Fisherman's Path and Cwm Bychan
This circular walk starts in the picturesque village of Beddgelert and follows the River Glaslyn, climbs up through Cwm Bychan before descending to Llyn Dinas and returning back along the Glaslyn to Beddgelert.
The walk passes 'Gelert's Grave' where according to the story, Beddgelert took its name from Gelert, Prince Llywelyn’s faithful hound. The hound was left to guard Llywelyn’s baby but when the prince returned the baby was missing. Upon finding the hound stained in blood, Llywelyn feared the worst and killed Gelert. He then heard crying and found the baby alive beside the body of a wolf, which Gelert had killed protecting his master’s child. Llywelyn's heart was broken.
The Welsh Highland Railway that runs 25 miles from Caernarfon to Porthmadog follows the path along the first section and was first opened in 1923 but the decline of the slate industry and advent of motorbuses meant that demand for the railway was decreasing. It was closed in 1937. The railway has since re-opened to carry tourists and this part of the journey is extremely popular as the line meanders through the spectacular Aberglaslyn Pass.
Before the ‘Cob’ was built in 1812 across the Traeth Mawr estuary in Porthmadog, the tidal water used to reach as far as the Aberglaslyn bridge.
The path climbs up through Cwm Bychan past the remains of old copper mines. Copper ore was extracted here and transported via a cable car system down the valley and then by horse and cart to Porthmadog where it was shipped to Swansea for refining into copper.
On your return to Beddgelert, you will pass Sygun Copper Mine, which dates back to the early nineteenth century. It closed in 1903 but underwent restoration work in the 1980s before opening to the public in 1986.
Distance: 6 miles - 10 km
Time: Around 4-6 hours
Grade: Moderate Walk
Terrain: Some rough, wet terrain. Wear appropriate footwear
Start/Finish: National Park car park, Beddgelert on the A498 (SH 588 481)
Parking: National Park car park, Beddgelert on the A498 (SH 588 481)
Post Code: LL55 4YJ
Relevant Map: OS Ordnans Exp OL17 (Snowdon & the Conwy Valley)
1. Walk from the car park towards the main road, turning left past the Information Centre.
2. Head towards the bridge at the centre of the village and then walk along the narrow road between the large bridge and Tŷ Isaf (National Trust building) and follow the sign for Gelert’s Grave.
3. Before the footbridge, turn right and follow the footpath along the bank of the River Glaslyn.
4. Within approximately 200m, turn right to visit 'Gelert's Grave'.
5. Continue past 'Gelert's Grave' on your right.
6. Carry on along the path to re-join the riverside footpath and turn right to continue the walk.
7. Keep walking along the riverside footpath through a gate made of wood, with two fish carved into the woodwork. This denotes the beginning of the Fisherman’s path.
8. Cross the footbridge beside the railway bridge and go through two kissing gates that cross the railway line. Take care when crossing!
9. Follow the footpath along the River Glaslyn but be careful, as it can get extremely slippery in places. Take special care as you round Craig y Fwtres which is very narrow.
10. Cross a wooden foot bridge.
11. When Aberglaslyn Bridge comes into view follow the footpath as it climbs left up the stone steps.
12. This part of the footpath goes through a beautiful copse to a wooden gate.
13. Follow the sign for Cwm Bychan car park, keeping right. (Toilets available here).
14. As you approach the car park, head towards the tunnel which runs underneath the railway line.
15. Follow the path through a wood and after passing through a gate, continue the gradual climb up Cwm Bychan.
16. After around 600m you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Cnicht and the Moelwynion on your right and Traeth Bychan to your rear.
17. After a further 500m you will pass the remains of pylons from a disused mine.
18. After you pass the last pylon, follow the footpath up the valley.
19. After around 100m you will come to a fork in the path, take the right hand path and continue up the valley.
20. At the head of the valley, climb over the stile and follow the footpath sign to your left. You will now be rewarded with spectacular views of Snowdon on your left and Moel Siabod and Nant Gwynant ahead of you.
21. When you reach a junction by the old copper mining site of Llwyndu follow the path to the right towards Llyn Dinas.
22. As the path steepens, Llyn Dinas will come into view.
23. When you reach the lake, follow the footpath to the left.
24. Go through the kissing gate and carry on past the bridge keeping the river on your right hand side.
25. After 500m go through another kissing gate.
26. When you reach the tarmac road, turn left, walk past the entrance to Tŷ Hen on your right and follow the road towards the Sygun Copper Mine.
27. By the entrance to the mine take a right and follow the public footpath along the tarmac road.
28. Follow the road for just over 1km until you reach a bridge crossing over the river to the main road, go through the kissing gate on your left and follow the footpath for a further 300m.
29. Having gone through two kissing gates, follow the footpath straight ahead between a row of houses and the river where you pass a row of houses by the green, which has become a characteristic image of Beddgelert.
30. Go over the footbridge and follow the same route you took at the start of your journey towards the car park.