Visiting Snowdonia

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Waun-oer Ridge

The Waun-oer Ridge Walk climbs from the village of Dinas Mawddwy over the bare mountains of Maesglase, Craig Portas, Cribin Fawr and Waun-oer and then down the slopes of Mynydd Ceiswyn to Bwlch Llyn Bach pass, Tal-y-llyn.

This is the area of the Red Bandits of Mawddwy (Gwylliaid Cochion Mawddwy in Welsh), the C16 robbers known to rob those travelling through Bwlch Oerddrws pass at the upper part of Cwm Cerist. The placenames on Bwlch Oerddrws, for example Llety'r Lladron (robbers lodging) and Llety'r Gwylliaid (bandits lodging), reminds us of this troubled time in the area of Mawddwy.

The walk takes you to Maesglasau valley where the poet and hymnist Hugh Jones, Maesglasau (1749-1825) was brought up. According to O.M. Edwards, Hugh Jones' hymn 'O! tyn y gorchudd yn y mynydd hwn' ('Oh remove the cover in this mountain') is considered the best hymn in the Welsh language. It was from this hymn that Angharad Price's award winning novel's title, O! Tyn y Gorchudd, came from. This jewel of a novel is the imaginary autobiography of Rebecca Jones who lived at Tynybraich, Maesglasau and was the sister of the author's grandfather.

At the other side of the Waun-oer ridge is Bwlch Llyn Bach pass (small lake pass). There used to be a lake at the top of the pass before the A487 road was built through it. It was near this lake that criminals were thrown from the top of a rock called Llam y Lladron (robbers' leap) to their deaths!

Distance: 9 miles - 14 km

Ascent: 1,935 feet - 590 metres

Time: Around 6 hours

Grade: Hard Strenuous Walk

Start/Finish: Dinas Mawddwy car park (SH 859 149) - Bwlch Llyn Bach pass (Tal-y-llyn pass) car park on the A487 (SH 753 135)

Parking: From the A470 turn off at the top end of Dinas Mawddwy, and park in the main car park.

Post Code: SY20 9JA

Relevant Map: OS Ordnans Exp OL23 (Cader Idris & Llyn Tegid)

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.

Route Details

1. Walk out of the car park, turn right and walk along the road uphill. When you reach the A470 main road, cross the road carefully and turn right walking along the grass verge of the A470.

2. Soon you will reach a lay-by, and at the end of it follow the signposted footpath on your left that leads uphill through the woods of Coed Foeldinas until you reach a forestry track. Upon reaching the track, turn right and walk for approximately 130m before turning off the track to the left along the signposted footpath.

3. Ascend the steep zig-zag stepped footpath up through the woods until you reach a step-over stile. Cross the stile and make your way across the boardwalk. Follow the footpath along the fence and under the overhanging trees. Keep following the waymarkers as the path steadily climbs round the slopes of Foel Dinas. Enjoy the lovely views of Cwm Cerist on your right and Maesglasau valley appearing in front of you as you walk round the hill.

4. Follow the footpath to the far end of the valley, crossing a stile before reaching Bwlch Siglen. Continue along the fence line, following the footpath as it ascends steeply uphill, keeping the forest on your left. DO NOT cross the step-over stile into the forest along the Right of Way.

5. As you reach the fence at the upper end of the forest turn right following the fence line uphill towards Cae Afon. After walking uphill for around 1 mile, cross a step-over stile on your left and head in the direction of Cader Idris.

6. Descend along the footpath, keeping the fence line on your left before walking uphill to the summit of a hill which stands at 587 feet before ascending again to the summit of Craig Portas.

7. Descend Craig Portas to the pass and then climb the slopes of Cribin Fawr in front of you keeping the fence and the forestry on your left. Keep following the fence line until you reach two stiles. Cross the ladder stile on your left.

8. Now follow the path downhill keeping the fence on your right and the forest on your left descending until you reach another stile. Cross the stile and climb through the trees towards the summit of Waun-oer. You will see the summit cairn on your right.

9. Carry on along the footpath keeping the fence on your right and walk along the long ridge towards Mynydd Ceiswyn.

10. In approximately 1.5 miles you will reach a ladder stile on your right. Cross the stile and follow the way marked Right of Way downhill. Aim towards the stone wall at the bottom right corner of the field and look out for a gap in the fence to cross the tarmac road.

11. Cross the road and head through a gate, turn left and walk along the tarmac road. Then turn right to follow the footpath downhill alongside the stone wall towards Bwlch Llyn Bach pass.

12. As you reach the A487 main road, rather than crossing the stile, follow the permissive footpath that goes along side the main road keeping the fence on your right. You will be passing Llam y Lladron (robbers' leap) on your left. Cross the stile at the end of the permissive path and carefully cross the road into the Bwlch Llyn Bach pass car park.

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  • Waen-oer Ridge

    1. Walk out of the car park, turn right and walk along the road uphill. When you reach the A470 main road, cross the road carefully and turn right walking along the grass verge of the A470.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    2. Soon you will reach a lay-by, and at the end of it follow the signposted footpath on your left that leads uphill through the woods of Coed Foeldinas until you reach a forestry track. Upon reaching the track, turn right and walk for approximately 130m before turning off the track to the left along the signposted footpath.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    3. Ascend the steep zig-zag stepped footpath up through the woods until you reach a step-over stile. Cross the stile and make your way across the boardwalk. Follow the footpath along the fence and under the overhanging trees. Keep following the waymarkers as the path steadily climbs round the slopes of Foel Dinas. Enjoy the lovely views of Cwm Cerist on your right and Maesglasau valley appearing in front of you as you walk round the hill.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    4. Follow the footpath to the far end of the valley, crossing a stile before reaching Bwlch Siglen. Continue along the fence line, following the footpath as it ascends steeply uphill, keeping the forest on your left. DO NOT cross the step-over stile into the forest along the Right of Way.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    5. As you reach the fence at the upper end of the forest turn right following the fence line uphill towards Cae Afon. After walking uphill for around 1 mile, cross a step-over stile on your left and head in the direction of Cader Idris.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    6. Descend along the footpath, keeping the fence line on your left before walking uphill to the summit of a hill which stands at 587 feet before ascending again to the summit of Craig Portas.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    7. Descend Craig Portas to the pass and then climb the slopes of Cribin Fawr in front of you keeping the fence and the forestry on your left. Keep following the fence line until you reach two stiles. Cross the ladder stile on your left.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    8. Now follow the path downhill keeping the fence on your right and the forest on your left descending until you reach another stile. Cross the stile and climb through the trees towards the summit of Waun-oer. You will see the summit cairn on your right.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    9. Carry on along the footpath keeping the fence on your right and walk along the long ridge towards Mynydd Ceiswyn.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    10. In approximately 1.5 miles you will reach a ladder stile on your right. Cross the stile and follow the way marked Right of Way downhill. Aim towards the stone wall at the bottom right corner of the field and look out for a gap in the fence to cross the tarmac road.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    11. Cross the road and head through a gate, turn left and walk along the tarmac road. Then turn right to follow the footpath downhill alongside the stone wall towards Bwlch Llyn Bach pass.

  • Waen-oer Ridge

    12. As you reach the A487 main road, rather than crossing the stile, follow the permissive footpath that goes along side the main road keeping the fence on your right. You will be passing Llam y Lladron (robbers' leap) on your left. Cross the stile at the end of the permissive path and carefully cross the road into the Bwlch Llyn Bach pass car park.

Safety Note

Please read our Mountain Safety Advice before venturing out on the mountain.

Please Remember

Good navigational skills are essential for this walk.