From the car park beside little Llyn Sarnau, turn right along
the forestry road. Keep left at the fork and walk up to a
fingerpost pointing your way to the right, passing above a
smaller pond. At the next junction keep left, open pastures
now to your right.
Cross virtually straight over here, picking up the forestry
road beyond a barrier. This descends into the woods, narrowing
to a path shortly before reaching a fence just above the remarkable
Miners’ Bridge. It’s worth venturing onto this
steep footbridge for views along the river Llugwy. Return
to the fence and keep it on your left. An adventurous path
meanders through the woods above the river, the fence soon
fading away. Underfoot it can be slippery, the tree roots
are out to get you and awkward natural steps need care when
used. It’s a glorious walk, however, so tread carefully
whilst enjoying marvellous oakwoods clinging to slopes above
the river. Just beyond a steep, broken wall fork right with
the main path, rising to a lane.
Turn left and walk the tarred lane for about 150 yards to
a forestry road branching left; there’s a low waymarker
post here for Rhaeadr Ewynnol (Swallow Falls). Take this and
keep along the higher track at the junction. Keep left along
a narrower path to reach a small clearing, beyond this cross
a footbridge and keep left at a fingerpost to reach a wider
track. Turn right for twenty paces then fork left at the yellow-painted
flash, cross another footbridge and keep left, this path soon
developing into a spectacular ledged, fenced route high above
the Llugwy gorge. You’ll soon reach a railed path down
to the left; this leads to a viewing platform offering unrivalled
views of The Swallow Falls.
Rejoin the main path and continue upstream. Yellow-tipped
marker posts guide your way along the widest path, eventually
reaching a junction with another forestry road. Look directly
opposite for a narrow path (marked with a yellow-tipped post)
up rough steps. Pick up this winding path that gradually climbs
through the woods, at one point crossing directly over a further
forestry road. Passing through a broken wall, the well-marked
path eventually levels out near a waymarked post pointing
the way to Ty’n Llwyn car park. At a gate turn right
along the lane. Remain on this past the car park and the first
junction, wide views now opening out south and east across
the forest. Immediately past the junction for Llyn Geirionydd
and Llanrhychwyn, a rather gorsey path forks off to the right,
leading to the scattered remains of Cyffty lead mine and works.
Several interpretation boards guide you through the site,
which closed down after the Great War. Return to the lane
and continue in the same direction to return to the car park
at Llyn Sarnau.
Map - click to enlarge
DISTANCE : c. 6 miles (9.7 km)
TIME: Allow 3 - 3.5 hours
TERRAIN: Mostly easy paths forestry roads and lanes. A long gradual climb out of the valley.
PARKING: Llyn Sarnau picnic site
REFRESHMENTS: Swallow Falls Hotel
LOCATION: Llyn Sarnau is beside a minor road in Gwydir Forest. Take the A5 road to "The Ugly House", west of Betws-y-Coed and take the minor road here, signed for Llanrwst.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: "Snowdon Sherpa" seasonal buses pass the Ugly House.
PUBLIC CONVENIENCES: none
O.S. DETAILS: OS Map Explorer Sheet OL17
GRID REF: SH 776591