The countryside around Aberystwyth is packed with a range of woods and forests - a mixture of working forests and recreation land. All make great free days out if you like exploring the countryside and its wildlife.
This is a very large woodland site with a whole host of activities including walks, cycle trails and red kite feeding with a shop and information centre.
The site is very easy to locate, on the main A44 road 10 miles (16 km) out of town between Cwmbrwyno and Llywernog. Buses 525 and X47 call.
At the other end of the scale to Nant yr Arian, Black Covert is a very pleasant, quiet little wood on the banks of the River Ystwyth. The site has easy walks through the woods and along the river, along with a picnic site.
On the hillside nearby is Coed Alltfedw - a secluded, dense mixed wood and butterfly habitat. From Black Covert, head back to the bridge then turn left, towards Crosswood. Pass under the old railway bridge and the walk start is just ahead of you. The waymarked, circular route leads you right around the best of this lovely, quiet site. You'll see a tranquil little lake, thickly-wooded slopes with some seriously tall trees and the odd red kite, plus the remains of a hill fort and, with a bit of luck, a couple of butterflies.
Both sites are located about 9 miles (14 km) out of town along the B4340 at Trawsgoed. Turn right where Llanilar is signposted, head over the bridge and turn left. No public transport, other than T21 taxi-bus.
Located amongst working saw mills, Tynbedw has two walks through the forests, and there's also a trail through a neighbouring nature reserve.
Coed Craig yr Ogof walk is the shorter and easier of the two woodland walks, leading you along the side of the valley and back again with views across the wooded hillsides.
The longer walk climbs up through the firs of Coed Tynybedw then on a rambling route around the hillside, changing between wide roads and little paths along a stream.
Across the road, the towering trees of the forests are contrasted sharply by the gorse and heather of the Grogwynion Nature Reserve. A pathway winds through the plantlife alongside the shallow river, with plenty of space for picnics too.
Located a little over 11 miles (18 km) out of town along the B4340 and a further minor road. Follow the B4340 past Trawsgoed and the two turnings for Llanafan then over the bridge and turn left. Pass Tyn-y-bedw farm, and the site is a little further along with a car park on your left.
This hillside site is next to the Ystwyth at Pontrhydygroes, once home to a busy lead-mining industry. Access to the woods from the village involves a walk across the impressive Miners' Bridge high up over the river. This was built in 2002, over 80 years after the original mineworkers' bridge is thought to have collapsed.
The waymarked walk around the woods is about 2½ miles (4 km) in length and offers a variety of sights. As well as exploring dense, mixed woodland, the walk emerges into a clearing with views down the valley before proceeding downhill to a waterfall and a walk along the fast-flowing river.
Throughout the walk information boards offer interesting information and facts about the trees, plantlife and native wildlife.
Pontrhydygroes is about 15 miles (24 km) outside town - a few miles past the Tynbedw site (directions above). The path to the bridge is at the southern end of the village on the B4340.
A picnic spot by a small stream, with a gentle 1½ mile walk leading off into the woodland. Less secluded than other sites, but busy with birds and other wildlife and also worth visiting to see the displays of flowers in the spring.
Located 3 miles (5 km) out of Aberystwyth, just off the A4159 on the approach to Penrhyncoch. Bus 526 calls nearby.