Gwydir Forest Park - Betws-y-coed

Choice of peaceful forest walks away from the tourist bustle

What's here

Coronavirus update

 

Our walking trails from Betws-y-coed are open but there may be some diversions – please follow signs on site.

 

There is a temporary one-way system on the Coed Tan Dinas Walk. A section of this route now follows the path through the forest to the Council road and is graded as moderate instead of easy.

 

Facilities and car parks in Betws-y-coed are managed by other organisations – please check local arrangements.

 

Visiting our sites safely

 

We are working hard to provide a safe and welcoming experience as our sites re-open.

 

Please take personal responsibility for your safety, making additional preparations ahead of your visit and abiding by the safety measures in place.

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

See our tips about how to plan for a safe visit.

 

Other information

 

Gwydir Reservoir Safety Work - increased traffic on forest roads

 

The above project will be using a route through this area of the forest to take material to site. Due to this, there will be an increased volume of lorries using some of the road network.

 

Orienteering courses

 

Two control post locations are out of bounds due to windblown trees.

Welcome

Betws-y-coed is one of the most popular villages in the Snowdonia National Park.

Much of Betws-y-coed was built in Victorian times and Gwydir Forest Park encircles this pretty village.

There is an easy boardwalk and footpath from the Pont y Pair car park through some of the giant Douglas fir trees, planted in the 1920s, and along the banks of the Afon Llugwy.

There are also four waymarked trails from Betws-y-coed which go up into the peaceful forested hillsides that surround the village.

The permanent orienteering courses through Gwydir Forest Park begin just outside Betws-y-coed.

Walking trails

All of the walking trails are waymarked from the Pont y Pair car park in the centre of Betws-y-coed (apart from the Llyn Elsi Trail).

The Llyn Elsi Trail starts behind St Mary’s Church.

Coed Tan Dinas Trail

¾ mile/1.2 kilometres, easy

Follow the boardwalk and wide path alongside the river on this short walk through very tall trees. Look at the majestic Douglas fir trees which are up to 100 years old.

Cyrau Trail

1½ miles/2.5 kilometres, strenuous

The Cyrau Trail climbs through some majestic Douglas firs to give a stunning view over Betws-y-coed.

The path returns to the village along an avenue-like forest road with trees growing either side. Download more info about the trail.

Pen yr Allt Trail

4½ miles/7.1 kilometres, strenuous

The Pen yr Allt Trail is a circular route through shady fir forests and upland meadows. 

The path passes abandoned mines and offers breathtaking views of the ever dominant Moel Siabod and the Conwy Valley.

It returns along the River Llugwy (if there has been a lot of rain, the river may flood part of this path and you should follow the diversion).

Llyn Parc Trail

6½ miles/10.6 kilometres, strenuous

The Llyn Parc Trail sets off along an old miners' path and goes past the ruins of Aberllyn Mine.

After reaching the lake, it continues along the shore before passing a small waterfall on its way back to the village.

Llyn Elsi Trail

4 miles/6.2 kilometres, strenuous

The Llyn Elsi Trail starts on the forest road behind St Mary’s Church in Betws-y-coed.

Follow this road to woodland where the route is then waymarked to Llyn Elsi.

The path goes around the lake with views of the island that supports nesting seagulls and geese.

Orienteering courses

Test your map-reading skills by navigating between wooden marker posts on one of the permanent orienteering courses in Gwydir Forest Park.

The courses begin just outside Betws-y-coed and finish in the centre of the village. 

All three routes are graded to British Orienteering Federation standards and were designed by Eryri Orienteers.

Orange Course 

  • Grade: Medium
  • Suitable for: Beginners who can understand a map
  • Distance: 2.1 kilometres

The Orange Course has medium navigational difficulty and 10 controls.

Green Course

  • Grade: Very hard
  • Suitable for: Experienced orienteers
  • Distance: 4.5 kilometres

The Green Course requires technically difficult navigation and has 16 controls.

Blue Course

  • Grade: Very hard
  • Suitable for: Experienced orienteers
  • Distance: 5.8 kilometres

The Blue Course requires technically difficult navigation and has 16 controls.

How to follow the orienteering courses

  • Download the maps and instructions (see below) and print at home. Or buy an A3 sized version of the map, printed on waterproof paper at a scale of 1:7,500, from Betws Tourist Information or Cotswolds Outdoor Shop
  • Pick your course and navigate between the "controls" (wooden marker posts)
  • Complete the course in your own time
  • Check your answers against the answer sheet provided with your map or downloaded from this page

To reach the starting point, follow the minor road (Ffordd Craiglan) alongside Cotswolds Rock Bottom outlet out of Betws-y-coed to a layby (OS grid reference SH 795 559) on the left after around 150 metres – look out for the sign at the side of the road.

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Exploring Gwydir Forest Park

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park and encircles the village of Betws-y-coed.

Lead and zinc mining once dominated the area and the legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.

Several of the most important mines have been partially restored and made safe for visitors.

In addition to the walks from Betws-y-coed, waymarked walks start from several other Natural Resources Wales car parks in Gwydir Forest Park.

Two red graded mountain bike trails, Gwydir Mawr and Gwydir Bach, start from Sawbench and Hafna.

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

How to get here

Pont y Pair is in the centre of the village of Betws-y-coed which is at the junction of the A5 and the A470.

Pont y Pair car park is operated by Conwy County Borough Council. There is a parking charge.

Directions

Pont y Pair car park is at the junction of the B5106 and the A5 in Betws-y-coed over a narrow bridge.

Ordnance Survey map

Pont y Pair is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 791 567.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Betws-y-coed. For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.

Contact details

0300 065 3000

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk 

Related document downloads

Cyrau Walk guide PDF [292.9 KB]
Pen yr Allt Walk guide PDF [1.6 MB]
Llyn Parc Walk guide PDF [614.6 KB]
Llyn Elsi Walk guide PDF [430.5 KB]
Orange course map.pdf PDF [806.2 KB]
Green course map.pdf PDF [806.4 KB]
Blue course map.pdf PDF [865.6 KB]

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