Barcud Trail, Bwlch Nant yr Arian

Barcud Trail is a level, lakeside wander that is accessible to wheelchairs and features an animal puzzle trail to keep you guessing all the way round. It is sheltered by trees most of the way round however the site itself is high in the hills so will get both the best of the sun and the worst of the rain. Bwlch Nant yr Arian has a visitor centre that includes parking, toilets, a cafe, two playgrounds, a mountain bike trail and lots of bird feeders that are teaming with birds. There are also a large number of red kites that are fed everyday; you can watch from the bird hide or viewing point next to the lake.

N.B. We’d like to apologise if the photos look a bit odd – we accidentally took them with a pink filter so we’ve edited them to make them less.. pink!

Barcud Trail

Distance: around 2/3 of a mile

Time: around 50 mins (it took us almost 1 1/2 hrs after stopping to look and play!)


The beginning of the Barcud Trail is just to the right of the visitor centre if you’re looking from the car park. It’s clearly signposted.


We picked up our animal puzzle trail leaflet from here too. It has rhymes for children to guess the animal they’re looking for and a map to give you a rough idea of where they are around the lake… we won’t be giving any hiding places away in our blog!

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Follow the zig-zagging path; keeping your eyes peeled for the first animal in the puzzle trail.

The trail continues around the edge of the lake with clear way-markers to show you the way. Remember to check your puzzle trail map to help you find the animals.

Stop and have a look across the lake for a view of the old slate mines.


There are lots of benches for resting legs dotted around the trail,  information signs that tell you more about the red kites at Bwlch Nant yr Arain and tree identification posts.



Shhh… look who we spotted!


There are some fabulous views of the Cambrian Mountains over a second lake to the right of the trail.



At this junction turn left to get to the kite hide.


Here you’ll find lots of information about the red kites and other birds that live here.

What birds can you spot on the lake?


You’re now at the top end of the lake. Take a moment to stop and admire the scenery, it is simply beautiful here.


Our adventurer loves jumping off things – these tree stumps were perfect!

In fact, we sometimes have a hard time keeping her on a path at all; she’d much rather be off-road (in safe places).

The trail continues to hug the edge of the lake, bringing you to a jetty…


… with a magnificent backdrop.


The path now heads back towards the visitor centre, past a small shelter.


Here you’ll find birds of all shapes and sizes!


The Barcud Trail ends at when you arrive back at the visitor centre. Did you find all of the animals on the puzzle trail?

We’d also like to mention the viewing point that is on the opposite side of the car park to the visitor centre. From here there is an awe inspiring view down through the Cambrian Mountains to the sea in Cardigan Bay – it took our breath away.


Use this map to guide you on your way. Click to enlarge.


Click on the map below to view it on ViewRanger.

The map reference is SN 717 813.


The Barcud Trail at Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre is a Natural Resources Wales site. More information is available on their website or this great leaflet about the Barcud Trail.

Directions: Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre is nine miles east of Aberystwyth on the A44.

Happy wandering,

The Beckingham Family

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