is it? Llyn Trawsfynydd Lake, Trawsfynydd near Blaenau
How long will it take ? : Approximately 4 to 5 hr. Distance
approx. 8 miles, 13 km
What's the attraction? : Great views including the Moelwyn
Mountains, the Arenigs, and Cadair Idris
Essentials : Stout footwear. An OS map and compass, wet weather
Rating : Moderate
Car Parking : There are two car parks both close to the turn
off from the A470. The main car park is close to the Power Station.
We chose the other car park that is close to the lake and the now
redundant employees social club. Exit
the A470 and the car park is 100 yards on your right.
Facilities : Refreshments available in the village of Trawsfynydd
in the second part of the walk
Directions : [ Map
of Trawsfynydd Lake Walk location ]
Travelling from the south on the A470. Continue past the village
of Trawsfynydd for 2 miles, 3 km, turn left at signs for Trawsfynydd
Power Station. Follow the lane to main car park.
From the north, Blaenau Ffestiniog, travel south on the A470 for
approx. 8 miles,13 km. Turn right at the sign for Trawsfynydd Power
Station and follow the lane to main car park.
Although I have driven past Trawsfynydd many times while travelling
to the west coast I had never visited the lake before 2008. I suppose
I stayed away because of it's association with the now redundant Nuclear
Power Station based on the edge of the lake. But what a mistake on my
part. After visiting I have to say it is one of the most beautiful lakes
in Wales with fantastic views of the Moelwyn and Arenig Mountains. But
what makes it particularly special is the open countryside and the natural
broadleaf woodlands around the lake. There are oak, birch, and hazel
trees in abundance and none of those horrible pine plantations that were
inflicted on the countryside by earlier generations. I don't know the
reason for the lack of the forestry commission pine trees but Trawsfynydd
goes to show what we are missing on many of the
other Welsh Lakes. Maybe it was a trade off......seeing as
we have put a nuclear power station on your doorstep we won't compound
your misery by adding pine forests!
Lets Go !
Exit the car park and take the tarmac road heading
south west. The road soon takes you past the power station buildings
and into open countryside before entering mixed woodlands. Keep an eye
open for some large wasp's nests hanging from the treetops.
The road leads to the Maentwrog New Dam at the north western corner
of the lake. We were fortunate to meet Noel, a worker at the dam, who
explained that the water is carried in huge underground pipes to feed
the Hydro Electric Power Station at Maentwrog in the valley below.
As we set off to continue the walk, ....the wrong way, Noel was again
helpful in directing us on to the correct path to continue the round
the lake walk!
As Noel explained to us you leave the dam by taking the track in a
south westerly direction. The track bears to the right running parallel
with a concrete drainage channel. At the end of the channel bear left
through a gateway and follow the single file track southward. Head toward
the lower slopes of the hill in a south easterly direction.
The track is good and the ground is covered with tussocky
grass and bracken. As the season progresses the bracken might cover the
track but there are waymarkers and the direction to the lower slopes
of the hill is obvious.
The waymarkers direct you toward the edge of the woodland, Coed y Rhygen.
Follow the track and the waymarkers alongside the edge of Coed y Rhygen
before climbing the hill to a rock strewn plateau below the slopes of
Foel Penolau. This is a good viewpoint and we chose to have our break
To the north above Blaenau Ffestiniog can be seen the Moelwyn Mountains,
Moelwyn Mawr (770m) and Moelwyn Bach (711) and across the lake
stretching from the east to the south east are the Arenig mountains Arenig
Fawr (854m), Arenig Fach (689), Moel Llyfnant (750m) and Moel
y Feidiog (563m), while to the south are Rhinog Fawr (720) and Rhinog Fach
(711) leading to Cadair Idris (893) above the town of Dolgellau.
Continue the walk following the waymarkers south as the path descends
through the trees to a tarmac road. The countryside seems to get better
as the walk progresses with tumbling streams and verdant fields bordered
with oak and birch trees. The track by now a small road continues south
east edging closer to the lakeside. In the distance can be seen our next
target, a long narrow bridge crossing the lake from the south bank to
the village of Trawsfynydd.
As the road gets closer to both the lake and the bridge keep your eyes
open for the concrete cob, or wall, to the left of the road. Walk as
far as the damaged concrete posts that once formed the fence that bordered
a pathway to the bridge. Take this path and cross the long narrow footbridge
over to the other side of the lake. When we visited in 2008 the walkway
was being reboarded by a young man called Eryl and his mate from Blaenau
Ffestiniog. On crossing the bridge follow the track across the open
field, bear right along a gravel track toward the village on the hillside.
At the point where the gravel track bears to the right leave the gravel
track and take the left hand fork up hill. Climb over the gate and walk
up Ystryd Faen alongside a row of stone cottages to a square in the village.
On the left of the square is the old church of St
The church is well worth a visit if only for the pleasant views from
the churchyard and the original ancient circular graveyard that pre-dates
the church building. The original church of St Madryn was established
in 560 and is where the Catholic Saint John Roberts was probably baptised.
The church is on the pilgrim's trail from Trawsfynydd to Cymer Abbey.
Leaving the churchyard take the lane at the north east corner of the
square. Follow Maengwyn Street to Pen y Gareg Street. Bear left along
Pen y Careg Street. Half way up the street at Pen Lan, after the White
Lion (Llew Gwyn) Public House, is the home of the famous Welsh poet Hedd
Wyn. (I believe Hedd Wyn's nephew still gives guided tours of the small
terraced house). Continue north along Pen y Careg Street bearing left
at the junction with the A470. Walk along the A470 for 1000 yards. Soon
after passing a lay by leave the A470 and follow the waymarkers for the
bike trail back toward the lakeside. It is a lovely spot, perfect for
a picnic, with a tumbling stream and, in early summer, a
host of golden iris or flag iris. The path leads to the lakeside before
cutting through a copse and then bearing to the right. Continue north
on the trail, still alongside the lake, before bearing right for a short
distance taking you away from the lake.
Look out for the track on the left of the trail and bear left again
cutting across a field before heading north through the woodlands. Information
boards amongst the trees explain the flora and fauna of the area. Soon
you reach a small inlet where the fishing boats are kept and the trail
joins up with the road that leads back to the car park.