SNPA Strapline


Ogwen Lake


Cwm Idwal

Cwm Idwal is held in high regard for being of scientific interest from its various rocks and soils to the different plant life that's unique to the area. Ice-age sculptured areas are obvious to the eye, it's during this time that Cwm Idwal's landscape was formed, and it left examples of local geography, geology and vegetation that we can appreciate to this day.

The reserve, the first in Wales, was established in 1954. A nature path has been built around the lake to present some of the area's characteristics to visitors. Details of the walk can be found on this section underneath 'Activities'.

360 Panoramic view from Cwm Idwal

360 Panoramic view from Cwm Idwal

The story behind the name Idwal is one that treads a fine line between truth and mythology. In the 12th Century, Owain, Prince of Gwynedd decided that Nefydd Hardd was to be responsible for his son, Idwal. Nefydd however was jealous of Idwal because he was an intelligent and strong boy, whilst his own son, Dunawd could not compete with him. Dunawd decided to push Idwal into the lake so that he would drown. Owain banished Nefydd from the kingdom of Gwynedd and named the lake Idwal in memory of his son. It is said that no bird flies over the lake’s surface and that a wailing voice can be heard when there is a storm in the Cwm.

  • Approaching Cwm Idwal

    Approaching Cwm Idwal (© SNPA)

  • East side of Cwm Idwal

    East side of Cwm Idwal (© SNPA)

  • Pen yr Ole Wen

    Pen yr Ole Wen (© SNPA)

  • Cwm Idwal and the Idwal Slabs

    Cwm Idwal and the Idwal Slabs (© SNPA)

  • Climbing on the Idwal Slabs

    Climbing on the Idwal Slabs (© SNPA)

  • Cwm Idwal

    Cwm Idwal from above (© SNPA)

  • Wild Goat

    Wild Goat (© SNPA)

  • Pied Wagtail

    Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba) (© SNPA)

  • (© SNPA)

Header image - Cwm Idwal (© Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales)