RHINOGS | BLUEBELL WOOD | MAWDDACH | PRECIPICE WALK | COED Y BRENIN | YNYS | SNOWDON
If you have a dog, off-lead walks will have to be restricted to the beaches because of the ubiquity of tasty, chaseable sheep.
The Rhinogs are the mountains behind Murmur-y-Don to the east. They are of no consequence whatsoever until you get lost in them, when they become demonic and terrifying. For serious mountain walkers only. Rhinog Fawr is said to offer one of the great walking experiences in Wales.
CORS-Y-GEDOL (6 miles from MMyD)
A pleasant walk, virtually flat, into the Rhinogs from the Cors-y-Gedol car park to Llyn Bodlyn. 6.8 miles there and back. Drive past the gorgeous (and private) mediaeval manor house of Cors-y-Gedol to reach the car park. In the same location you can visit the
BLUEBELL WOOD, Cors-y-Gedol / Ysgethin
If you are here in late April / early May this is a must — an easy stroll through the most gorgeous carpet of bluebells you are ever likely to see. Park the car at the side of the drive before the big house. And if you want to lengthen your walk, head on down to the tumbling Ysgethin river (just follow the roar of water) and walk along its banks till you reach the very agreeable Ysgethin pub at the bottom. Send somebody back to get the car.
CWM BYCHAN / ROMAN STEPS
Killjoys tell us that the Roman Steps aren’t Roman, simply a mediaeval packhorse route. All we know is that a lot of work was put into building this staircase over a mountain pass, one of the must-see sights in the area. You don’t have to be a mountain walker to do the Roman Steps, although being fit does help. Highly recommended.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Flat as a pancake all the way — all ten miles of it. We park in Barmouth, take the bus to Dolgellau and get out at the College. Then we simply drop down onto the former railway track and walk back to Barmouth along the shores of the Mawddach Estuary. Dr Johnson said “The only walk in Britain more beautiful than the walk from Barmouth to Dolgellau is the walk from Dolgellau to Barmouth.”
Dr. Johnson clearly didn’t try this one. With its simply spectacular views, this is a very popular 3 mile local walk. The path does get a bit narrow but despite its name you don’t really need a head for heights. Although it helps.
“Royal Wood” is a Forestry Commission Forest Park, except that the Forestry Commission has now been taken over by Natural Resources Wales. Great for mountain biking, it offers a good variety of trails:
GoldRush Running Trail (8.5 miles) / Hill-walking boots or similar / Demanding walks
Half Marathon Running Trail (13.5 miles) / Hill-walking boots or similar / Demanding walks
Sarn Helen Running Trail — Long (5.2 miles) / Stout waterproof footwear / Moderate walks
Volcano Trail (7 miles) / Hill-walking boots or similar / Demanding walks
Gain Waterfall Trail (4.5 miles) / Hill-walking boots or similar / Demanding walks
Sarn Helen Running Trail — Short (2.7 miles) / Stout waterproof footwear / Moderate walks
Mynydd Penrhos Mountain Trail (3 miles) / Hill-walking boots or similar / Demanding walks
Glasdir Copper Trail (1 mile) / Stout waterproof footwear / Moderate walks
Waterfalls and Goldmines (3.7-5.7km) / Stout waterproof footwear / Moderate walks
Afon Eden Riverside Trail (1 mile) / Sensible footwear / Easy walks
Coed y Garth Trail (2.1 miles) / Stout waterproof footwear / Moderate walks
Cefndeuddwr Trail (1 mile) / Sensible footwear / Easy walks
Kings Guard Trail (850m-1.1km) / Sensible footwear / Easy walks
Forest Garden Discovery Trail (350m-1.2km) / Sensible footwear / Easy walks
There’s not a lot to see here but we find this little corner of Wales oddly compelling. Ynys (Welsh for ‘island’) is a little village on a lump of rock at the end of Morfa Harlech. When the sea lapped round the bottom of Harlech Castle, this would certainly have been an island. The little church has a standing stone with an inscription in Latin dating from the C12, long before the castle was built. We park outside the church, walk through the churchyard and cross a number of gullies on our route to the sea.
If you are intending to walk or climb Snowdon, you’ll have put your plans into action long before you read this, so we can’t offer you any advice, except Be Careful. It may not be the biggest mountain in the world but it can bite, and bite hard. Why do you think we have an air ambulance rescue service in Caernarfon?
THE THERESA MAY WALKS
In April 2017 Prime Minister Theresa May took a short break at Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel in Penmaenpool, near Dolgellau. On her walks she mulled over Britain’s future and decided to call a snap election. You can see the routes she took to arrive at that decision here. History in the making, we are.