Today I take you for more autumn adventures in Wales! It feels like the first leaf had fallen yesterday, yet now the season is nearing an end. I really wanted to share some more of the golden autumn beauty of the Welsh countryside, before the cold and winter landscapes take over!
If you read my blog, you might already know of this amazing place in Wales called Elan Valley. As much as I love exploring new places, this one I return to regularly. I’ve walked many trails, read books by the dams, had little picnics and went camping in this place. As many times as I’ve been to this place… each time it looks and feels a little different. And that is truly wonderful.
If you would like to have an insight into what this place is like in the summer (click here) for one of my previous posts.
Whenever people visit Wales and ask for recommendations of places to see, this one makes the list instantly. The variety of landscapes, nature, wildlife as well as traditional Welsh culture is prominent there- showcasing its’ beauty to anyone visiting by.
Elan Valley is most known for its’ vastly stretching valleys and forests as well as 6 dams which were constructed in 1893. Most people come by, to take some photos by the magnificent dams or to spend some time walking the hiking trails that surround the place. There’s a camping ground nearby and B&B’s scattered around the area for tourists. The tranquil atmosphere of this place is a great way to detox a clouded and chaotic mind. Many people come here to rest. Many artists come here to seek inspiration.
The days are shorter nowadays, so I made sure to get up super early to drive. I walked out of the house and the cold felt like it was pinching my cheeks. While driving through Welsh landscapes, the air felt colder and crisp, I feel winter is approaching.
Arriving at Elan Valley, I stopped briefly to admire the golden and brown landscape of valleys stretching before me. The freezing cold awakened my senses, but soon enough I found myself running to the car to pile more layers on top of myself. It became painfully clear to me that the ‘sweater-weather’ is gone.
I had to stop multiple times to admire the surrounding views as well as wildlife. Classic Welsh sheep, blocking the road. The Highland cows, staring at me majestically yet with a tinge of curiosity, and almost blending in with the dry grass they were eating.
Of course I offered them some of my delicious apples, thinking they will see it as an absolute treat. Some of them absolutely loved it, and others refused profusely (didn’t think cows could be this picky). They resumed to munching their grass after and I just looked at them, mesmerised by their beauty against the autumn scenery.
I cherish moments like that so much. I think it’s important to remember to take a minute to appreciate the scenery and life right before you. I’m trying not to live my life entirely through the lens or other technology. Instead, I put down whatever tech I’m holding and just allow myself- to pay full attention to the scene for a moment, awakening all my senses and imprinting it in my memory for years to come.
Dams & Hiking Trail
I also stopped by the infamous dams. Those beauties never fail to impress me. They are a very characteristic staple of this place, constructed for the river Elan, each one is uniquely charming. With a vast history of construction to aid the water flow to Birmingham, all the way to the lost houses and valleys due to its construction. The baroque aesthetic of them has been attracting tourists, photographers, poets and other artists for decades.
Finally I approached the chosen hiking trail for this day. Walking up the trail I had a view of the dams in the distance. That’s before I disappeared into forest depths and was consumed by shades of greens and gold- spreading before me in a scenery that resembled a real-life fairy tale.
I kept walking along the trail, admiring the views but it wasn’t long until I got off the path and ventured into the forest depths. With each step I took, I could smell a stronger scent of earthy moss and pine trees. Light rays were piercing through the trees, illuminating the scene. I felt as if I was lost in a magical world- waiting for some fairy tale creature to pop out of the tree shadows.
Emerging from the forest
Emerging from the forest, a grand landscape opened up before me- of the valleys and Elan river. Clouds started rolling in, dimming the sky I looked around the edge of the forest for some mushrooms. And low and behold, I’ve found a bunch of mushrooms! (Edible ones, don’t worry- I know my mushrooms). That’s dinner sorted!
I sat on the rock, at the edge of the forest and just admired the views. Taking a minute to quieten my mind, breathing fresh air and looking at all the details of the scenery right before me. I feel so grateful to have access to magical places like this!
Soon enough, the sun emerged from the clouds briefly, making all the autumn colours come to life. I went back into the forest. With the warmth of the sun rays, in some places it almost looked like summer was still here.
BBQ and Coffee
Walking back through the trail, I eventually was out of the forest and found a nice picnic spot. I started unloading some food from the backpack. Some sausages for a barbeque… probably last outdoor feast this year. And I also added some mushrooms which I found in the forest! They were delicious!
After a long hike, there’s nothing better than an aromatic scent of fresh hot coffee. That’s a priority for almost any trip I take. I made sure to have some fresh hot black coffee in a thermos with a nice autumn-themed doughnut to sweeten the deal!
I sat there with the coffee warming my hands as the sun started to descend. It started getting darker and colder- it was a time to head back home.
While driving back, once again I stopped by some stunning views. With fresh air in my lungs, my legs aching a little from walking (but in a satisfactory way) and a nice coffee buzz, I felt refreshed in my mind and soul. It’s amazing how with each step you take on the hike amongst nature- your problems don’t seem as big anymore, the stress doesn’t feel as overwhelming and the joy of living is refreshed in one’s soul.
Thank you so much for reading,
I hope you enjoyed this blog post!
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See you again,