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 Wales > Walks in Wales  >   A walk round Llyn Trawsfynydd, Snowdonia, Gwynedd, North Wales

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the hairy legged hiker walking in WalesWhere is it?  Llyn Trawsfynydd Lake, Trawsfynydd near Blaenau Ffestiniog, Snowdonia
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 clothing
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.

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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 Lyn TrawsfynyddStation 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.

View across the Lake withe Arenig mountains as a backdropAs 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 here.

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.

Woodlands border the edge of Llyn TrawsfynyddContinue 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 Madryn. 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.

Trawsfynydd village overlooking the LakeLeaving 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.

Please -- click on the pictures -- for enlarged pictures of the Trawsfynydd Lake walk, in Snowdonia North Wales, UK.

Llyn Trawsfynydd Power Station, the Elephant in the room Moss covered trees in the woodlands
Trawsfynydd Power Station, the Elephant in the room, it doesn't look too bad..really?
 
Moss covered trees in the woodlands
New Maentwrog Dam   Looking over the dam toward Maentwrog
After the woodland we come to the New Maentwrog Dam
 
Looking over the dam toward Maentwrog
Noel from Blaenau Ffestiniog who works at the Dam
Another view of the Lake
Noel from Blaenau Ffestiniog who works at the Dam  
Another view of the Lake.
Another friendly local says hello but he does look a bit wary of me Trail marker points the way from the Dam
Larry the lamb says hello but he does look a bit wary of me
 
Trail marker points the way from the Dam
Trail heads towards the woodlands of Coed y Rhygen   After skirting the trees there is a slight climb uphill
Trail heads towards the woodlands of Coed y Rhygen
 
After skirting the trees there is a slight climb uphill
Views over Trawsfynydd toward the village and the Arenig mountains in the distance
The trail joins a country lane passing farm properties
Views over Trawsfynydd toward the village, with the Arenig mountains in the distance
 
The trail joins a country lane passing farm properties.
A long bridge crosses the lake toward the village of Trawsfynydd Looking back toward the Rhynog Mountains
Eryl from Blaenau working on the bridge that crosses the lake toward Trawsfynydd.
 
Looking back toward the Rhynog Mountains
St Madryn's Church Trawsfynydd comes into view   Lane leading to the village
St Madryn's Church comes into view
 
Lane leading to the village
St Madryns Church Trawsfynydd
Buy an iced lolly or grab a pint in Trawsfynydd High Street
St Madryns Church Trawsfynydd
 
Buy an iced lolly or down a pint in Trawsfynydd High Street.
Home of Hedd Wyn Rhynog mountains
Visit the home of Hedd Wyn in Traws High Street
 
Back to the trail and more views of the Rhynog mountains
Family of wild geese on the lake   View through the trees across the Lake
Large family of wild geese on the lake
 
View through the trees across the Lake
Walk through the woodlands
Final stretch of the walk cuts through the birch and oak woodlands
 
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© All pictures copyright Bernard Wellings

 

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