Eryri National Park is home to many Arctic Alpine plants. These include Alpine meadow-grass, tufted saxifrage, Alpine saxifrage, Alpine woodsia and Alpine cinquefoil.
A particular favourite of ours, so much so that we named one of our Heritage Steam locomotives after it, is a charming and delicate Alpine flower called the Snowdon lily, or brwynddail y mynydd, which means ‘rush-leaves of the mountain’.
Birds frequently spotted in the area include the meadow pipit, wheatear, raven and ring ouzel. Snowdonia is also the UK’s main population centre for chough, a rare member of the crow family, instantly recognisable to the seasoned bird watcher because of its distinctive vocalisations and red beak.
As the railway climbs higher, look out for Moel Hebog in the distance rising above the village of Beddgelert. Moel Hebog means Hill of the Falcon and is one of the many Snowdonian homes of the peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest animal.
Mammals living on the mountain include feral goats, otters and polecats. It’s also thought that pine martens still live in the area, with sightings reported periodically.
When you visit, make sure to keep a watchful eye out for the Snowdon beetle – also known as the rainbow leaf beetle. The entire adult population is thought to amount to just 1000, so if you do get to see one, consider yourself very lucky.