Visiting Snowdonia

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Llyn Tegid, Y Bala - North

This walk leads along the northern hills above Llyn Tegid, offering striking views of the Arenig mountain and open countryside. As part of the Bwrlwm Eryri cultural heritage project, a verbal commentary has been produced for this route which gives a brief introduction to the legends, folklore, culture and history connected to the area. Along the route, look out for blue numbered signposts with Bwrlwm Eryri written on them – the numbers denote the relevant track number on your MP3.

Distance: About 6 miles (10Km)
Time: About 4-5 hours
Grade: Moderate Leisure Walk
Start: SNPA Car Park on Llyn Tegid foreshore
Finish: Commemorative Monument, Llanuwchllyn
Grid Reference: SH 923 357
Postcode: LL23 7YE
Terrain: Rough paths, tarmac roads & grass
Relevant Map: OS Explorer OL23 (Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid)
Parking: Pay & Display car park Llyn Tegid
Facilities: Toilets and picnic tables
Note: Bus Services operate between Bala & Llanuwchllyn

This map is intended as a rough guide only. You should use the most recent version of the relevant Ordnance Survey map (see above) when walking the route.

The Route

1. Go to the left from the Llyn Tegid foreshore car park and walk along the pavement, past Fron Feuno car park in Llanycil, until you see the driveway to Fron Feuno farm on the opposite side of the road.

After passing Fron Feuno car park you will see St Beuno’s Church on the left. The church was named after its founder, Saint Beuno, who, in the sixth century, used to travel from his monastery in Clynnog Fawr near Caernarfon all over North Wales to preach. Many renowned men are buried in the church cemetery – the most notable being the Rev. Thomas Charles, a prominent leader in the Methodist revival.

2. Cross the road and follow the middle track towards Fron Feuno farm. When you reach a turn in the track, follow the public footpath that leads off to the left. Follow the path through the trees. When you come out of the woods, walk up the field and follow the ditch until you see a waymarker. From the waymarker follow the path to the left until you reach a stream called Nant Gwenwyn Meirch. Walk down stream until you can cross over a footbridge.

In 1645 during the Civil War, Rowland Vaughan, a famous poet and royalist lived in Caer Gai, approximately a mile from this spot. When some locals realised that Oliver Cromwell’s knights were on their way to Caer Gai, they gathered some yew leaves, which are very poisonous to horses, and threw them into the stream knowing that the knights would stop here so the horses could drink. That is exactly what happened and the horses became ill, and ever since the stream is known as Nant Gwenwyn Meirch (stream of horses’ poison).

3. Follow the path across the field, and straight through Plas Moel y Garnedd Caravan Park, until you reach a stile. Go over the stile and across the field, heading for Moel y Garnedd Uchaf farm. The public footpath leads to the right and around the farm.Once you have past the farm, follow the public footpath signs that lead you towards Ty’n y Rhos.From Ty’n y Rhos, follow the signs that direct you over the Gwastadros open country.

This heathland, known as Gwastadros, is a perfect habitat for birds such as Skylark, Curlew and Northern Wheatear. This heathland has always been common land which meant that local people had a right to bring their animals to graze here. It is a very wet and poor terrain to keep livestock, and as this was the only land available for the poor people of the area to support their family, life was very hard.

4. Cross the open heathland, aiming for the pine trees. After passing the trees, follow the path along the edge of the field until you reach a country road.

5. Follow the road down to the left and take the second public footpath on the right. Follow the footpath across the field, leading towards Llwyn Mawr Uchaf farm. From Llwyn Mawr Uchaf, go straight ahead along the track and across the field towards Llwyn Mawr Isaf farm. From Llwyn Mawr Isaf, follow the track towards the road near Pentre-felin.

6. From the road, the walk will follow a track towards Coed Swch y Pentre woodland. This section is over permissive path so it won’t appear on an OS map. When you reach a bend in the track at Coed Swch y Pentre, veer to the left off the track and follow the edge of the woodland.

7. When you reach the southern tip of the young woodland, follow the public footpath to the right. The path will take you past the northern side of the site of an old Roman fort, Caer Gai, and then along a track towards Werglodd Wen farm. The track will fork near Werglodd Wen – follow the track to the right past the front of the farm.

The history connected with Caer Gai goes way back. Originally, this was the site of an old Roman fort – with a Roman road going right by, and a Roman cemetery and baths nearby. A farmhouse stands on the site today but some of the fort’s remains can still be seen. The site was named Caer Gai (Cai’s Fort) after the mythical hero Cai fab Cynyr (Cai son of Cynyr) who is connected to Arthurian legends including Culhwch ac Olwen (Culhwch and Olwen) and Y Tair Rhamant (the Three Romances) to name a few. He is also mentioned in the work of aristocrat poets, which refers to Caer Gai as his home.

8. From Werglodd Wen, follow the path until you join a country road on a sharp corner. Follow the road to the right and past Werglodd Ddu.

Werglodd Wen, which used to be part of the Glanllyn estate, was the home of the Rev. Michael Jones and Mary Jones. When her husband passed away, Mary Jones continued to live there. In 1859 an open election was held and landowners kept an eye on how their tenants were voting. Mary Jones was thrown out of her home by the Tory landowner because her son, Michael D Jones, had been trying to persuade other tenants to vote Liberal. Michael D Jones is an important figure in the history of Bala. He was the Principal of Bala Theological College, and he played a major part in establishing a Welsh settlement in Patagonia in the 1860s, where the Welsh language would be the language of religion, government, trade and education.

9. Continue along the road past a large chapel on the right. Just after the chapel, follow the path down to the left that leads along the Afon Lliw riverbank. You will shortly reach the main road with a bridge on the right. Follow the road to the right and over the bridge. In a while you will arrive at the commemorative monument.

This is a monument to commemorate a father and son from Llanuwchllyn. Sir O M Edwards was an editor, litterateur and a passionate and prominent educator, who was eager to encourage pride in the Welsh language and traditions. In the 1890s he launched children’s magazines called Cymru and Cymru’r Plant (The Children’s Wales), which was a new leaf in children’s literature. His son, Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwars continued with his father’s good work, and was responsible for founding the youth movement Urdd Gobaith Cymru in 1922. His vision was to provide an opportunity for children and young people to learn and socialise through the medium of Welsh, and to have pride in their language and culture. The movement is as strong as ever, with 50,000 of Wales’ children and young people being members.

The 'Bwrlwm Eryri' Audio Trail - Llanycil to Llanuwchllyn

As part of the Bwrlwm Eryri cultural heritage project, an audio trail has been produced for the northern section of the Llyn Tegid circular walk which gives a brief introduction to the legends, folklore, culture and history connected to the area. Along the route, look out for blue numbered signposts with ‘Bwrlwm Eryri’ written on them – the numbers denote the relevant track number on your MP3. Click on the files below to download audio files.

« Audio File 1
As you walk from the car park (Point 1 on the route), on your left in front of you stands St Beuno’s church in its proud location on the shore of Llyn Tegid. The church was named after its founder, Saint Beuno, who, in the sixth century, used to travel from his monastery in Clynnog Fawr near Caernarfon all over North Wales to preach.

Many renowned men are buried in the church cemetery – the most notable being the Rev. Thomas Charles, a prominent leader in the Methodist revival. Here also lies Dafydd Cadwaladr, father of Betsi Cadwaladr a well-known nurse who worked in a hospital in Balaclava during the Crimean war, and not forgetting Bob Tai’r Felin – who was well-known for his ballads and folk singing.

« Audio File 2
Point 2 on the route is Nant Gwenwyn Meirch stream. In 1645 during the Civil War, Rowland Vaughan, a famous poet and royalist lived in Caer-gai, approximately a mile from this spot. One day, some of the local inhabitants saw Oliver Cromwell’s knights on their way to Caer-gai, and in an attempt to stop them they gathered some yew leaves, which is very poisonous to horses, and threw them in the stream knowing that the knights would stop there so the horses could drink. That is exactly what happened and the horses became ill, and since then the stream is known as Nant Gwenwyn Meirch (stream of horses’ poison). Despite the effort of the inhabitants, the knights made it to Caer-gai and the mansion was burnt to the ground. A large farmhouse was built in its place which still stands today.

« Audio File 3
You will shortly reach Point 3, which is on moor land known as Gwastadros, a perfect habitat for birds such as Skylark, Curlew and Northern Wheatear. This moor land has always been Common Land which meant that local people had a right to take their animals to graze there. It is a very wet and poor terrain to keep livestock, and as this was the only land available for the poor people of the area to support their family, life was very hard.

In the past, Gwastadros was one of the areas which made up the Parish of Llanycil, other areas of the parish included Cyffty, Maestron, Uwchmynydd and Ismynydd. In the early nineteenth century many poor people lived in the parish of Llanycil, as in the other parishes of Penllyn. Parochial meetings were held to discuss how best to help these people – this is what was agreed at the August 1819 meeting:

Gwen Ty’n Siglen towards carrying peat – 1 shilling, 6 halfpence.
Siân Dafydd Cefnbodig – 3lbs of wool.
Sally Smith – 3 shillings to make 3 pairs of clogs.
Widow of Ty’n Llyn – 6 shillings and an old petticoat.
Mathew of Llandderfel – a packet of oatmeal.
Richard Pen Rafel – nothing.

The parish looked after its people in other ways too – a parish cow was kept in the Cyffty area to supply milk for all the babies in the area, and a parish donkey was available when needed.

On your way towards Point 4 you will see Caer-gai, which was mentioned earlier, on your left. The history connected to this site goes way back before Cromwell’s time. Originally, this was the site of an old Roman fort – a Roman road goes right by it and the remains of a Roman cemetery and baths were discovered nearby. A farmhouse stands on the site today but some of the remains can still be seen.

The site was named Caer-gai (Cai’s Fort) after the mythical hero Cai fab Cynyr (Cai son of Cynyr) who is connected to Arthurian legends including Culhwch ac Olwen and Y Tair Rhamant to name a few. He is also mentioned in the work of aristocrat poets, which refers to Caer-gai as his home.

« Audio File 4
By Point 4 you will have reached Weirglodd Wen, which was home to the Rev. Michael Jones and Mary Jones. Weirglodd Wen was formerly part of the Glanllyn estate and after the death of her husband, Mary Jones continued to live there. In 1859 an open election was held and landowners kept an eye on how their tenants were voting. Mary Jones was thrown out of her home by the Tory landowner because her son, Michael D Jones, had been trying to persuade other tenants to vote Liberal.

Michael D Jones is an important figure in the history of Bala. He was the Principal of Bala Theological College, and he played a major part in establishing a Welsh settlement in Patagonia in the 1860s, where the Welsh language would be the language of religion, government, trade and education.

« Audio File 5
On arriving at Point 5 you will have reached the end of your journey. Here is the commemorative monument of a father and son – Sir O M Edwards and Sir Ifan ab O M Edwards of Llanuwchllyn. Sir O M Edwards was an editor, a litterateur and a passionate and prominent educator, who was eager to encourage pride in Welsh traditions and language. In the 1890s he launched magazines for children called Cymru and Cymru’r Plant (The Children’s Wales), which was a new leaf in children’s literature.

His son, Sir Ifan ab O M Edwards, carried on with his father’s good work, and was responsible for founding the youth movement Urdd Gobaith Cymru. In the beginning, young people from across Wales came to stay at the Urdd camp in Llanuwchllyn – the first camp was held in the garden at Neuadd Wen, the founder’s home, but then it was moved to a larger site at Glan-llyn. Following the founding of this camp, another was opened in Llangrannog, and more recently at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff and the children of Wales continue to come and stay at these camps each year. The movement continues to go from strength to strength and arranges a variety of events for young people – being Eisteddfodau, sports, theatre and much more. These events ensure that the children of Wales continue to enjoy their language and culture and have pride in them – and to think that it all began here in Llanuwchllyn!

Bala and Llyn Tegid

Bala and Llyn Tegid (© SNPA)

Header image - Morfa Harlech (© Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales)