Coed Felinrhyd

Ceunant Cynfal by Huw Jenkins

  • Location: Lay by near Maentwrog hydro-electric power station, on the Maentwrog to Harlech road.
  • Distance: 4-5 miles
  • Description of this walk: A beautiful waterfall walk taking in Cynfal Falls and local legends.

Finding the route

Cross the main road and walk 100 yards past the hydro-electric power station entrance and over the bridge. Go through the gate just the far side of the bridge and you'll see an information board and map of the route, also pick up a leaflet and map.

Follow a path along the river and climb a steep slope through the woods, eventually reaching a vantage point over the gorge and Rhaeadr Ddu (the Black Falls). From here, follow the path away from the river and circle round, eventually dropping down the slope to where you started from.

Highlights of the walk

On the way down look for the tree by the path with an "R" incised in the bark - this was the site of a murder, described in the walking leaflet.

Other highlights of this walk include the Black Falls - in the heart of the Gorge and some rare and beautiful lichens and mosses in the protected wildlife area.

Derek also came across an active badger set, an old ravens' nest high on the side of a bluff cliff face and spotted jays and dippers.

Local drovers (famous Welsh cattlemen) would start off from the village of Llan Festiniog, and provided a vital link between isolated farming communities and the rest of the world.

The sorcerer - Huw Llwyd

The beautiful gorge was one of many sites of interest on the walk which traced some of the adventures of the famous Welsh mercenary and magician - Huw Llwyd.

Huw was supposed to have charmed the birds from the trees and taught the devil about tobacco, but despite the tall tales, he was a real person and probably used his own stories to enforce his authority.

A much travelled mercenary in Germany and Holland, Huw wrote books on military strategy and picked up all sorts of information about healing plants on his travels - and it is this which probably gave rise to his reputation as a sorcerer.

At the height of his fame he would publicly exorcise people who were being plagued with demons at his famous pulpit - a massive rock in the middle of the River Cynfal - and the "pulpit" is still there today.

The wet weather during the walk, showed off the gorge and falls in all their glory but the team also got soaked as a result!

This walk first appeared on Weatherman Walking 2002, on Radio Wales.

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