Author Topic: Crawcwellt Magnificence Sadly missed by countless thousands who use the A470  (Read 866 times)

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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A mention must be given to my recently purchased pocket guide to the history surrounding the Rhinogs.
Living here in Dyffryn, my home is looking towards the famous Harlech to London coach road, and adjacent Drovers road across Bwlch Y Rhiwgyr to Dolgellau.

Today was special, as i was visiting the Trawsfynydd side of the mighty Rhinogs for the very first time, even though i have driven past them so many times over the many decades ive been travelling up north, they look more innaccesible from the A470, so ive never ventured there before, until this afternoon.

My first port of call was the tiny hamlet of Bronaber on the side of the busy A470 Trawsfynydd main South to North Highway.

I was here to look at the famous Drovers farmhouse, with those legendary Scots Pinetree's marking the way for the Drovers looking for a place to shelter overnight.

Blaen Y Cae farm, now sadly a ruined derelict farmstead, was a very important stop over for the Drovers of Maentwrog and beyond, and the specially constructed walled shelters where the cattle were kept overnight, are still there, last used nearly two centuries ago.

The fireplaces are still in situ, as are the rusty bedsteads, that must be original to the dwelling, and what stories they could recount, of days gone by.

Less than a mile further up the road, is a very large car parking area, allowing easier access to Bwlch Drws Ardudwy and the rugged slopes of Rhinog Fawr and Fach.

To see the magnificence of this area of Snowdonia, check out the website for Cae Gwyn Farm.

They run a campsite less then half a mile from the ruined Blaen Y Cae, and their photographs will do the area more justice than i could.

Its an area of Snowdonia that i recon few tourists get to see, which is a great shame, as this afternoon, in rather sultry overcast weather, the magnificence of the mountains, and a tiny Trawsfynydd Power station in the distance behind me, made me feel elated, and thankful for my good health.

Thousands of tourists drive up that A470, and they are missing something really special.

Once this hot weather is offer, rest assured i will return to park at the Graigddu Isaf parking area. :o
« Last Edit: 20:24:14, 11/07/18 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »


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When you do return, here is a starter for 10  Published in Country Walking Magazine.  Looks like a fun opener for the area - enjoy!

See also for something a little longer
and for a linear walk
« Last Edit: 22:22:52, 11/07/18 by ninthace »
Solvitur Ambulando

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Now your talking, having experienced the Cader Vaner, Meol Ysgarfarnogod, sections of the Rhinogs, i was looking down on this O/S  walkies, , and it looked so brutal.

I am amazed this walk appeared in the Country Walking Magazine, it has to be the most demanding walk anyone visiting or living in Wales would attempt, there is nothing else as severe as the Northern Rhinogs.

You even have to go out of your way in the Scottish Highlands to find comparable terrain, a slightly milder version of the Cullins on Skye spring to mind.

The approach to this walk, ive now discovered is far more agreeable from the Bronaber side, but either way, it will require perfect visibility, and more agreeable weather conditions.

I was being eaten alive by hungry flies yesterday afternoon, and the humidity levels were far from ideal.

You have certainly wetted my appetite for a killer walk, and even though the distances are not great, severity of the walking area is guaranteed.

Many thanks for the walking suggestion, its much appreciated.
« Last Edit: 11:47:10, 12/07/18 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »


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When you do return, here is a starter for 10  Published in Country Walking Magazine.
It is a great route. It is exactly the track Mrs BWW and took, when staying a while in Traws, about 5 years ago. I think we just saw it in the map, so buying a monthly magazine to find routes that just jump off the map at you, doesn't appeal to me. The real route finding will be a way through the 1600 acres between Graigddu Isaf and Clip. Sadly 'Anno domine' has put the detailed study of the Badlands out of my reach.

As I mention in the OPs previous topic the place to look at it is from Clip. Somehow it did not look as detailed and fascinating from a viewpoint on Rhinog Fawr. Or perhaps that was just the way I was looking at the Terrain. I am sure that there must be a walk through, to be discovered by persistent probing at the terrain.

 Interesting about the Scots Pines and the drovers, some of these trails lead directly into Shropshire, my home county, they are not just interesting for where they, but also from where they are visible. This can be a really telling feature, sad there are probably so few left in important locations for our access network. I know of a small group, hidden in the end of a wood. Take away the other trees and it points a direct line to a bridge over the river Severn from the heart of mid-Wales.
Their Land is in Our Country.

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Its not guaranteed, but the planting of Scots Pine trees, mostly in very remote countryside, was an indicator that the farmstead or other building welcomed the travelling Drover during the 18C.
Many of these derelict buildings with the pine trees planted adjacent to them, have specially constructed walled enclosures, known as Half Penny fields, so that the hundreds of cattle being driven across Wales towards Smithfield in London could rest safely for the night.

The Trawsfynydd and Dyffryn area, have a significant number of Scots pines dotted around the landscape, often with no sign of any buildings, many of those are long gone.

The Scots Pine is not a native tree of southern Britain, so anyone who comes across a group of them in remote countryside can be fairly confident of a Drovers connection.

The tension is now building, as once this down right awful heat and humidity disappears, i am heading back to above Bronaber for a serious adventure.


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You even have to go out of your way in the Scottish Highlands to find comparable terrain....

I would agree with this.

My suggestion for a route would be to park in beautiful Cwm Bychan and head up the Roman Steps, before venturing into the 'Celtic Badlands' to Clip and Moel Ysgyfarnogod; the contrast between the wooded Cwm and the badlands is extreme; a land of heather, bog, rock pavement and crag. A great place to lose yourself for half a day; quite the roughest country south of the Highlands.