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Walk up Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rhaeadr – Wild Route

By Rik Henderson   

on March 3, 2019    5/5 (5)

Posted as a walk in – Berwyn Hills, Europe, Wales

Walk up Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rhaeadr – Wild Route

Further Details

Route Summary:

The route up Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rheadr is one of the most popular routes up, with this route taking a wilder and quieter approach.

This walk includes the Washi of Cadair Berwyn

This walk includes the 2 Hewitts of Cadair Berwyn, Moel Sych

This walk includes the 4 Nuttalls of Cadair Berwyn, Moel Sych, Cadair Berwyn North Top, Moel yr Ewig

Route Start Location: Pistyll Rhaeadr Car Park

8.9 km 533 m 3-4.5 hours.

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Moderate Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


There’s a restaurant and tearoom – Tan-y-Pistyll Cafe, toilets and campsite at the start of the walk.


The descent down from the ridge is exceptionally steep and there has been some erosion because of this, following the wall back down into the valley is another steep section – extra care needs to be taken here. The Berwyn hills are notoriously boggy and there is some erosion because of this, take your time in crossing these obstacles.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : SY10 0BZ

At Pistyll Rhaeadr.

Public Transport:


Traveline for UK Public Transport

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Walk up Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rhaeadr – Wild Route Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rhaeadr – Wild Route

The Berwyn Hills are an impressive mountain range and moorland area situated in the North East of Wales, roughly bounded by Llangollen in the northeast, Corwen in the northwest, Bala in the southwest, and Oswestry in the southeast. This is a quiet area due to its proximity with the popular Snowdonia National Park, paths are less trodden and access can sometimes be an issue due to farming territory. The Berwyn Hills are a quiet escape but this route starts from popular tourist spot the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall, get there early to bag yourself a parking space. Our suggested exit on this route is a particularly wild one and is less trodden than the more usual direct route up Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rheadr, take extra care here with both navigation and footing…

Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rhaeadr – Wild Route

1 There is plenty of parking at Pistyll Rhaedr waterfall, several designated areas just before and directly next to the café/facilities. Be warned though as this is a popular tourist spot and many just drive to the waterfall itself without taking in the mountains – this area can be extremely busy during public holidays and at the weekend when the weather is good. We advise getting there early to avoid the crowds. From your parking spot essentially walk towards the base of the waterfall, a great opportunity for some photos.

2 From the waterfall and with it in front of you, head right through the woods following the sign posts for top of the waterfall. Go through one gate and then another, shortly after is a fork in the path, take the left-hand track that gains height up the bank. Follow this round, it will feel like you are going back on yourself but continue for a short while and towards the top of the waterfall. You will see several tracks heading right and gaining height up the bank, you will need to head in this direction, or Northwards towards Trum Felen (691m), these tracks are lightly trodden and not so obvious so take care on this section.

3 Continue up towards Trum Felen, you will come to a gap in a fence line, go through this and continue heading Northwards now with a fence line on your right-hand side. You will top out on Trum Felen, this is a none descript bump without a cairn or rock pile. Continue in the same direction now towards Moel Sych (827m), you dip down slightly before the final decent, this is usually a boggy section. Climbing up you come to a cairn on top of Moel Sych.

4 On your right is a fence junction and two styles, take the one to your right and head towards Cadair Berwyn (827m), now with a fence line to your left. This section can also be boggy at times. You will come to a style, climb over this, pass the rocky outcrop to your right and onto the cairn, a good rock pile shelter that signifies the top of Cadair Berwyn and a great place to stop for lunch.

5 Whilst you are here and if you are keen to bag Cadair Berwyn North Top (827m), continue Northwards along the ridge and towards the trig point. Turn back on yourself and head towards the cairn, past the rocky outcrop on your left and towards the style/fence junction. Take the fence line left and down towards Moel yr Ewig (698m), be careful on this section as it is very steep, keeping the fence line to your right you can see Moel Sych over your right-hand shoulder, and Llyn Lluncaws on your immediate right. You will come to a fence junction, cross this and head in the same direction but now keeping the fence line on your left-hand side.

6 Continue along the fence line in an easterly direction, it eventually bares right at 90 degrees, follow this round and now heading Southwards, keeping the fence line on your left-hand side. After roughly 1.6km you will eventually come to a fence line – this will need negotiating. Continue forward and keeping the fence line to your left you will come to another right hand 90-degree bend, follow this round now heading in a Westerly direction. With the fence line to your left you will see the old remains of a wall, this is essentially your exit path, you can see the waterfall and cliffs directly in front of you at the head of the valley.

7 This ground is lightly trodden and quite wild so take your time as you descend into the valley, following the faint line of the old wall remains. You will eventually hit a well-trodden public footpath, take this right before coming to a light track on your left after roughly 50m, follow this down towards the stream with fence line to your left. Cross the stream and over the style, bare left and up to the obvious and well-trodden footpath. Take this left and back through the gate/woods towards the start of your route.

Based out of Shrewsbury Shropshire, I spend most of my free time across the border into Wales, primarily in Snowdonia. A keen walker and explorer who has completed the Top 100 mountains in Wales and Shropshire's 50 hills. Taking on such challenges enables me to travel to remote, quiet areas and away from the crowds, those are my favourite mountain days. I very much look forward to contributing to the forum that is Mud & Routes, with route guides and gear reviews. Instagram: @rikthehiker Twitter: @RikTheHiker
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