Penllegaer woods, in Llangyfelch /Penllergaer, Swansea has been lovingly restored over the last couple of years by a group of volunteers committed to bringing the woods back to their former glory.
In the 19th century, the Penllergare Estate was owned by John Dillwyn Llewelyn, who invested in creating a beautiful landscape with lakes, waterfalls and hidden gardens; very much the style of early Victorian Britain. Despite their previous beauty, until recently the woods had been left to overgrow with parts of the gardens destroyed.
As the locals were committed to restoring the woods they campaigned to keep them and vowed to turn them into a place which locals and visitors would love to visit.
The woods are now looked after and managed by a not for profit charity who are committed to continuing to work on the restoration of the woods. After much fundraising and campaigning their next focus is on rebuilding the walled gardens and orchid house.
With around 12km of paths, it is now a great place to go for a walk with the pooch and / or the little ones. There is so much to explore and having walked there many times over the last year, we find no two walks are ever the same.
We tend not to stick to a set route and just end up exploring and having more of a wander around the woods. Most directions will take you past the main lake and to the waterfall, which is built out of quarry rocks.
Our kids love meandering through some of the narrow paths, climbing trees, hiding in the long bamboo, walking across mini bridges and just running about like loons. We even found some hidden hide aways on one of our walks.
We usually spend a couple of hours there, as there are plenty of walks and routes available.
If its been raining heavily make sure (unlike me) you wear appropriate footwear!
You can download a map before your visit or pick one up at the Coffee Shop which will give you more of a guide to the routes available.
The dog friendly coffee shop is a community coffee shop which is run by volunteers with all proceeds going towards the restoration of the woods. They offer a selection of cakes, teacakes and teas and coffees.
If you are looking for a more substantial bite to eat, then the nearby fully licensed Lezzets, situated next to the woods on a lay by on the A48, is a must visit for delicious pizzas and flatbreads. It is also dog friendly. Unfortunately, as it is outdoors, it is only opened from March to September. Have a look at our review of Lezzets here.
The coffee shop is dog friendly. It has baby changing and disabled toilets. The coffee shop is open daily until 4p.m.
The walks are largely not suitable for a pram or wheelchair. If taking a baby they are much better off in a baby-carry.
Entry to the woods is free. There is a car park with a barrier which charges 50p for an hour or £2 for all day.
Location: Penllergare Valley Woods is around 5 minutes from Junction 47 of the M4 and is signposted from the roundabout and A48.
For more information visit: www.penllergare.org