The Berwyn Range and Cwm Pennant from Llandrillo
Route Summary: Walk up the Berwyn hills from Llandrillo, descending the remote Milltir Gerrig Ridge and back via the scenic Cwm Pennant.
Walk up the Berwyn hills from Llandrillo, descending the remote Milltir Gerrig Ridge and back via the scenic Cwm Pennant.
|21.96 km||810 m||7-8 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Llandrillo
The Berwyn Range and Cwm Pennant from Llandrillo Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
The Berwyn Range and Cwm Pennant from Llandrillo Details
This is a 22km circular hill walk into the Berwyn Hills from Llandrillo across the main summits of Cadair Berwyn and Moel Sych and descending down the Milltir Gerrig Ridge and Cwm Pennant. The Berwyn hills are neither in Snowdonia, or as of yet part of the Clwydian AONB. They are ignored and unprotected, yet provide some of the best walking in Wales along the long ridges where you can really get some distance under your belt.
The Berwyn Range and Milltir Gerrig Full Route Description
1 – From the car park, take the main road left for a 100m or so before turning right up a steep lane. This pulls up steeply, changing from tarmac to rough track. Keep ahead on the track – which is easy to follow with the exception of a junction not marked on the map. At this point – keep moving forward rather than taking the junction which is clearly going in the opposite direction.
2 After around 1.8km, there’s a clear junction in the track with the route we need to take forking right uphill. The track ahead takes you to Pen Bwlch Llandrillo, an alternative route that includes Cadair Berwyn.
3 The track is reasonably easy to follow now, though it does become faint in places and you might need to stop and think in mist, perhaps taking a bearing. As the bridleway is an old track over the Berwyn Hills, it takes a steady approach too bring you up to Bwlch Maen Gwynedd. The track continues to contour around the steep northern slope of Cadair Berwyn towards the minor summit of Tomle, which you could follow and climb up to the summit that way. Instead, this route follows the fence and the boardwalk right and up a steep grassy slope to the summit plateau.
4 You can follow the fence to the summit if you wish, but a better approach is to follow the airy path along the top of Craig Berwyn with extensive views into Cwm Maen Gwynedd. This is one of the highlights of the walk! The trig point is the old summit, which was found to be 3m lower than the new summit further along the ridge. Nevertheless, it’s a trig point and a stop is mandatory at the unceremoniously named Cadair Berwyn North Top.
5 The going is good along the summit ridge, with the ascent to the now official summit of Cadair Berwyn hardly noticeable. There’s a summit shelter here as well as an obvious summit which provides airy views down towards Llyn Lluncaws far below.
6 The final summit of Moel Sych is easily approached by following the fence, rather than the clifftop which takes you to the Pistyll Rhaeadr path instead. There’s a cairn here, and a view down the long and meandering Milltir Gerrig Ridge (for lack of a better description on the map).
7 It’s a long descent along the Milltir Gerrig Ridge, which will be challenging in properly wet conditions. The initial sections have no boardwalks, but once you pass the cairn at the 670m contour there’s a path manufactured from sleepers that makes the remainder of the descent surprisingly easy! Neither is the route on the map correct, with the path outlined on our map below following the actual footpath. There are few features on this section, and other than the cairn, there’s nothing marked on the map, making navigation tough if you do get misplaced in mist. The Hirnant hills ahead dominate the view, with no easy sleeper paths in those hills.
8 Finally, you’ll be relieved to arrive at the Milltir Gerrig track. This is an old road to Llandrillo, clearly worn down now to a very rough track that’s harder to walk on than the sleeper path you’ve just left! The track soon enters the forestry at the head of Cwm Pennant and descends steeply to the farm at Blaen-y-cwm which is an impressive property for such a remote farm house. There’s a ford to cross before entering in the farmyard, but thankfully a footbridge for when the river’s in spate.
9 There’s finally a punishing 5km back on the country lane to Llandrillo. There are footpaths along the valley that you can also take if you want to prolong the walk.