Walk up Tal Y Fan from Bwlch y Ddeufaen and Rowen
Route Summary: A circular route up the northernmost mountain in Wales from the village of Rowen.
A circular route up the northernmost mountain in Wales from the village of Rowen.
|10.88 km||594 m||4 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Rowen
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Walk up Tal Y Fan from Bwlch y Ddeufaen and Rowen Route Map and GPX Download
Walk up Tal Y Fan from Bwlch y Ddeufaen and Rowen Details
Tal y Fan is the northernmost mountain in Wales, and one of the awkward outliers of the North Carneddau. Even so, it’s well worth spending a good half day taking in this compact mountain for the views and the pleasant walking on some of the good tracks on its slopes. The summit is a particularly worthy viewpoint, both south into Snowdonia and north east towards England and the Lake District (in good conditions!)
A shorter version of the walk can be completed from the small car park high up at Bwlch y Ddeufaen by following sections 2a – 8a.
Tal Y Fan from Bwlch y Ddeufaen and Rowen Route Description
1 The walk starts from the middle of the village, past the Ty Gwyn Hotel pub, and uphill past some quaint cottages. You’ll soon arrive at a junction to your right which you’ll need to take, as the country lane winds itself uphill past numerous cottages. Keep on past the junction right and continue walking ahead and the road soon becomes very very steep!)
2 After just over 1.5km and 200m of ascent, you’ll arrive at the Rowen Youth Hostel. You wouldn’t want that walk after an evening at the local! From the Youth Hostel, the road becomes a green track that provides good going up towards Bwlch y Ddeufaen.
2a Note that you can start the walk from Bwlch y Ddeufaen, making this one of the easiest mountains in Snowdonia to climb. Of course, if you choose to follow the entire route then you’ll have a fair bit of climbing to get back to the start. Most will walk it as an out and back, but you can also follow points 3-7 below and then leg 8a to return to this point.
3 After another 1.5km the green trail joins the minor road to Bwlch y Deufaen. Continue along the lane for around 100m and there’s a stile right that leads onto the hillside of Tal y Fan. The crags visible ahead is the summit of Tal y Fan, meaning the trip from here to the top is rather quick.
4 The track is a pleasant green trail that’s easy enough to follow, with occasional way-markers that brings you all the way up to the heathery bwlch below Tal y Fan
5 From the bwlch, turn right and follow the short and steep path to the summit. Note that the first top is a false one, as you will have to descend a short way before then ascending to the summit of Tal y Fan. You’ll need to cross the wall via the stile to get to the trig, and back again to continue the walk.
From the summit trig you have extensive views of the Conwy valley and the Northern Carneddau, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot the Isle of Man, the Lake District and the beaches along the Lancashire coast.
6 You have numerous options for descending, with the quickest being a direct route roughly NW to join a largely wet path flanking the northern slopes of Tal y Fan. The best option, however, is to follow the wall along the moderately interesting summit ridge of Tal y Fan for as long as you can. It’s a surprising section, as it’s often up and down, with some unexpected drops in places.
7 After around 700m, the wall takes a turn right. Following this wall brings you quickly down to the track at SH742 725. You can also from the wall, head roughly NE towards the quarries marked on the map, but this route can be tricky to find and isn’t always apparent on the ground, whereas you can’t miss the great big wall!
8 At the track, turn left through pleasant green pastures. You may be able to spot the stone circles at Caer Bach on the way as the route contours around Craig Celynnin and down towards the church of Llangelynin.
8a Alternatively, you can turn right at this track to return to Bwlch y Ddeufaen for those following the easier route from there.
9 Its worth taking some time to explore the old church, which is located in what today seems like the middle of nowhere. However, it reflects how these uplands were once much more populous to merit their own church. The track continues downhill past the church and was clearly once a well-used track used by the faithful to travel to the church. It remains a particularly good track and once it enters the Parc Mawr woodland, descends steeply.
10 Once out of the woodland, turn left on the lane and then right once it joins another country lane. After around 1.6km, this will bring you back to leg 1 above, where you’ll turn left to return to Rowen on the same route you set out on.
If the Ty Gwyn Hotel is open, it’s well worth popping in for some refreshments and supporting these rural businesses.