Welsh Black Cattle

Welsh Black Cattle

 

Hafod y Llan is a farmhouse owned by the National Trust. Set in the beautiful Nant Gwynant Valley this was the genesis of the Snowdonia National Park.

Nant Gwynant is a valley in north Wales. The A498 road descends 600 feet (180 m) into the valley in about two miles (3 km) from Pen-y-Gwryd; it follows the Nant Cynnyd, the Afon Glaslyn and alongside Llyn Gwynant, then beside the Nant Gwynant river to Llyn Dinas and passing below Dinas Emrys to Beddgelert. The road continues through the Aberglaslyn Pass to Porthmadog.

The upper section of Nant Gwynant, from the site of the Roman fort and marching camp situated at the junction with the modern A4086 Caernarfon to Capel Curig road, follows the valley of Nant Cynnyd to a viewpoint (in about a mile) overlooking the Cwm Dyli hydro-electric power station, which was built over 100 years ago by the North Wales Power and Traction Company to supply electricity to the Porthmadog, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway that failed before it was completed. The power station however still uses the waters of Llyn Llydaw to generate electricity for the National Grid (UK).

A mile further and the road passes Hafod Lwyfog, the summer homestead built in the 1540s, the birthplace of Sir John Williams, goldsmith to King James I, who in 1610 presented the Church of St Mary in Beddgelert with a fine chalice. In 1938, the then owner, Clough Williams-Ellis presented part of the Hafod Lwyfog land to the National Trust in anticipation of the establishment of the Snowdonia National Park. A campsite now operates at the head of Llyn Gwynant, and the balance of the farm is managed as a conservation estate by descendants of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

Between the two lakes is Hafod-y-Llan (bought by the National Trust in 1998) with the Watkin Path climbing above Afon Cwm Llan to the summit of Snowdon. The path starts in South Snowdon Quarry, which was later the intended destination of that never completed narrow gauge railway from Porthmadog. The path, which was ceremonially opened in 1892 by William Ewart Gladstone the then Prime Minister, was specially constructed for Sir Edward Watkin, railway entrepreneur and Victorian pioneer of the Channel Tunnel for the benefit of guests at The Chalet, his summer retirement home in the woods.

Another National Trust property in the valley is Craflwyn. It stands below the hill of Dinas Emrys to which according to tradition, in retreat with his adviser Myrddin Emrys, came an unhappy Vortigern, the Romano-British King who first encountered the Anglo Saxon immigrants.

 

Hafod y Llan walk, Craflwyn. A moderate walk that will take between 2 and 3 hours. It also takes in the impressive tumbling Cwm Llan waterfall, and allows you to see the Welsh Black Cattle that are creating more diverse vegetation on the slopes of Bylchau Terfyn.

Start at the Bethania car park, Watkin Path. From the Bethania car park (just off the A498) join the Watkin Path. Head up through the oak woodland towards Cwm Llan. The Watkin Path rises up to Cwm Llan, with Clogwyn Brith to the left. The path was created by Sir Edward Watkin in 1892 and is one of six routes up to Mount Snowdon. It attracts 50,000 walkers each year.

Once out of the oak woodland, stick to the gravel path until you reach a waymarker which directs you south-west along a path towards Bylchau Terfyn. Continue along the path until you reach a wall. Climb over the stile which brings you into Bylchau Terfyn. Welsh Black cattle graze these slopes of Bylchau Terfyn. Cattle graze less selectively than sheep and keep the aggressive grasses such as purple moor grass and matgrass under control. This in turn helps to increase biodiversity on the land.

Follow the way-marked route through this quiet valley. The walk takes you over another wall within 0.75 miles (1.2km). Once over this wall, head through the heather to the highest point of the walk. Cwm Llan House is one of many ruined buildings in this valley which the National Trust are doing their utmost to consolidate. These structures give a glimpse into the past land use and farming methods.

As you walk downhill you emerge on an old cart track. Continue along the track until you reach a stile. Once over the stile turn immediately to the right towards the river. Cross the river taking care over the stepping stones until you reach another stile. Once over the stile follow the waymarked route which leads you down to Craflwyn Hall and the end of the walk. If you arrived by car then you need to make your way past Llyn Dinas to Bethania, and the Gwynant Cafe.

This walk includes gravel paths, stiles, gates, steep inclines and muddy sections. Dogs allowed on a lead.

 

Llyn Gwynant is used, like many lakes in north Wales, as a watersports facility by local education authorities (LEA). Access to the water is provided from the roadside car park. At the eastern end of the valley is a crag called Clogwyn y Wenallt which has some steep climbing routes, one of which is 'Lockwoods Chimney', named after Arthur Lockwood who became the proprietor of Pen-y-Gwryd hotel (one mile further up the valley) in 1921. There is a lake side campsite at the north east end of Llyn Gwynant.

Toilets are in the car parks at Craflwyn, Nantmor and Watkin Path. Dogs are welcome in Snowdonia in general, but please keep them under control, especially around livestock. Assistance dogs are always welcome.

The Visitor centre has steps to the entrance, a ramp is available. Most of the ground floor is accessible. Access to Chapel via very steep loose gravel path, with 1:4 gradient. Three wheelchairs available - booking essential. Craflwyn - Accessible places to park and pretty views into the wood from the car park. Accessible toilet in the car park at Craflwyn.

 

Location : Craflwyn, Beddgelert, Gwynedd, LL55

Transport : Bangor (National Rail) then Bus. Bus Routes : Snowdon Sherpa services pass the start point.

Opening Times : Dawn till Dusk.

Tickets : Free

Tel : 01766 890473