Posted on 22/03/2017 by David
If you enjoy quiet countryside walks with beautiful and varied landscapes to admire, then the Lledr Valley is the perfect, unspoiled spot. The valley is defined by the distinctive 872m peak of Moel Siabod as well as the meandering Afon Lledr which runs from the eastern slopes of the Moelwynion mountain range through the valley to join the Afon Conwy just south of Betws-y-Coed.
If you travel along the A470 from Betws to the Crimea Pass above Blaenau Ffestiniog, you’ll see the landscape change from lush green meadows and broad-leaf woodland, to rugged, exposed upland as you begin to ascend the pass.
Despite its striking beauty, the Lledr Valley is often overlooked by visitors. It is a place where those who like to escape the crowds can enjoy a little solitude within the striking Snowdonian landscape. More often than not, you can spend a day walking on the higher slopes of the valley without seeing anyone.
The sleepy village of Dolwyddelan sits at the centre of the valley. Its an authentic Welsh village with a few pubs and a local grocery store. You can catch the Conwy Valley Railway to Pont-y-Pant or Dolwyddelan stations from Llandudno or Blaenau Ffestiniog. This makes the Lledr Valley particularly accessible for hillwalkers who prefer to leave the car behind so they can roam freely.
For those who prefer a walk with purpose, or just like to know there are interesting places to discover, there are several fascinating historic sites in the valley too. There are popular sites, including Dolwyddelan Castle and the Roman Bridge, to visit but some hidden gems that are worth seeking out too.
The two castles of Dolwyddelan
Dolwyddelan Castle sits perfectly within the surrounding landscape, high up on a rocky ridge overlooking the valley. Climb to the top of the tower and take in the incredible views around you.
It isn’t the only castle in the valley however. From your tower viewpoint, can you spot Castell Tomen? Built atop a rocky outcrop in the lowlands of the valley, Tomen is believed to have been the birthplace of Welsh prince, Llywelyn the Great (you may have seen his statue in the town square at Conwy).
The simple earth-and-timber construction that would have stood here in 12th century was a predecessor of the stone castle - Dolbadarn in Llanberis being the prime example of an early Welsh stone fortress. Now covered with trees and vegetation, all that remains of the prince's stronghold are traces of a rectangular tower at the top of the mound.
Perfectly situated to explore the historic ruins of Llewelyn's palace, this quaint cottage in Dolwyddelan boasts amazing views across the Lledr Valley. Where will you go today?
The Hidden Valley
If it is your first time visiting the Lledr valley, you might enjoy the hidden valley walking route. This delightful 5 mile circular route - mostly on the level - boasts more heritage than you can shake a walking pole at! Follow woodland paths, enjoy fine Snowdonian views, rest by waterfalls, explore ancient ruins and traverse a beautiful mountain stream - we think this walk has everything!
From the station car park in Dolwyddelan, head left over the bridge, then past a few houses and across another bridge, before taking the forest track to the right. From here you’ll begin to climb; head through the gap in the trees and follow the track around Cwm Penamnen - some sections of the track are part of the ancient Roman road, Sarn Helen.
Uncover the secrets of the Hidden Valley for yourself and stay at this beautiful stone cottage, it's the perfect base to explore from.
The Beaver Pool and Fairy Glen
Snowdonia is an area rich with myths, legends and fascinating folklore and the Lledr Valley is no exception. The scary legend of the ‘Afanc’ being particularly popular with the locals.
The Afanc was a huge water monster, that lived in a deep pool on the Afon Conwy. When provoked, the beast terrorised the locals, by breaking the banks of the river and causing floods along the valley.
The legend goes that the Afanc was captured and taken to Snowdon’s Llyn Glaslyn, where it lives to this day. However, the Conwy Valley is plagued with flooding almost every year, so perhaps it's returned?
The pool where the Afanc lived can be found just south of Betws-y-Coed where the A470 crosses the river at Beaver Bridge. There is a nice walk from here to the Fairy Glen, a pretty and secluded gorge along the River Conwy, with cascading waterfalls hidden beneath a magical woodland canopy.
The Lledr Valley is an expansive area, with many walking routes and places to explore. If you do venture out, we’d love to hear about your adventure. Share your pictures on our social channels and we might feature them on future blogs!
If you've fallen in love with the Lledr, why not take a look at our cottages in the area? Whether you fancy the hustle and bustle of Betws-y-Coed or the rugged beauty of Dolwyddelan, the perfect property is waiting for you.