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A hidden gem - Our peaceful family woodland walk through Clocaenog Forest.

A hidden gem – Our peaceful family woodland walk through Clocaenog Forest.

In a nutshell…

📬 Location: Clocaenog Forest, Bod Petryal Car Park, B5105, Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 9PR

📞Tel: 0300 065 3000 or email enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

🌐Web link:  https://naturalresources.wales/days-out/places-to-visit/north-east-wales/clocaenog-forest-bod-petryal/?lang=en

🖼Attraction type: Woodland and Lake Walk.

💷 Cost of admission: Free

🚗Car park: Free. Multiple car parks in the area, all with different circular trails.

🕗Opening times: Car Park is open daily. No overnight parking is permitted.

♿ Wheelchair and pram accessible? Yes. The Green circular trail is wide and well maintained for prams and wheelchairs. The Yellow circular trail is narrow in parts and less even. Walking difficulty: Easy.   

🐾 Dog friendly: Yes dogs are welcome but there are no water stations and no doggy bins.

🚴‍♂️Suitable for cyclists: Yes, particularly the green circular trail.

🚻Toilets: No

🌯Food:  Picnics welcome but there is no food available for purchase on site.

🕗Estimated visit duration: 2.5 to 3.0 hours

😷Covid update: N/A

So what is Clocaenog Forest?

Clocaenog Forest is one of North Wales’s best kept secrets in the heart of the Denbighshire countryside, yet its only a stones throw from the popular tourist spots of Loggerheads Country Park and Moel Famau.

Clocaenog Forest covers 100 km² of woodland, moorland, rivers, streams and lakes maintained thanks to Natural Resources Wales. This once working forest lies at the Southern end of Hiraethog Moor.

With such a vast area of forest to explore, it is no surprise that there are numerous car parks, each with different trails to explore. Our review focusses only on the area of Bod Petryal in Clocaenog Forest.

How to get here...

From Ruthin take the B5105 to Cerrigydrudion, then drive through the village of Clawddnewydd. You will then pass the Boncyn Foel Bach car park, and very soon after, the Bod Petryal car park is on the left hand side. Bod Petryal is approximately a 50 minute drive from Chester, and around 40 minutes for many within Flintshire.

The post code is unclear on google as it looks like it links you to an air museum. However, if you do enter the post code we have given into SATNAV, it will take you roughly to the area.

What to expect….

The car park was well signposted and so easy to find. The car park is of a decent size for the number of visitors. We visited in the peak of the Summer Holidays and parked with no issue.

Adjacent to the car park and the lake is a picnic area with 4 to 5 picnic benches. The information board is also located here and gives very clear guidance on the types of trails available here, how long they will take to complete, difficulty level, and points of interest.

We chose to embark primarily on the yellow circular trail which includes both the half a mile Keepers Stroll trail past the lakeside and the Old Keeper’s Cottage, and the Animal Discovery Trail, again covering a half a mile distance. Apparently there is a leaflet with clues for you to collect and help you as you track down the wildlife but we saw no such leaflets.

Old Keepers Cottage, Clocaenog Forest

The main highlights of this particular walk were of course the Old Keepers Cottage (interior not accessible to the public) and the beautiful, colourful and tranquil lake. The water is accessible in parts, with plenty of canine friends enjoying a dip but you can not walk around the lake in its entirety, and the water is not the cleanest for young children to have a careful paddle. However, we did enjoy having a rest here, looking across at the beautiful colours of the trees and other flora lining the waters edge, and our girl really enjoyed watching the strikingly blue dragonflies skating across the water.

Observing the dance of the Dragonflies at the Lake in Clocaenog Forest, Bod Petryal. 

The terrain on the yellow circular walk was uneven and narrow in places but with no steep hills it was easy to follow with a four year old, with signposts dotted at regular intervals. There were a few nettles along this route so we would recommend long sleeves and trousers for the dinky ones. Walking the yellow trail with a pram is doable but would be difficult in parts. The same applies to wheelchair users. It was a hot and dry day so the paths were not muddy expect in one location. In the Winter, due to the narrow path, we expect you may need to take wellies.

As you can see the yellow trail at Clocaenog Forest is less pram friendly than the green trail due to walkways being narrow in parts. The green trail however is lovely and wide. 

The green trail is called ‘Bod Petryal Trot’ and is another circular walk, covering a distance of 2 miles and taking approximately 1.25 hours to complete on foot or 1 hour on horseback (hence the name).

This walk is largely on flat terrain and the forest roads are much wider, making the walk more suitable for pram and wheelchair users. Unlike the yellow trail, we don’t envision the forest roads becoming overly muddy in Winter months given how wide they are. Again the trail was easy to follow with a young child, and you finish back up by the lakeside and the Old Keeper’s Cottage.

The green trail, Bod Petryal Trot is incredibly pram friendly. 

Both walks were picturesque and relaxing as a walk in the forest was largely quiet and tranquil, with the beautiful sounds of birdsong. However, if you follow the green circular walk you will occasionally hear a little road noise.

Both trails lead you back to the lake, Clocaenog Forest, Bod Petryal

Covering an area of 100 km² (equivalent to 10 000 Rugby Pitches), the forest has an abundance of wildlife for our little explorers to look out for, with residents including dragonflies, woodpeckers, forest toads, birds of prey, grouse and one of the few remaining populations of red squirrels.

Unfortunately due to the size of the forest and the advice not to venture off the forest roads, we did not see the toads, woodpeckers or squirrels. However, it was still interesting to try and spot them and have a chat about habitats and adaptations with our little one.

Casting spells at Clocaenog Forest

Anything to watch out for?

Yes. We lost phone signal for the majority of our walk. Whilst the idea of being cut off and escaping the hustle and bustle was attractive to us, some people may feel apprehensive, especially if they are walking alone. As we embarked on both trails, we hardly saw another person, and so this may cause some people to feel nervous. Lack of signal may also be problematic if lone walkers should have an accident e.g. falling down some steep inclines/drops.

To conclude….

We really enjoyed our quiet family walk in this peaceful forest. The forest during the Summer months was full of colour and wildlife, and provides a great space to explore with children. Older children will enjoy riding their bikes here and provided you stick to the forest paths as advised, you can’t really get lost. The forest is well maintained and our little girl is looking forward to coming back again, but next time is demanding we bring a picnic. We can’t wait to explore the other areas of the forest and will post our reviews as and when we complete those trails too.

Alternative car parks...

 *Pincyn Llys, LL15 2DF

*Coed y Fron Wyllt, LL15 2AW

*Boncyn Foel Bach, LL15 2NN

*Pool Park (Efail, y Rhidyll), LL15 2LN

* Rhydd y Gaseng, awaiting post code confirmation

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Terms and conditions…

*Information is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. If details have changed, or if you do spot inaccuracies, please contact admin to rectify.

*We have tried our best to give a factual and honest review based on our own experiences. However, this is just our interpretation and different people will naturally have difference experiences. Therefore, please regard this review as intended, for guidance only.

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