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A Pumlumon circuit / 3 days / 40 miles (65km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Date: 14 Aug 2003
Start / Finish: Machynlleth rail station car park (free, no restrictions).
Maps: Explorer 215 Newton & Machynlleth and Explorer 213 Aberystwyth & Cwm Rheidol {and a very small piece of Explorer 214 Llanidloes & Newtown}.

Day 1Foel Fadian & Carn Fawr13 miles / 3570 feet (20.9km / 1088m)
Day 2Pumlumon, Y Garn & Y Chwareli13 miles / 2190 feet (20.9km / 667m)
Day 3Banc Llechwedd-mawr & Bwlch Hyddgen14 miles / 1980 feet (22.5km / 603m)

A backpack through Foel Fadian and the Pumlumon hills around Nant-y-moch reservoir.

Day 1 - Foel Fadian & Carn Fawr

Walking E through the town a road branches SE to the hamlet of Forge, where a narrow lane heads S on the R of the Afon Dulas. Just after crossing a side stream a track leads off L signed only by a waymark advertising Machynlleth Cycles - this is Owain Glyndwr's Way (OGW) and is easy walking on good tracks. It ascends to Cefn Modfedd with ever improving views and descends to the minor road at Felindulas, where it heads SE and climbs the N side of Uwch-y-coed to emerge at the head of the steep sided ravine below Foel Fadian. Expecting to find a well worn path to the summit, we were surprised to find no trace of any path, however it is only a short climb to the top which is a great viewpoint for the distant mountains NW (there is a path NE from the trig point to the road).

Uwch-y-coed #1
Uwch-y-coed #1 (14 Aug 2003__13:23:58)
Uwch-y-coed #2
Uwch-y-coed #2 (14 Aug 2003__13:46:49)
View from Foel Fadian
View from Foel Fadian (14 Aug 2003__14:04:04)

Returning S to the track we arrived at the shallow heathery hollow cradling Glaslyn, which is a SSSI and has an information board. Continuing SW the track arrives at the ruins of Bugeilyn where we forked L down to the lake and boat house and contoured round the hill to the wild Hengwm valley. Here the track ends and a thin path continues SW to the first tributary of the Afon Hengwm, where we collected water, slightly peaty but not bad. Crossing the trackless valley SE and fording the infant river we climbed to the cairn marked Carn Fawr and pitched a little higher up.

Glaslyn & Foel Fadian
Glaslyn & Foel Fadian (14 Aug 2003__14:59:12)
Bugeilyn & Cader Idris
Bugeilyn & Cader Idris (14 Aug 2003__15:27:00)
The Hengwm valley
The Hengwm valley (14 Aug 2003__16:52:52)

Day 2 - Pumlumon, Y Garn & Y Chwareli

Ascending S to the fence corner at 819901, the fence heads S past a stile (that leads to the source of the Severn and the Severn Way) and passes a number of pools to arrive at the first top Pen Pumlumon Arwystli. Continuing WSW we left the fence above the source of the Wye to pass over Pen Pumlumon Llygad-bychan and arrived at a pool where someone has built a neat little stone cairn in the middle. A short climb leads to Pumlumon Fawr. Heading S to the forest edge an undulating path climbs W to Y Garn and its ancient cairn.

Ahead to Pumlumon from Arwystli
Ahead to Pumlumon from Arwystli (15 Aug 2003__09:19:51)
Llyn Llygad Rheidol
Llyn Llygad Rheidol (15 Aug 2003__10:25:27)
Cwm Rheidol
Cwm Rheidol (15 Aug 2003__10:31:05)
Pumlumon (15 Aug 2003__10:43:42)
Y Garn
Y Garn (15 Aug 2003__11:46:13)

Descending SW along the forest edge over grass we arrived at the tussocky banks of the Ceunant Du, where we collected good water and crossed it to reach the metalled track to the valley road. Walking SSW a large footbridge can be seen below which is reached via the farm access track starting at 754838. A good track climbs W & SW below Dinas and reaches a ford near the minor road (734832). Just before the ford we climbed a little R and contoured NW to reach the access track to the unnamed farm at 730839, the only inhabited one we had seen for some time. The marked footpath goes R of the buildings and turns immediately L, which we followed (unsigned) but resulted in barbed wire fences. Rather, turn L just before the buildings and aim NW climbing to the far L corner where there is a gate. Through this, continue NW to the ruins of Syfydrin and Llyn Syfydrin. From here a good track leads on past the ruins of Bwlchystyllen and arrives at a track junction at 727869. Turning R uphill the track leads to the small lake by Y Chwareli and we pitched above the track on the L.

Day 3 - Banc Llechwedd-mawr & Bwlch Hyddgen

Descending N into the forest then E we arrived at Nant-y-moch reservoir and followed the shore track round to the valley of the Nant y Baracs. Here we had a choice: continue on the track NE up the valley then follow the bridleway E across to the Afon Llechwedd-mawr, or follow the bridleway around the S slopes of Drosgol. We chose the former. Big mistake!. The track continues through a small enclosure by a deserted farmhouse, but the bridleway across the head of the Nant y Baracs does not exist on the ground. In the valley here are horrendous tussocks. They are huge and obscured by dense broad leaved grass that is waist high, making every step (if 'step' is the right word, more like an acrobatic manoeuvre) a plunge into the deep unknown, where matted grass at the base feels like firm ground then gives way into potholes. After a long time and some dubious language we arrived at the Afon Llechwedd-mawr, where we collected some water and regained our composure. Despite that difficulty, such is the wild beauty and isolation of this area that even that could not detract from it. As if to compensate, the ascent of the unknown Banc Llechwedd-mawr was an easy climb, first using sheep trods and fragments of tractor track to work our way over to the E side to gain the best view of the reservoir, then following the line of rocky outcrops up the broad spine to the first minor top and across a dip to the main top 560m with its cairn. From here we could just see Llyn Llygad Rheidol beneath Pumlumon while the large twin cairns on Carn Hyddgen are prominent.

Dawn from Y Chwareli
Dawn from Y Chwareli (16 Aug 2003__06:19:30)
Nant-y-moch morning light
Nant-y-moch morning light (16 Aug 2003__07:02:50)
Nant-y-moch, Y Garn & Drybedd #2
Nant-y-moch, Y Garn & Drybedd #2 (16 Aug 2003__07:14:42)
Nant-y-moch from Banc Llechwedd-mawr
Nant-y-moch from Banc Llechwedd-mawr (16 Aug 2003__09:07:57)

Descending N a fence is reached which crosses the reedy col and climbs to meet the track coming up from the buildings at Hyddgen. Turning L the track leads around Bryn Moel and up to the forest corner at 768921. The high level route from here was a delightful surprise, easy walking with open views well above the forest and precipitous slopes on the R. Entering the forest at Pen y Darren a notice warned: 'The Chute - ...steep slippery rock' but today it was bone dry. Emerging from the forest the waymarks (now designated OGW) continue L and down to Bwlch y Groesen and climb a short way up the other side, then another track contours above the valley NW to Bwlch Coch Bach at 752977. Turning R, the waymarked OGW now climbs to pass through the dark forest and descend E of Llyn Glanmerin to a path junction. Here OGW is signed L uphill but this went off our map, so we followed our planned route straight ahead on the clear footpath down Parc, which is obvious and well waymarked lower down and skirts the golf course to arrive at the Forge road.

Llyn Penrhaeadr
Llyn Penrhaeadr (16 Aug 2003__11:20:07)
Bwlch Hyddgen
Bwlch Hyddgen (16 Aug 2003__12:15:18)