You’ve read our guide to The Heritage Railways of Wales, so here’s a rundown of some options to stretch your legs while you’re at it. We’ve kept these options reasonably easy, which means that they’re generally on good paths without excessive climbing, and should be walkable in around a couple of hours. That doesn’t mean that they’re totally flat and the time taken depends on your fitness, so it’s your responsibility to check out the walk and decide it’s easy for you.
Talyllyn Railway – Cwm Gwernol Quarryman’s Trail
The Quarryman’s Trail is a waymarked walk from the Nant Gwernol station at Abergynolwyn. The trail follows the banks of the Afon Gwernol, up to the disused slate quarries at Bryn yr Eglwys before returning back on the opposite side of the valley. This walk does climb gently uphill and should take around 2 hours.
Welsh Highland Railway – Lon Gwynant. Beddgelert to Llyn Dinas
The Welsh Highland Railway has a number of mountain walks direct from the stations, including the Snowdon Ranger, Rhyd Ddu path and Moel Hebog. Our choice for an easy walk would have to be the Lon Gwynant from Beddgelert to Llyn Dinas. This is a good path all the way, and even passes the Sygun Mine on the way. Those looking for something to while away a couple of hours should look at the Lon Gwyrfai that starts at the Rhyd Ddu WHR station and finishes at the Beddgelert station.
Ffestiniog Railway – Llyn Mair from Tan y Bwlch
This picturesque lake is a short walk from the Ffestiniog Railway station at Tan y Bwlch. The paths around the lake provide easy walking and you should be able to complete this short walk in around an hour.
Llangollen Railway – Horseshoe Falls from Berwyn Station
The Horseshoe Falls might be one of the most famous in Wales, but most people visiting them will be blissfully unaware that they’re a man made weir. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t let that spoil a good walk to this popular landmark. The walk is only a couple of kilometres in length and shouldn’t take longer than an hour even if you stop for sandwiches.
Vale of Rheidiol – Devils Bridge from Pontarfynach
The Devil’s Bridge isn’t far from the railway station at Pontarfynach, and provides a number of waymarked walks. It does cost to enter, which is a novel concept for walks in the UK, around £4 per adult in the peak season. For that princely sum you get the choice of two waymarked walks. The longer Waterfall and Nature trail and the shorter Punchbowl Trails, that take 45 and 10 minutes respectively. You do get a view of the numerous bridges that cross the Rheidiol Gorge at this point and to visit the waterfalls of Mynach Falls and the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
Llanberis Lake and Snowdon Mountain Railways
The Padarn Country Park in Llanbeis offers a number of excellent waymarked walks that can be started from the station at Gilfach Ddu. These range from the 4km Woodland Walk to a full walk around Llyn Padarn that takes around 2 hours.
Walk from the Brecon Mountain Railway
The Brecon Mountain Railway makes an ideal start to an ascent of Pen y Fan, but that’s hardly an easy walk! Or you can return from the station at Torpantau back to Pant by following the Taff Trail, which should take around three hours. It’s around 11km long, or a shorter option would be to end at Pontsticill, but is at least mostly downhill. If you want a truly easier walk, then a quick walk through the nearby forestry towards the former Neuadd Reservoirs will fit the bill, with views toward the Brecon Beacons if you walk far enough up the valley.
The reservoirs are disused but there’s a project to restore the Lower Neuadd Reservoir to its former levels along with improvements in the footpaths and walks that should be ready by the summer of 2020.