North Wales has an enormous amount to offer walkers of all levels and we won’t attempt to list them all here. Below a list of some of the walks closest to Ca’er Blaidd and a bit beyond. Use Ordnance Survey Explorer OL17 (Snowdon and the Conwy Valley) and OL18 (Harlech, Porthmadog & Bala) for many more walks.
There are several short circular walks starting in Blaenau Ffestiniog, details of which can be found at www.blaenauffestiniog.org. See also the websites of National Trust Wales, Natural Resources Wales and www.snowdonia.gov.wales for walks covering wider Snowdonia.
Cynfal falls walk – a moderately easy walk of approx. 5km/3miles to the spectacular gorge within the Ceunant Cynfal national nature reserve. See the waterfall of Rhaeadr Cynfal, hidden in the valley of the Afon Cynfal river. The route takes you through woodland areas and offers fantastic views of both mountains and sea. Car park on the A470 T Junction at the centre of Llan Ffestiniog LL41 4LR. Ordnance Survey OL18.
Dyffryn Maentwrog & Llyn Mair footpaths – over 30km of footpath with numbered posts and path junctions. The route follows old estate paths, forestry roads and tracks, old roman road, the Ffestiniog railway and gives views of the river Dwyry, lakes Llyn Mair, Llyn Trefor and Llyn Hafod y Llyn. You will also see remains of stone buildings and walls and lead mines. Car parks are around the paths, the nearest being at Llyn Mair and Tan y Bwlch station, both on the B4410. Ordnance Survey OL18. One section is temporarily closed until the end of summer due to nesting birds. Visit www.snowdonia.gov.wales for more route details, map and alternative route for the closed section.
Vale of Ffestiniog Way – circular walk which can be started in Llan Ffestiniog outside the Pub Y Pengwern. The walk takes you round the back of Manod, dropping into Blaenau Ffestiniog, joining the coastpath at Maentwrog and back up the vale to Llan Ffestiniog. 18 miles. Full details of the walk can be found at www.voffway.blogspot.com
Moelwyn Mawr & Moelwyn Bach – circular walk, starting and finishing in Tanygrisiau, approx. 6.5 miles, including some steep climbs
Tomen y Mur, Trawsfynydd – an easy circular walk from Llyn Trawsfynydd (a man-made reservoir) across farmland to the Roman fort of Tomen y Mur. The fort was built in AD78 and is one of the most intact roman military settlements in Britain. 6.5km/4 miles across fields and some rough, wet terrain. Carpark near Trawsfynydd power station LL41 4DS. Ordnance survey OL18.
Wales Coast Path – circular walks. One from Pensarn Car Park, Penrhyndeudraeth. Approx. 17km/10.5 miles. Use Ordnance Survey OL18. Shorter options from Borth y Gest car park, Porthmadog to Ynys Cynar (2km) and to Blackrock Sands (+3km). Use Ordnance Survey Explorer 254. See www.walescoastpath.gov.uk for more information.
Snowdonia Slate Trail – 83 mile circular trail allowing exploration of the industrial heritage of slate villages throughout Snowdonia. The trail can be joined at the Cwm Cynfal gorge in Llan Ffestiniog (section 10 of the trail) though this is noted as being the “toughest of all [sections].” This section is 21.3km/13.2 miles to Penmachno through moors, quarry workings and forest. The reverse route is shorter, 8.6km/5.4 miles to Tanyarisiau but this is not as scenic. Seewww.snowdoniaslatetrail.org for the full route and map.
Croesor circular walk – 5.5km/3.5 miles moderate circular walk that starts at Croesor village car park LL48 6SR (approx. 25 minutes away). The walk offers spectacular views of land and sea covering the foothills of Cnicht and the lowlands near the Glaslyn estuary. It uses public footpaths and permissive paths, some of which are steep and can be wet.
Lôn Gwyrfai, Rhyd Ddu – an easy walk along a recreational path created specially for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Mainly wide and even paths of crushed slate and tarmac with some steep sections and a ford crossing. 7km/4.5 miles. Carpark at Beddgelert pay and display LL55 4YJ (approx. 30 mins away).
Crimpiau – a strenuous circular walk from the SNPA Carpark in Capel Curig LL24 8EW (approx. 35 minutes away). 6km/3.5miles. The walk takes you through woodland, heathland, moorland to the summit of Crimpiau, with spectacular views of the Snowdon Horseshoe and Mymbyr Valley. The route uses public rights of way and open access land. (Ordnance Survey OL18)
Trefriw trails – There are currently 8 marked trails, varying in length and terrain around the village of Trefriw (approx. 35 minutes away) in the heart of the Conwy Valley. They have published the trails on their website www.trefriwoutdoors.co.uk
Mount Snowdon climbs – there are 6 official routes (many seasoned climbers would say 8), the nearest being the Watkins Path which starts from Pont Bethania Car Park, Nant Gwynant LL55 4NR, but this is thought to be one of the toughest routes! The Llanberis path is generally regarded as the most straightforward, though it is the longest. The Snowdon Mountain Railway also runs from Llanberis, should any non-walkers in your group wish to take this easier way up! Use Ordnance Survey OL17 and www.visitsnowdonia.info for full details of all routes.
Poetry Walk – This is a fun walk along the high street in Blaenau Ffestiniog, combining gentle exercise with local culture! Hundreds of local sayings, quarry expressions, historical references and quotations from local artists have been put onto slate bands along the street. They are numbered and a booklet (and map) explaining all of the slates can be downloaded from www.blaenauffestiniog.org/poetry
Geocache – For anyone who takes part in geocaching (where participants use a GPS receiver or mobile device to hide and seek containers) check out the letterbox at the start of the Cwm-Orthin and Rhosydd earthcache and letterbox trails (GC6N4B4). For anyone who doesn’t and wants to know more, check out www.geocaching.com