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  Forest Trails above the Llugwy

Through Gwydir Forest to the Swallow Falls

The Afon Llugwy and its higher tributaries help drain the heart of Snowdonia's mountain massif. Grains of sand that were once part of the Carneddau and The Glyders now scour a course through the spectacular scenery around Betws-y-Coed, tumbling en-route over the famous Swallow Falls. This walk passes above these cataracts, having started at a secluded lake high in the Gwydir Forest. The area is rich in minerals and the walk passes tantalising remains of mines and quarries that have produced riches as varied as fine slate, lead and even silver and gold. In the woodlands is a wealth of wild birds including Britain's smallest, the Goldcrest. You're more likely to see buzzards soaring far overhead or hear woodpeckers about their business in the mixed plantations. Polecats and Pinemartins make a home here too. The forest is popular with off road cyclists, so keep a sharp eye out.


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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



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