Tan-y-Bwlch railway station on the way from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, offers a delightful woodland walk down to Llyn Mair (Lake Mair) and is well worth a visit.
Tan-y-Bwlch, meaning under the pass, is in the Vale of Ffestiniog, approximately 430ft (130m) above sea level and 7 miles from Porthmadog. It was built in 1836 to carry slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog to be exported by sea.
This is a real shame as it is literally only a few steps from the railway platform to "Coed Llyn Mair". There you will find a delightful woodland walk (nature trail), easy to navigate and on very well defined and reasonably smooth but steep path, guiding you through what looks like a rain forest down to "Llyn Mair" (Lake Mair).
"Llyn Mair" is a large artificial lake. It was created by William Edward Oakeley (of Plas Tan-y-Bwlch) as a 21st birthday present for his daughter Mair. "Llyn Mair" is Welsh for "Mary's lake". Plas Tan-y-Bwlch was the first house in North Wales to have electric lighting, powered from its own hydro-electric station, which was built in the 1890s.
Today "Llyn Mair" has a footpath enabling visitors to walk around it, and there is a beautiful picnic area with benches close to the water. In the woodland, along the edges of the streams, otters can sometimes be seen hunting for fish, frogs and other otter delicacies. There are also 'Greater Horseshoe Bats', Britain's most endangered bat species, and 'Lesser Horseshoe Bats' nesting in the woodlands.