Summary: Gwydir Forest at its best
Distance: 8 miles
Duration: 3,5 hours
Difficulty: Easy, short steeper sections
Map: OS Explorer SL17
Essential Gear: Walking shoes, water/lunch, map.
There are toilets at Llyn Geirionydd.
Bring a towel and your swim suit and have a refreshing dip in Llyn Geirinydd.
Starting in Gwydir Forest above Llanrwst, a small and beautiful town situated at the river Conwy and famous for its narrow 17th century stone bridge, I use this as my gateway into the Snowdonia National Park. Parking is available at the start of the Gwydir Mawr MTB trails (follow the signs) or you can try your luck further up at the Hafna Mine. I started at Gwydir Mawr and followed the an old miners’ path up to Hafna Mine.
Hafna Mine. Have a good look around and enjoy the views from the top
Hafna Lead Mine is quite imposing the way it sits on the steep hillside. The mine closed in 1920 and is unique because it had its on smelt house, built in the 1880s. I had a good look around (I love some ruins) and then followed the steps past the chimney and up the hill. From here on it’s some nice single track all the way up the hill and down again, passing Pen-y-Gwaith cottage which was apparently a training base for Metropolitan Police Cadets in the 1960s.
Crossing a forest road, which is also part of the MTB trail, the path leads you past two lakes onto a nice flat grassy area with usually some sheep and stunning views of the Snowdonia mountains. This is my favourite place for a stop and a picknick. There’s just the perfect rock that’s ideal as a sun lounger. Usually not many people walk this way so take your time, relax, lean back and enjoy the views.
The fun part
Following the path across the meadow and through some woods the fun single track is over for a while and you join a small lane that leads to Llyn Geirionydd. After all the peace and quiet before this can be a bit of a shock as it is very popular with families for swimming and all sorts of water sports during summer.
Llyn Geirionydd – bit too busy for my liking after all the peace and quiet before
If you like your lakes a bit quieter walk take the Geirionnydd to Crafnant trail. The route heads off around the southern edge of Llyn Geirionnydd and offers great views down the lake’s full length. It winds is way up the hill before descenings steeply through a shady forest to a wonderful view across Llyn Crafnant and the other side of the valley.
Fairy woods on my way to Llyn Crafnant
Llyn Crafnant. Much quieter here
You can either follow the same way back or if you parked at Gwydir Mawr instead follow the back lanes past Llyn Sarnau and Nant Bwlch yr Haearn, a local outdoor education centre.