Craig y Fron, Y Bala
The Snowdonia National Park conjures up images of craggy mountain scenes, but this walk will show you the gentler, greener aspect of the area. This is a fairly easy walk, which involves a steady climb at the outset, then leveling out for a gradual descent across grazing land. It offers interesting views of Bala town, an old quarry and mountain ranges beyond. It is suitable for all ages and seasons.
Distance: About 3 miles (4.5Km).
Time: About 2 hours.
Grade: Moderate Leisure Walk.
Start/Finish: Llyn Tegid car park off the A494.
Postcode: LL23 7NG.
Relevant Map: OS Explorer OL18 (Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala).
Parking: Car park at Llyn Tegid, Bala.
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.
Bala is an old market town which received its charter in 1324. The town's Tomen (Tump), a Norman motte-and-bailey site, points to an earlier settlement, due to its position at the head of the river Dee. In the 19th Century, Bala became the focal point of the religious revival in North Wales. It was led by the Methodist, the Reverend Thomas Charles (1755-1814), founder of the British and Foreign Bible Society. He was inspired in his work by Mari Jones a young girl who in 1800 walked 25 miles barefoot to Bala from her native Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to obtain a Welsh Bible from Thomas Charles. The strong religious tradition continued to influence the town and Coleg y Bala, the Presbyterian Theological College, was built in the 1860s using stone from nearby Craig y Fron quarry.
The town's many statues are also a memorial to the political leaders raised here. Today, the Bala area continues to be a bastion of Welsh cultural tradition.
1. Leave Llyn Tegid car park and follow the main road towards Bala for approximately 500 metres. Take the first left turn towards the Golf Course. The road ascends gradually passing modern housing.
2. The road now steepens and becomes a narrow country road. An abundance of hedgerow plants, ivy-encrusted ash, beech and gnarled oak line the road. Pass the entrances to Fronderw and Maes Awelon. Stop to view Bala and note the town's Norman motte-and-bailey site.
3. Carry on to the top of the hill. Take in the view of the Berwyn mountain range behind Bala. Note the network of farms in the valley and grazed ancient woodland on the hill to your right, which once covered the whole area.
4. Begin descending passing the Golf Club entrance. Follow the track to Hendre-ddu. Pass a house and kennels keeping to the right of the fence. Cross over two stiles and follow the track along tall hazel hedges. Arrive at ruined building with Scots Pine trees.
5. Go straight through the gap to the next field and follow the top boundary down to the abandoned Craig y Fron Stone Quarry, a 400m long cavern supported by thick stone pillars. Cross the stile and follow the fence towards the town.
6. Cross another stile and follow the grassy lane. Turn left and stop to admire the Pen-rhiw cottage, home of Beti Cadwaladr, an intrepid local nurse who worked with Florence Nightingale. Follow the footpath sign to the right, cross the stile and continue along the bottom of the field. Go through the gate leading to the main road and return to the town.
Llyn Tegid, Bala (© SNPA)