This huge 100 km2 forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife and some rare species, including the largest population of red squirrels in Wales, rare black grouse and wild Przewalski horses, as well as being one of the best spots in the area to enjoy mountain biking of all levels, walking, riding and to simply enjoy the great outdoors and the stunning North Wales scenery. Clocaenog Forest also hosts some exciting outdoor events, such as carriage driving competitions, and national events such as The Wales Rally GB.
The Forest is a great place to explore on two wheels – for both serious mountain biking and for family cycling – with a number of routes available, including the challenging Foel Gasnach track – a must for all serious downhill racers. Families can enjoy a variety of more moderate routes, including Bod Petryal, a route of just 3.5km and Up to the Lake, a longer route of 42km connecting the Forest with Llyn Brenig. Full details of these routes and more can be found on the Biking Conwy website.
A series of short walks and more challenging longer walks put together by the Forestry Commission allows visitors to discover the varied scenery of forest landscapes, open moorland, rivers, a beautiful lake, as well as its wildlife and ancient history.
The Forest has been a site of a major conservation and research since 1992. Its peace and quiet means that many rare species are now able to thrive. The population of rare black grouse has increased by 88%, but spotting a red squirrel is still an event to celebrate, as even now they average just one squirrel to every 3 to 4 hectares.
For some of the best viewpoints, try Pincyn Llys Monument erected by Lord Bogot from Llanfwrog in 1830 with great views east from here across the Vale of Clwyd; Boncyn Foel Bach picnic site with fantastic views across to the Clwydian Hills and the Berwyns; or Bod Petrual Car Park – one of best spots to catch a glimpse of a red squirrel.
The Bontuchel Wildlife and Foel Frech bird hides are great places to spot dormice and dippers, or if you are really lucky, rare black grouse in late April and early May.
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