3b Dolwyddelan – Betws y Coed – (via Sarn Helen)

Grade: Moderate with a steady climb.

Summary: Historic track passing a ruined village.

1. Follow walk 2 to Plas Hall Hotel. Turn left over the bridge before the hotel. Cross A470 and go through a small gate opposite. Turn left and follow path below a house. Cross a stile and, at wall, climb stone steps onto a lane. Turn right and follow the lane uphill. Where the lane bends right, continue ahead through gate/stile onto a track. This is thought to be Sarn Helen, a Roman road that linked their fort at Caerhun with their camp at Trawsfynydd. Follow this track, crossing a stile onto moorland and later another stile into forest. Continue ahead at a crossroads of forest tracks, passing open areas and young plantations. Go through a gate and continue down the track past ruins.

2. This ruined hamlet is Rhiwddolion where quarrymen and their families lived in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some worked at nearby Hafod Las quarry and others walked to Dolwyddelan along Sarn Helen. Go through a gate and over a stream, following a stony track uphill. Continue along this track, tarmaced for a section, downhill past a farmhouse to a forestry road. Go through two gates opposite and follow the path between old walls. Cross a forest road and later a footbridge and then a stile. Continue down onto a lane. Cross the A5 and follow the signed path opposite to cross Miner’s Bridge. (The original bridge was erected for lead miners from Pentre Du who walked daily to the Gwydyr mines.) Turn right and follow the riverside path to Betws-y-coed. Turn right over the bridge then left, passing the church on the right. To take the train back turn left to the station. (To return via Llyn Elsi turn right before the church and take the forest track uphill, following route 3a in reverse.)


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Walking Advice
Brief route directions are given but it is essential that you also take an OS 1:25000 Explorer map, as few routes are fully waymarked. Routes that cross the moorland need particular care and good map-reading skills.
Please follow the country code and make sure you keep dogs under control, particularly near livestock.
Rough distances are given in the routes directions. As a guide allow 15 kilometers per kilometer walking at an easy pace on the flat but allow an extra ascent(roughly 1 minute per 10m of ascent). Overall timings for the walk are s are generous, allowing time for stops.
Walks require walking shoes and warterproof clothing and always take food and water. Some routes through the forest and moor can be very boggy.
Please be aware that this booklet was made in early 2008 and many of the routes are in a working forest and paths may inevitably change. If you know of any changes that have taken place to these routes or would like to add any extra information regarding these routes please contact mentersiabod@directsave.net
Copies of the booklet are available to purchase from the Community Pavilion and Siop y Llan Dolwyddelan, The Eagles Penmachno, Shell Garage and Tourist Information Centre Betws-y-Coed. Please note that all funds raised are put back into footpath maintenance in Penmachno and Dolwyddelan. For more information contact mentersiabod@directsave.net

This post is also available in: Welsh

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