Summary: Easy ramble with industrial history
Distance: 8-9 miles
Duration: 4-5 hours
Map: OS Explorer OL17
Essential Gear: Good pair of walking shoes, water, map.
Car parking in Betws-y-Coed (pay & display).
All facilities in Betws-y-Coed. Check out the nice little shops and restaurants.
I head read about the ‘forgotten village’ in an online newspaper a couple of years ago and it sparked my curiosity. I love a bit of history mixed with a good walk.
Not quite sure what’s going on here…
Having missed the start of the circular walk I had mapped out, my little detour led me through some enchanting almost fairy like forest which I didn’t mind at all.
Finding myself back on track I joined the Roman road ‘Sarn Helen’. It once ran for 160 miles through central Wales, connecting Aberconwy in the north with Carmarthen in the west. This stony road is the steepest climb of the whole route and, believe it or not, was the only way up to Rhiwddolion until the 1960s.
Soon you find yourself at the heart of the old village. The cramped terraced cottages and other buildings are clearly visible. The old chapel, which doubled as the school as well, and the schoolmaster’s house have been converted to holiday cottages now.
It’s amazing to think this was once a lively village with a church and school
Leave the village behind you and make your way towards the woods and past a quarry. Follow the forest roads that will lead you to Llyn Elsi, a reservoir providing water for the village and was once two lakes before a dam was built. It’s a nice and easy walk around the lake and from there various ways lead back to Betws-y-Coed.
Llyn Elsi offers a nice walk around its shores
But the views are worth it and if you don’t mind bringing your own lunch, go outside of the main season when the trains aren’t running and the summit station is closed.
Much more peaceful and less touristy.
Back in Betws-y-Coed