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 Wales > Walks in Wales  >   Walking by the Dolgoch Falls in the lush Fathew Valley, South West Snowdonia, Wales

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the hairy legged hiker walking in WalesWhere is it? In the heart of the beautiful Tal-y-Llyn Valley, southern Snowdonia National Park, yet but 4 miles from the beaches of Tywyn.
How long will it take ? : Approximately 1 hour.
What's the attraction? : Waterfalls, mosses and ferns, trees and rocks carpeted in rich emerald green moss. If you like moss, as I do, you will like this walk!
Essentials : Picnic, as there is a nice picnic spot at the top of the Falls. Good footwear for the not so good stone steps. Maybe a towel as there are nice pools at the top of the falls for paddling.
Rating : Mostly easy as it is a very short walk, but there are some steep sections. Take care if you decide to return via the irregular stone steps (not recommended) especially when wet.
Car Parking : Car Park, pay and display out side the Dolgoch Falls hotel.
Facilities : Toilets (for use of Tea Room customers only) and other refreshments are available at the tea rooms in the Dolgoch Falls Hotel.


Directions :   [ Map of Dolgoch Falls Walk location ]
From the A487 Machynlleth to Dolgellau road take the B4405 near Minffordd, signposted Tywyn. Travel down the Talyllyn valley past the beautiful Talyllyn Lake. Continue through the village of Abergynolwyn until reaching Dolgoch. The Car Park is at the front of the Dolgoch Falls Hotel.
Alternative Directions : From Tywyn take the A493 road north to Fairbourne. After a couple of miles take the B4405 to Dolgoch. The Car Park is at the front of the Dolgoch Falls Hotel.
Map opens in a new window

This walk is probably no more than a one mile round trip but I would allow at least an hour as time is The Afon (river) Fathew running through the Dolgoch Falls areaneeded to take in the beautiful falls and also to safely traverse the irregular stone steps. Turn left on leaving the Car  Park and follow the path through a gate and continue alongside the river. The first section of the lane is in good condition  and is suitable for wheelchair access as far as the lower falls.

If you are lucky you may see the Talyllyn Railway steam train passing overhead on the viaduct that bridges the Fathew Valley.

Unfortunately for me, although I heard the teasing sound of the engine whistle several times I never spotted the train on the bridge! The lower falls are a grand site and you can judge their height from the picture below. To the left of the falls is an old miners cave that extends into the rock face.

From the lower falls the path bears left and upwards, eventually splitting into two paths. Choose the right fork as this keeps you close to the river. Follow the path along the riverside. There are fantastic ferns and mosses that carpet the hillside, the trees, and the rocks. You will soon reach the steps that lead up to the Talyllyn Railway Bridge crossing the Fathew Valleymiddle and upper falls. Take great care on the steps or you could have a nasty accident, especially in the wet weather.

The local authorities have constructed the paths to enable walkers to have great views of the middle falls.

From here it's on and upwards again but it's well worth the effort as there is a lovely picnic site at the top of the walk and some nice pools that invite a paddle, depending on the Welsh weather of course.

There are two options for the return route.

One option is to retrace your steps  and take the steep rock steps that are closer to the river on the way back down. But I would strongly recommend the alternative path, better safe than sorry! . It may not be as picturesque as the riverside steps but it is a pleasant walk through the trees and most importantly it by passes the irregular stone steps which are an accident waiting to happen.

Follow the path through the woods and about halfway down the hillside you will see a bridge crossing The lower falls at Dolgoch Fallsthe river. Cross the river and follow the path, there is a slight upwards section (but look to your left and the hillside is carpeted with thick emerald green moss) and then the path continues on this bank of the river to the lower falls where you rejoin the tarmac path that leads you back to the Car Park.

The woods are a haven for wildlife – look out for squirrels, pied flycatchers and redstarts, among other species. In the shade of the trees, besides the mosses and the ferns, you will find plants like fluffy white flowered meadowsweet and golden saxifrage.

The area was originally given as a gift to the local people and while entry is free of charge there is a donation box which helps towards the upkeep of the footpaths.

 

Please -- click on the pictures -- for enlarged pictures of the walk alongside the Dolgoch Falls, Dysynni Valley, Wales, UK.

Moss covered rocks at Dolgoch Falls Upper Falls at Dolgoch Falls
Ferns and moss covered rocks at Dolgoch Falls
 
Upper Falls at Dolgoch Falls
Top water falls at Dolgoch Falls   Picnic site at Dolgoch Falls
Top water falls at Dolgoch Falls
 
Picnic site at Dolgoch Falls
Views over the valley from the Dolgoch Falls
The safer footpaths at Dolgoch Falls
Views over the valley from the Dolgoch Falls
 
The safer footpaths at Dolgoch Falls.
Waterfall at Dolgoch Falls
Near the end of the walk at Dolgoch Falls
Waterfall at Dolgoch Falls
 
Near the end of the walk at Dolgoch Falls
 
 

© All pictures copyright Bernard Wellings

 

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