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Taith Ardudwy Way 3 days / 24 miles (38km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Taith Ardudwy Buzzard LogoDate: 24 Aug 2021
Start: Llandecwyn station / Finish: Barmouth.
Maps: Explorer OL18 Harlech, Porthmadog & Y Bala.

Taith Ardudwy Way: Website

Day 1Llandecwyn station to Llyn Eiddew-bach5.2miles / 1846 feet (8.4km / 562m)
Day 2Llyn Eiddew-bach to Llyn Irddyn11.1miles / 1748 feet (17.9km / 532m)
Day 3Llyn Irddyn to Bwlch y Rhiwgyr & Barmouth7.0miles / 1262 feet (11.3km / 384m)
View towards Moel Ysgyfarnogod

The Taith Ardudwy Way (TAW) is a low-to-mid level waymarked trail that traverses the ancient commote of Ardudwy, a mediaeval administrative area, through the western fringes and foothills of the Rhinogydd. It passes sites of historical interest and presents wide coastal and mountain views.

After the sweltering exertions of the Arenig trip last month, this modest trail gave an opportunity for a more relaxed backpack over three days allowing two half days for travelling. Most of the trail is on excellent easy tracks and paths, virtually deserted and well waymarked apart from one critical point noted in the description. Just one short section had harder, slower going due to the bracken: this stretch had the best heather and rock scenery of the route but, when the flowers are resplendent with colour, the bracken is at its most vigorous and over head-height, swallowing the path and some of the marker posts and hiding the rocks.

Our expectations were exceeded here, particularly in the wild northern section that has splendid easy walking, the highlight being a superb pitch on the first night at Llyn Eiddew-bach at the foot of the rough Rhinog heartland. Another fine spot on the second night was the pitch at LLyn Irddyn below the craggy facade of Llawlech.

Day 1 - Llandecwyn station to Llyn Eiddew-bach

We walked up the road to the A496 and crossed to the lane opposite where the trail starts at a marker post after around 200m. The late start was an advantage today as the misty gloom of the morning was dissipating and the sun breaking through. The track ascends easily through the colourful ravine of rocky outcrops, a fine start notwithstanding the obtrusive line of pylons that overshadows it, to arrive at Llyn Tecwyn Uchaf.

The TAW passes the elevated Llandecwyn church and descends to Llyn Tecwyn Isaf, a quite popular lake with casual day trippers, and ascends through sessile oak woodland to emerge at Caerwych Farm. Immediately after the last farm gate, the TAW turns right uphill: walking the route in this direction, the waymark is behind you on the farm building wall.

Llyn Tecwyn Uchaf
Llyn Tecwyn Uchaf (24 Aug 2021__13:49:11)
Llyn Tecwyn Isaf
Llyn Tecwyn Isaf (24 Aug 2021__14:45:10)

The route quickly reaches access land and a good track ascends through a fine landscape with views back over the estuary, winding its way aloft to reach a marker post at a wide bwlch. Here we made a short detour to visit the famous bronze age burial site of Bryn Cader Faner, a crown of stones perched high on a grassy rise.

Returning to the track, we continued the excellent walking until we glimpsed Llyn Eiddew-bach nestled at the foot of the Rhinog slope. A good path crosses over to the lake where we made a splendid pitch.

A typical heather-clad rocky knoll
A typical heather-clad rocky knoll (24 Aug 2021__16:00:11)
Rearward view towards the estuary
Rearward view towards the estuary (24 Aug 2021__16:31:51)
View ahead towards Moel Ysgyfarnogod
View ahead towards Moel Ysgyfarnogod (24 Aug 2021__16:36:33)
Approaching the Rhinog foothills
Approaching the Rhinog foothills (24 Aug 2021__17:00:22)
Bryn Cader Faner
Bryn Cader Faner (24 Aug 2021__17:17:41)
View towards Llyn Eiddew-bach
View towards Llyn Eiddew-bach (24 Aug 2021__17:34:56)
Pitch at Llyn Eiddew-bach
Pitch at Llyn Eiddew-bach (24 Aug 2021__18:06:33)

Day 2 - Llyn Eiddew-bach to Llyn Irddyn

A lovely dawn glow accompanied our morning walk back to the TAW for an excellent easy continuation south westwards, passing various sites marked in historical font as Cairn or Stones, often difficult to an untrained eye to distinguish from natural rock features.

Waymarking is generally very good apart from one critical point at SH 62179 32168: the good track turns westwards, but immediately after the bend is a ladder stile on the left bearing no waymark of any kind with no sign of a continuation path on the far side. This is in fact the TAW and the OS map confirms no path on the ground. We headed south-westwards passing Moel y Gerddi, looking for continuation stiles or waymarks, to reach Rhyd yr Eirin and the minor road. A little farther south we arrived at Ffridd Farm.

Here our carefree walking came to an abrupt end for a while and slowed dramatically. The line descends into a rough ravine densely vegetated with bracken, much of it over shoulder-height, that obscured the thin path. The first couple of waymark posts were visible but the rest were smothered, needing careful concentration to maintain the line. The colourful heather and rocky tor scenery was excellent though, a herd of bemused wild goats watching our pathetic efforts to make progress.

At the bottom of the ravine the bracken became even denser and taller as we thrashed our way southwards to a kissing gate and an easier descent to Dinas campsite.

Returning to the TAW in the dawn light
Returning to the TAW in the dawn light (25 Aug 2021__07:45:00)
Early view northwards from the TAW
Early view northwards from the TAW (25 Aug 2021__08:28:28)
Descending a rocky heathery ravine
Descending a rocky heathery ravine (25 Aug 2021__11:35:12)
Rock and heather ravine walls
Rock and heather ravine walls (25 Aug 2021__11:40:39)
Rock and heather ravine walls
Rock and heather ravine walls (25 Aug 2021__11:44:53)

A mix of paths, tracks and lanes gave pleasant walking, crossing the Afon Artro and Afon Cwmnantcol with a good prospect of mighty Moelfre ahead, and ascending farm pasture to the viewpoint on the minor road near the old Moelfre manganese mine. A short way farther is a bountiful spring next to the road where we gratefully drank our fill and replenished our bottles.

The route traverses the lower western side of Moelfre and joins the long braided track along the southern slopes to Pont-Scethin, part of the old coach route from Bontddu. The first boggy section of the path on the eastern side of the bridge is now paved. The TAW heads south-west to Llyn Irddyn where we made another good pitch. Later we had a fine sunset reflected in the sea.

Approaching through the foothills towards Moelfre
Approaching through the foothills towards Moelfre (25 Aug 2021__14:49:36)
View towards Rhinog Fach and Y Llethr
View towards Rhinog Fach and Y Llethr (25 Aug 2021__15:15:43)
Pont-Scethin
Pont-Scethin (25 Aug 2021__17:35:52)
Pitch at Llyn Irddyn
Pitch at Llyn Irddyn (25 Aug 2021__19:07:44)
Sunset over the sea from pitch at Llyn Irddyn
Sunset over the sea from pitch at Llyn Irddyn (25 Aug 2021__19:59:45)

Day 3 - Llyn Irddyn to Bwlch y Rhiwgyr & Barmouth

After a very humid still night, we shook and packed a very wet flysheet and set off under a clear dawn sky that promised another sunny day. The TAW descends gradually to near Pont Fadog and turns back south-eastwards to begin a long, gentle ascent past stone circle remains towards Bwlch y Rhiwgyr, Pass of the Drovers. Approaching the final stony ravine, the cloud had gathered and a grey gloom greeted us at the top as mist was beginning to form on the higher summits.

The route descends to Cerrig Arthur stone circle and climbs back to Bwlch y Llan. It then winds its way on easy tracks through the hummocky landscape to descend quite steeply to Barmouth. The bustling town was very busy and we had plenty of time to browse for supplies before the T3 bus to Wrexham.

Dawn sky over Llyn Irddyn
Dawn sky over Llyn Irddyn (26 Aug 2021__06:25:45)
Early view towards Moelfre
Early view towards Moelfre (26 Aug 2021__06:52:45)
Dull misty view east from Bwlch y Rhiwgyr
Dull misty view east from Bwlch y Rhiwgyr (26 Aug 2021__09:11:03)