is it? Dolwyddelan
near Betws y Coed, Snowdonia north Wales.
What's a Cwm? A hanging valley.
Allow : 2 to 3 hours, Distance 5 miles / 8km
Moderate. Apart from a steepish section at the start it is a relatively
easy walk on forest track or tarmac roads.
What's the attraction? Includes
forest track, views of Snowdonia, waterfalls, tumbling streams and
clear mountain pools, an ancient burial chamber, and an archaeological
Car Parking : Parking at the Railway Station car park Dolwyddelan.
But why not let the train take the strain and use the Conwy Valley
Railway? Its a great trip in itself. But don't forget to stick your
hand out to stop the train!
Rail and Bus Services : For times of buses and trains in the
Conwy and Lledr Valley contact Travelline
Directions : [ Map
of Hidden Valley Walk location ]
From Betws-y-Coed take the A470 west toward Dolwyddelan. Turn left at
the Gwydir Pub in Dolwyddelan. Continue on Church Street to Railway Station
Leave the train or park the car at Dolwyddelan Station car park.
Exit the car park bearing left and left again, crossing the bridge that
spans both the Afon Lledr and the Conwy Valley Railway Line. Walk past
a few houses then bear right over a concrete bridge onto the forest road.
The walk starts here, the track making a moderate climb between the pine
trees. At the top of the first climb you can choose either of two
routes (the tracks re-converge at the head of the valley). Take the left
hand fork for the best views (and the steepest route!) and the rocky
crag of Carreg Alltrem soon appears to the left. The rock face is popular
with climbers and the track affords a good view of their efforts. Continue
to the highest point of the track and the view opens out with the waterfall
at the far end of the Cwm coming into view. Three homesteads are visible
on the valley floor, and a look back down the valley reveals the Carneddau
mountains in the distance behind the village of Dolwyddelan.
From this point the walk is either downhill or level ground. Continue
to the head of the valley, rejoin the lower track, and continue round
the head of the valley and head back up the western side of the cwm.
Cross two small bridges before arriving at Ty Cwm (The House in the
Cwm). In the field adjacent to the cottage you will see a grassy mound.
This is either an ancient burial chamber or a motte and bailey castle,
opinions differ. I would suggest, taking into account its size, that
it is a burial mound.
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Pass through the yard of Ty Cwm and continue to walk down the valley.
(This section of the road is Sarn Helen, the ancient Roman road that continues
via Pont y Pant to Betws y Coed). On your right you will see two cottages,
one of them, Gwyndy, has a small lake.
A further half a mile or so and you come to the remains of the 15th century
house that was home to Maredudd
Ap Ifan (Ieuan), his several women, and his twenty children. This
has recently been the subject of an archaeological investigation.
Indeed as of 2007 the local historians are still working on the property
and work is being undertaken to prevent further deterioration of what
remains of the walls and floors.
This is a pleasant spot for a break in the walk and there are picnic
tables at the roadside close to Meredudd's house.
From here it is but a short walk to the end of the Cwm, but Cwm Penamnen
saves the best till the last. with the Afon Cwm Penamnen forming delightful
clear mountain pools, and tumbling waterfalls among the rocky outcrops.
You exit the hidden valley through a metal gate and it is a short walk
downhill through the housing estate, bearing right at the bottom of the
hill. (Look to the west at this point, you will need to peer over the
railway line boundary wall, and you will see Dolwyddelan
Castle in the distance). The bridge, Pentre Bont, from where you started
the walk is 100 yards along the lane.
If you need refreshments after the walk it's only a few hundred yards
into the village where you will find a Pub, the Gwydir, that serves good
ales and nice food, or alternatively you can have a coffee sitting outside
the Spar shop in the centre of the village.