The weather may have turned cold but that’s no excuse to stay inside!
There’s no feeling better in the world than coming in from an exhilarating few hours in the freezing cold, cheeks rosy, fingers tingling, feeling so fresh and alive from all the clean, crisp air. We are very lucky to have so many fun winter activities near The Forge – here are just a few of our favourites.
Hill Walking on Moel Famau
The highest peak in the Clwydian Range at 554m has arguably the best views in North Wales, stretching all the way from the Snowdonia, right across the Berwyn and Llantisilio ranges through to the Cheshire Plains, the Wirral and Liverpool. On a clear day you can even see right across to the Pennines. With a children’s play park and ample car parking (although, be warned, you do need £2 in cash to get through the barrier) it is a straightforward 2km climb to the top. In the snow it is a stunning walk and you could be forgiven for thinking you are in the Alps! There is also plenty of opportunity for sledging, on an actual sledge, or just on your bottoms in our case! It takes about 3 hours there and back (with kids, probably much quicker without!) and then you can warm up again next to the fire at The Raven, a wonderful community pub in Llanarmon-yn-Ial, which serves fantastic food and puddings to die for – well you’ve earned it after all that walking right?!
Server InfoA Blast on the Beach at Kinmel Bay
If you love the sound of the waves and the smell of the sea, we can highly recommend a trip to our nearest beach – Kinmel Bay on the north coast is only 45 minutes away from us and offers miles and miles of uninterrupted sand and spectacular sand dunes to explore. Wrap up warm and enjoy a bracing march along the North Wales Coast Path before retreating to the gorgeous Kinmel Arms pub just inland for a lovely lunch. Here you can also enjoy freshly caught fish alongside a stunning white wine, made by our very own local Welsh vineyard, Gwinllan.
Bird and Animal Spotting
If pubs and/or walking are not really your thing, why not slow things down a bit and make the most of the snow to partake in some bird and animal spotting. When the weather is so cold it’s important to make sure the garden birds have plenty to eat (and drink, most importantly when their usual water sources can be frozen) so we’ve been experimenting with different food types to see what we can attract. It turns out that blue tits LOVE coconut, the woodpeckers can’t get enough of the peanuts and the bramblings are suckers for mixed seeds. Set yourself an hour to just sit, no phones or distractions, and count how many you can see. And then why not do some sleuthing to find animal tracks in the snow– where did they come from and where did they go? Can you match the prints to the species?
Play Inside, Outside!
We love the new Tin Shed at the Hawarden Estate Farm shop – a space where you can be outside but still enjoy a log burner to keep you warm, a ping pong table and lots of tables and chairs to enjoy a coffee while the kids burn off some energy on the adventure playground and fort. There are lots of events and workshops hosted here and it’s right next door to the farm shop which serves up a stonkingly hearty (and healthy) lunch and arguably the best coffee in North Wales...The closest you might get to a summer festival vibe in the middle of winter!
If the roads are too bad and you don’t want to risk taking the car anywhere, why not dig out your sledge and find your nearest hill. We are very lucky to have quite possibly the perfect sledging field at The Forge. A short, sharp descent followed by a gradual flat bit – the only thing you have to watch out for is not crashing into the tent decks!