Dolwyddelan Castle

  • Location: Dolwyddelan
  • Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • Description of this walk: A round trip walk through verdant valleys and Snowdonian drama.
  • Guide on this walk: Twm Elias

Getting there

You can get here by British Rail down the scenic Conwy Valley line - check the timetable or hop on the bus service between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Betws y Coed.

The local café serves up food and there are also toilets in the village at the station.

Cwm Penamnen Valley

Follow the road West and then South into the lovely enclosed valley of Cwm Penamnen. Go to the far end where you'll find the mound on which the ancient castle stood.

Half way down the valley you'll find a sign for a steep path up through the forest and onto the ridge. Spectacular views from here. Go down the slope towards the river and follow the path through the oak woods back to the village.

It's all in a name

A beautiful place with a beautiful name. Legend has it that a young woman named 'Elan', famed for her looks, wished for her name and reputation to live on forever.

She declared: "Not for nothing am I able to immortalise my name. If there is not any other land prettier than this, henceforth my name shall be upon it."

Her name still remains, and so too does the lovely scenery. Derek thoroughly enjoyed his visit to the Elan meadows.

This is a delightful walk where you are never far away from the sound of rushing water. When Derek and Twm took this stroll they had to contend with heavy rain as well - you can hear the sound of the raindrops on their waterproofs, and the splashes of the puddles underfoot.


As we left the station car park and crossed the bridge over the Cwm Penamnen River, Derek and Twm paused by a willow tree, the source of the pain killing drug - Salicylic Acid found in Aspirin.

A willow warbler, referred to by Twm as "a little brown job", reminded him of a legend sent to him from the National Museum of Zimbabwe, Harare.

By abusing the generosity of the king lion and challenging his authority, the willow warbler was condemned to a life of uninspiring plumage, and a melancholic song.

Llewelyn the Great

The walk heads up a lovely enclosed valley, following the line of Sarn Helen, a Roman Road.

With woodland to our left it was easy to imagine how this area had been used as a hiding place for rogues who wished to escape the law of the land back in the times of Llewelyn the Great.

When Meredydd Ap Ieuan later took over the area, he pledged to get rid of the brigands, in exchange for ownership of the land.

During his control, however, the incidence of cattle-raiding actually increased.

A longer walk

Derek's walk took us to the end of the Roman Road and we then retraced our steps back to the station car park.

If you prefer a longer walk, it is possible to follow a footpath through the woods at Tan-y-Bwlch, and then cut across the Lledr Valley back to Dolwyddelan and enjoy the rugged grandeur of Moel Siabod.

Don't forget to visit Dolwyddelan Castle whilst you're there.

This walk first appeared on Radio Wales, Weatherman Walking, series 2 in 2003.

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Derek Brockway

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Derek running up Garth Mountain

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Photos taken on location during Weatherman Walking.

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