note however that canoeing is not permitted on Llyn Brianne and especially not on its overflow, which is highly dangerous.
The Cambrian Mountains abound with rivers and pools for a refreshing dip. Try the Washpool in Cwm Irfon or the Wolf’s Leap on Abergwesyn Common; Llyn Gwngu above Cwmystwyth; or the Teifi Pools (those which are not reservoirs for drinking water) above Strata Florida.
Bog Snorkelling – an annual competition
The Cambrian Mountains provide a wide variety of habitats for birds. There are oakwoods in the valleys, sprawling coniferous forests, upland moors, reservoirs, streams and rivers. All support a differing group of birds.
The oakwoods provide habitat for woodland species such as Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart. Coniferous forests, although comprised of non-native trees, can harbour Crossbills, Goshawk and Siskin. The moors are home to a few remaining Golden Plover and Dunlin whilst the rivers are home to Dippers, Grey Wagtails and, lower down, Goosanders.
The importance of the Cambrian Mountains is emphasised by the range of designations covering the area. Large parts are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Elenydd is a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Kites, Peregrines and Merlin.
The value of this area was recognised as early as 1954 when the Elenydd was designated as an SSSI and it was considered to be one of the two most important areas for upland birds in Wales.
Since then however, although the area is still important, bird populations have declined. This is not just within the Cambrian Mountains but part of serious decline across the whole of Wales, particularly for upland birds.
In order to inform management to help bird populations we need to know more about where birds are and how many of them are there. Unfortunately there is very little ‘official’ resources for monitoring populations so we need you help. If you are visiting anywhere in the Cambrian Mountains, please record any birds you see. If you are unsure of your identification skills please still send in records – just say how sure you are.
There are several ways to get records to where they will usefully be used. These are:
If you are happy using an App then you can record as you go, and keep your own list using the BTO Birdtrack app – https://bto.org/our-science/projects/birdtrack
There are volunteer ‘County Recorders’ for each County. These can be found via https://birdsin.wales/counties-map/
We hope you enjoy exploring the birdlife of the Cambrian Mountains and thank you for any records so we can help maintain these important populations.
The remoteness of the Cambrian Mountains from major towns and cities gives them the inestimable advantage of truly dark night skies – hugely important for biodiversity, since light pollution affects many insects’ lifecycles, but also ideal for human study of the planets, stars and galaxies that make up the universe above us. They include the International Dark Skies Park of the Elan Valley Estate as well as nine Dark Skies Discovery sites in an Astro Trail scattered across the uplands.
The Planetary Society has a helpful rolling guide to the visibility of the Moon, planets, asteroids and meteor showers: see What to search for this month, and there’s a handy Beginner’s Guide to Astrophotography on Sky at Night Magazine’s website.
For those interested in things related to the Solar System but not necessarily up for staying up late, there is also a geocache trail created by members of Newtown Astronomy Society. It starts with a cache relating to our star, Sol, near Dylife then travels in a southerly direction nearly 40 miles to end with Pluto near Llanwrda just south-west of Llandovery. Find out more at geocaching.com Welsh Solar System series
Photographs of comet Neowise and Orion in the Cambrian Mountains courtesy of member Rob Davies