Cynfal Falls Walk
The dramatic waterfall of Rhaeadr Cynfal, south of Llan Ffestiniog, is hidden away in the wooded valley of the Afon Cynfal river, and the spectacular gorge is within the Ceunant Cynfal National Nature Reserve. There are fantastic views of the mountains and the sea and there are lovely woodland areas along the route.
How to get there?
There is a car park on the A470 T-junction at the centre of Llan Ffestiniog, near Neuadd Ffestiniog and the Pengwern Arms Hotel.
Distance: Distance: 3 miles (5km)
Time: 2-3 hours
Grade: Moderate Leisure Walk
Start / Finish: Car park in the centre of Llan Ffestiniog (SH 701 420 / LL41 4PB)
Postcode: LL41 4LR
Relevant Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL 18 (Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala)
Facilites: Car park, toilets, shop
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.
1. From the car park, turn right along the main road (B4391). Cross the road passing Meirion House on your left and the church on your right. Turn left through a small gate signed “Rhaeadr Cynfal Falls”, follow the path, down a few steps and through a small gate.
2. Continue through the field (sheep and cattle may be encountered, so dogs need to be put on lead) and follow the public footpath sign to the left through a metal gate. Walk between the tree and the outbuilding and across the field towards a yellow pole which leads you down towards a small metal gate.
3. Go through the gate, cross the bridge and follow the narrow path that leads through another metal gate. Walk alongside the wall on your left. Go through a wooden gate and turn right. Go through another wooden gate on the left and then follow the fence on your left. Continue along the path, heading downhill through a wooden gate and towards the woods.
In front of you, there are beautiful views of Moel Ysgyfarnogod and Foel Penolau, and the Moelwynion on your right.
4. Follow the path to a wooden gate. The viewpoint for Cynfal waterfall can be reached by following the path which forks immediately right.
The dramatic Cynfal falls or Rhaedr Cynfal is stunning. The erosive power of the river has carved interesting formations into the rock. One strange rock pillar, above the waterfall, is known locally as 'Huw Llwyd's Pulpit', after a well-known character who was supposed to have been a magician. In the 17th century, Huw Llwyd used to stand on the rock to recite poetry, preach sermons and converse with spirits. He claimed he was safe from evil while on the rock because the devil was afraid of water.
To continue along the walk, retrace your steps back to the main path and turn right. The path leads to a bridge that crosses the Afon Cynfal.
5. Cross the bridge and turn right through a gate at the top of the steps. Walk along the faint path which leads through two small wooden gates (this section of the path can be very wet in places).
As you wind through the bracken, there are magnificent views of the Moelwynion where you can see the dam constructed for the Ffestiniog Power Station, and the Llan Ffestiniog Church which stands like a watch tower on the hill.
6. Follow the waymarker, the path passes through bracken and a number of gates. The landscape here is varied, mainly bracken and woodland. The path is littered with debris from the small streamlets which frequently cross it as they rush down into the Afon Cynfal gorge on your right. Continue along the path until you will eventually reach the main road (A496) at Pont Tal-y-bont.
7. On reaching the road, turn right over the bridge taking extreme care of the traffic. Along the road on your right is a public footpath sign near a stile, head over the stile and follow the path that climbs up through the woods.
8. On reaching a fork in the path, follow the path on the left which leads up to a stile. Cross this and walk alongside a stone wall into the open countryside. Head through a gap in the wall and follow the path that leads uphill towards an electricity pylon. When the path forks, take the path to the right, through a wooden gate and follow the path keeping the fence to your left and the pylon to your right.
You could take a detour here to see monument to Williams Charles, 4th Baron Newborough, who died 19 July 1916, aged 42 years. The monument is at the summit of the small hill to your right. Here you can also enjoy lovely panoramic views.
9. Carry on straight ahead, through the gate and continue towards the main road (B4391), heading through another gate.
10. On reaching the main road, turn right and walk along the side of the road back to the village of Llan Ffestiniog taking extreme care of the traffic.
Llan Ffestiniog (© SNPA)