Mynydd Mawr from Rhyd Ddu to Waunfawr
|9.83 km||562 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.
Public Transport: Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable):
Check out our Best Mountain Weather Forecast?
Mynydd Mawr from Rhyd Ddu to Waunfawr Route Map and GPX Download
Mynydd Mawr from Rhyd Ddu to Waunfawr Details
This is a nice, quiet walk. So close to Snowdon, you can almost hear the crowds. Indeed, you can’t fail to miss them in Rhyd Ddu where they tend to gather in their hundreds to climb the highest peak in Wales and England.
Fortunately for me, they don’t know any better and will leave my destination well alone. On a blustery, March morning I certainly didn’t expect to share the hill with anyone, and expected a quiet walk like the previous Saturday when I saw not a soul on the hills.
Distance, Ascent and Time 10km, 550m, 4 hours
Difficulties in mist, a bearing will be needed from the summit as initially there is no obvious path.
Facilities Cafe, parking WC at start.
Public Transport Frequent Sherpa buses to Rhyd Ddu, limited bus service at Rhosgadfan.
The Route starts just up the B4418 (just before the 30 limit), the road to Penygroes and Nantlle from Rhyd Ddu, where an obvious forestry road indicates the start of the route. This is followed for an easy kilometre, through the plantation, where many trees have recently been felled. You come eventually to a path that leads left up a felled slope, which is steep and stepped.
Following this leads you onto open ground, and the ridge above Llyn y Dywarchen, from where you can see the rest of the route to the summit, along with Craig y Bera, Nantlle Ridge and one of the best views of Moel Hebog. Snowdon looks rather flat from this side, and doesn’t offer the best of views.
The route is straightforward now, keeping the plantation to your right, and a steep pull up to Foel Rudd (not named on 1:50,000). Believe me, it is steep too. One good thing is that once you reach the summit ridge, there is very little climbing left, and it’s but a stroll to the top. Keep an eye out for the views directly down the gullies towards Drws y Coed.
The views towards the Nantlle Ridge dominates the summit which has a number of shallow shelters which offer little respite on a breezy day.
You can see cairns to the NW of the summit which indicate the direction of the path, which is unclear at first, but soon develops into a clear path that follows the top of Craig Cwm Du so don’t veer too far right!. There is an old mineshaft halfway down, though it is surrounded safely by a wire fence, after which the path becomes a bit eroded as it has been badly damaged in recent years by illegal offroad scrambler bikes. Thankfully, it appears to be recovering due to the efforts of the North Wales Police.
You soon reach the Gwyrfai Common moors, where the path is marked by a cairn. The main path veers left, but you can continue dead ahead along a narrow track that drops into a boggy valley which needs crossing. There’s a wall at the opposite side, which can be followed parallel to the forest. There are a multitude of paths criss crossing the area, so if you keep going in a roughly northerly direction, you’ll soon be near Moel Smytho at the far end of the moorland. Alternatively, you can follow this wall all the way around towards the footpath at SH519 581 as there’s a path along the wall.
The path over Moel Smytho is clear enough, and you’ll need to follow this around towards the path mentioned above, keeping an eye out for these giant ‘matchstick’ way markers that seem to have been appropriated by the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way. Once over the wall, the path leads down through an abandoned homestead or two, before emerging on the minor road between Rhosgadfan and Waunfawr.
Turn right on this path, and within about 5 minutes you’ll be at the Snowdonia Parc Inn pub, and the Wlesh Highland Railway station from which you can catch a train back to the start of this route.