Be the change: using public transport in Snowdonia
By Claire Holmes, Engagement Officer, Snowdonia Society
We’re bracing ourselves for a busy summer here in Snowdonia. A continuing trend for staycations and the allure of the National Park means we’re likely to see many return to the mountains and beaches of Eryri for that much-needed nature fix.
This is good news for many independent businesses whose livelihoods depend on the seasonal ebb and flow of visitors. Excellent also for those who come to Snowdonia to get away from the noise, traffic and crowds of the city. National Parks provide the beauty and tranquillity we all need to get away from the daily grind.
However, the main mode of transport we use in getting to and around these special places is still the car and its dominance is starting to undo the beauty of the places we love. From chains of vehicles along picturesque valley sides like the Nant Ffrancon to rows of fluorescent traffic cones, the visual impacts are numerous. And despite the freedom that driving brings in terms of convenience and access to the mountains, there are huge environmental costs and rising economic costs.
As a charity that exists to protect the special qualities of the National Park, we are working hard to secure world-class sustainable transport for Snowdonia. As a step in that direction, we want to support local people and visitors alike to make full use of using of the existing public transport options that connect people to key locations in Snowdonia.
We’re now seeing experienced mountaineers using the buses to make their adventures more sustainable, and more respectful of the precious environment of Snowdonia. Why not give the buses a go yourself? It takes a shift in perspective to incorporate public transport into your planning, but that shift brings freedom from the wheel to really take in the landscape you’re travelling through. That cup of tea at the end of the day will taste so much better for it.
Here are some starter options:
1) Snowdon paths and Sherpa bus service
Regardless of whether you’re getting the bus to start your walk up Snowdon, planning your transport and parking is essential given how quickly the car parks fill up. You cannot park at Pen y Pass (start of Miner’s and Pyg tracks) without pre-booking a parking space so being prepared is the first step. If you’re feeling adventurous – and we highly recommend it! – you could opt for leaving your car in either the Llanberis and Nant Peris car parks and take the Sherpa Park and Ride service up the valley to Pen y Pass. Let the bus driver do the hard work and enjoy that amazing view. Buses are frequent and cost £2 for an adult single, £3 for an adult return and £1.50 for a child return, and contactless payment is accepted. You can view and download the Snowdon Sherpa timetable from the Gwynedd Council website here
2) T10 bus Betws y Coed, Cwm Idwal and Bethesda
We’re seeing visits to Cwm Idwal high on the tick list for those venturing into Snowdonia. And it’s no wonder: just a few kilometres up the road from Bethesda takes you into one of the most dramatic geological landscapes in the National Park. The best option that currently exists for access to Llyn Ogwen and Cwm Idwal from Bangor, Bethesda and Betws y Coed is the T10 TrawsCymru bus service. It operates seven days a week, links with train services at Bangor and Betws-y-coed stations and connects with the Snowdon Sherpa network (above) at Betws y Coed and Capel Curig. Click here for the timetable.
3) Fflecsi bus, Conwy valley
This is a brilliant new bookable minibus service across a range of places in the Conwy valley. To use the service you need to book through the app, online or by phone on 0300 234 0300. You’ll be offered a 20 minute timeslot to match your desired time of travel. The service is frequent and available from Monday to Saturday 7am-7pm. Adult fares start from £1 up to a maximum of £3 for longer journeys. Children can travel for as little as 50p up to a maximum of £1.50 for longer journeys. Bus passes can be used.