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Exploring South Eryri (Snowdonia)

A woodland scene on the Dolmelynllyn Estate, Gwynedd. There are several trees with sturdy, twisting branches and the forest floor has many rocks covered with bright green moss and lichen.
Trees and rocks covered with lichen and moss on the Dolmelynllyn Estate | © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

The landscapes of south Eryri (Snowdonia) provide a range of habitats for wildlife and variety of interest to explore. The area includes one of the first parcels of land to ever have been gifted to the National Trust. Find out what makes this area so unique.


The Dolmelynllyn woodland is predominantly sessile oak trees, with most of Britain’s native deciduous trees growing here. Although the plantation is around 200 years old, it grows on an ancient woodland site. The existence of small-leaved lime trees is a clue to older beginnings.

A shot of the Gamlan river, which is flowing fast though dense woodland in Dolmelynllyn, Gwynedd, Wales. Its banks are covered in moss and grass.
The Gamlan river, Dolmelynllyn | © National Trust Images/John Miller

An exceptional variety of lichen and Bryophyte species live and grow on this estate, which are extremely rare elsewhere in Britain. The estate and woodlands are both designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Special Areas of Conservation.


The Cregennan estate includes two sheep and cattle farms spread across heath and woodlands. The landscape is dotted with small drystone enclosures where livestock once sheltered.

Pared y Cefn Hir

Cregennan and Pared y Cefn Hir are nationally important geological sites and also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). You'll also find plenty plant life variety including species of mossy saxifrage, marsh St John’s wort and fen bedstraw.

Early volcanic activity

The area is also an important location for the study of early Ordovician volcanic activity in south (Eryri) Snowdonia. The area has a wide range of rock types including fossil-bearing marine sedimentary rocks, intrusive and extrusive volcanic rocks.

A view down to towards Barmouth, Gwynedd, from the gorse-covered cliffs at Dinas Oleu. Beyond the rooftops of the town, a beach and the sea beyond is visible.
The gorse-covered cliff-land at Dinas Oleu, above Barmouth | © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Dinas Oleu

Dinas Oleu is the first donation of land given to the National Trust. It is a gorse-covered hillside with small areas of sycamore and oak trees. Warm breezes provide ideal habitats for plants such as sea stork’s-sill and knotted clover. Some rare liverworts and mosses have been recorded here.

A scarce habitat at Cae Fadog

Cae Fadog, adjoining Dinas Oleu, is dominated by heath. It's a scarce habitat which gives the area special importance. Plants found here include birdsfoot trefoil and wild thyme.

View from Centenary Viewpoint, Dinas Oleu, Wales

Discover more at South Snowdonia

Find out how to get to South Snowdonia, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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Looking down towards Barmouth, Gwynedd, from an elevated vantage point on the cliffs of Dinas Oleu, which are covered in brown- and ochre-coloured gorse and moss.

Our beginnings at Dinas Oleu 

Dinas Oleu became our first piece of land that we would protect for everyone, for ever. Discover why Mrs Fanny Talbot donated this land for protection.