Linking Llyn Crafnant and Llyn Geirionydd


Llyn Crafnant


5 miles (8kms)

984ft (300m)

About the walk

Llyn Crafnant is serenely beautiful, and it’s only five minutes from the car park to its northern tip. Here, at the head of the ‘valley of garlic’, is a lake surrounded by woodland, lush pasture and craggy hills. The walk is easy too, on an undulating forestry track that gives a slightly elevated view of the lake. Little whitewashed cottages are arranged neatly in the lower pastures, while the hill slopes at the head of the valley are tinged with the russet of heather and the golden grey of the much-faulted crags which rise to the knobbly ridge crest. Here the summit of Crimpiau rules supreme.

The dead lake

After rounding the lake the route climbs out of the valley, through the trees and zigzags down into the upland hollow of Llyn Geirionydd. This is a wilder place altogether, one with barren hillsides and conifer plantations – sometimes there are waterskiers on the lake to contrast with the wildness. Another lakeside path follows, sometimes almost dipping into the lapping waters. Scaling a bluff you come to the spoil heaps of a huge old lead mine, one of many in the area. The lake has a dark secret – it has been poisoned by these lead mines – you’ll see no fish here.

Taliesin and the kings

On a grassy mound at the end of the lake stands a monument. Erected in 1850 it commemorates Taliesin, a 6th-century bard who has been linked to legends as colourful as his poems. Most scholars believe him to be of Irish descent, and it is known he lived here at the northern end of Geirionydd. In those times bards would have been resident in the courts of many warlord kings, and Taliesin was said to have attended King Maelgwyn Gwynedd, one of the most sinful rulers in history, according to one of the local monks. After a fiery row the departing bard predicted that a yellow creature would rise from Morfa Rhianedd (Llandudno) and kill the king. It is known that when the king died in ad 547 there was an outbreak of yellow fever. Many of Taliesin’s more fanciful poems recall tales of magic and mystery, and many of them relate to the heroics of the great King Arthur, who some believe was his one-time master.

It is quite possible that he spent time in the court of Urien of Rheged, a northern leader whose kingdom occupied much of modern Cumbria and southwest Scotland. Many people link Urien’s deeds with those of the mythical Arthur. The bardic traditions didn’t die with Taliesin, for the Welsh poet, Gwilim Cowlyd, organised an Eisteddfod (cultural festival) in 1863, after a disagreement with the rules of the national event. It was held here until 1912, eight years after Cowlyd’s death, and each year attracted many distinguished entries.

Walk directions

Turn right out of the car park and follow the lane to the north end of Llyn Crafnant. Turn right again here, and follow the forestry track along the northwest shores of the lake, before taking the lower left fork.

Ignore a stile on the left, and instead climb with the forestry track. Keep watching for a later waymarked footpath on which you should descend left to cross a stream by a cottage, Hendre. Turn left down a track, passing a couple of modern chalets.

Turn left along the road which heads back towards the lake. Leave this just after a stone bridge for a path marked with white-on-blue waymarkers. This climbs through the conifer forests and over the shoulder of Mynydd Deulyn.

Descend to join a winding forestry track, still following the obvious blue waymarkers to the valley floor. Ignore the track forking to the right – it leads to Llyn Bychan.

On reaching the valley floor, leave the track to go over a step stile on the left. The path crosses a couple of meadows beneath Ty-newydd cottage before tracing Llyn Geirionydd’s shoreline. At the northern end of the lake the path keeps to the right of a wall and meets a farm track.

Turn left and head for the Taliesin Monument on a grassy mound. Descend to a green path heading north towards the Crafnant Valley.

Veer left to cross a ladder stile, and keep straight ahead to follow an undulating path over wooded rock and heather knolls.

Keep left (uphill) at another junction and walk through an old mine. After a stile, take the lower track on the right which descends back to the valley road and the forest car park.

Additional information

Clear paths and forestry tracks, several stiles

Lake, forested hillsides and woods

Dogs could run free in forest areas

OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa

car park, north of Llyn Crafnant

At car park

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About the area

Discover Conwy

The majority of the population of Conwy lives along its picturesque coastline, while a third of the county falls within jaw-dropping landscape of the Snowdonia National Park. The town of Conwy, which takes its name from the county (which in turn was named after the river that runs through it), is undoubtedly one of the great treasures of Wales.

Three fine bridges – Thomas Telford’s magnificent suspension bridge of 1822, Robert Stephenson’s tubular railway bridge, and a newer crossing – all stretch over the estuary beneath the castle, allowing both road and the railway into this medieval World Heritage Site. Pride of place goes to the castle, dating back to 1287.

Conwy is the most complete walled town in Britain, with walls measuring an impressive six feet in thickness and 35 feet in height. The walkway along the top offers splendid over-the-rooftop views of the castle, the estuary and the rocky knolls of nearby village of Deganwy. At the wall’s end, steps descend to the quayside where fishermen sort their nets and squawking seagulls steal scraps.

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