Llwytmor and Foel Fras via Aber Falls
Route Summary:Hewitts of Foel-fras (Carneddau), Llwytmor, DrumThis walk includes the 3 Nuttalls of Foel-fras (Carneddau), Llwytmor, Drum
|16.15 km||969 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
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Llwytmor and Foel Fras via Aber Falls Route Map and GPX Download
Llwytmor and Foel Fras via Aber Falls Details
The Northern Carneddau are ideal for big days out and are an ideal place to cut your winter walking teeth so to speak. Ascending above the Aber Falls on a slightly exposed path is an ideal start to the day, before setting off directly up Llwydmawr and then Foel Fras. A steady descent from there back to Aber, or if you want a really long day you can dog leg over to Carnedd Llewelyn and back.
Distance, Ascent and Time 16km, 1000m, 6 hours
Difficulties Route finding off path.
Start / End Aber on the A55
Facilities Parking. cafe and WC.
Public Transport Buses to Aber from Bangor and Conwy.
There are many hills similar to Llwyd Mawr in Snowdonia, ignored as they’re either off the ridge or just not as glamorous as their usually more illustrious neighbours. I’m usually guilty of contouring Y Foel-goch in the Glyderau, and Yr Elen was for a long while too much hassle to walk out to but provides such a glorious walk to Llewelyn that it’s surely criminal not to?
This walk is similar to the Foel Fras walk, but the ascent is slightly different as it includes Llwytmor Bach. The descent to Aber is detailed in many other routes here and here, or you can continue on to Ogwen or Capel Curig.
The walk starts in Aber Village, or from the Aber Falls car park if you must drive here (the distances are given for both). Follow the road to Bont Newydd where the road turns left, but you continue onwards along the riverside path. The tracks here are very easy and you’ll soon reach a sign that points left “Aber Falls via the plantation – 30 mins”. Follow this, and you’ll be ascending pleasantly uphill through mixed forestry.
Once out of the final section of forest, the Rhaeadr Fawr (Aber Falls) and the smaller Rhaeadr Fach can be seen at their best. The smaller of the two appears to fall from a much higher height, but in broken cascades. Rhaeadr Fawr descends in a single, more spectacular fall. The path here becomes scree and loose, not pleasant. Fortunately it is a short section and you’re on a decent path above the falls soon enough. There is one section where a stream often flows across the path. It’s a scramble at the best of times and this can make it rather treacherous so take care!
Past this, the path levels out and follows the stream and past what were once settlements but now barely noticeable. The more modern sheepfold is much more obvious, and it is just past this that you should start the long plod uphill. The best bet is to take a bearing for the summit of Llwytmor Bach from the sheepfold and make it as best you can towards the skyline. Most of the ground you need to cover on the way is covered in bilberry and can be heavy going. All the paths cross your way, and as soon as you’ve found one going uphill, then it vanishes into the bilberry.
The summit gives relief, as the ground from here onwards is windswept and where it isn’t rocky only sports short grasses. There’s also an old shepherd’s shelter on the summit – scarce room for two, but cosy for one if you want relief from the elements.
There’s not much of a path to follow – and while it seems best to contour around – this’ll never bring you to the summit. So as soon as you can, head uphill towards the flat summit. We had nothing to see today – so silliness was the order of the day instead.
The remainder of the route is straightforward – with a slog directly up to Foel Fras being the next step, no path and compass work in the mist. It’s a thankless yomp, but once up, you’ll have done the days’ hardest work.
From Foel Fras – you can follow the wall and fence to Bwlch Y Ddeufaen here, or descent to Cwm Anafon and onwards to Aber. As they’re already on the site, just follow the links for a description of those descents.