Gwydir Forest Park - Sawbench, near Llanrwst

What's here


Sawbench is the starting point for a short walking trail and two red graded mountain bike trails.

The walking trail takes in historical features and has views over the Conwy Valley and Llanrwst.

The mountain bike trails are the classic Gwydir Mawr and a shorter, bitesize option Gwydir Bach.

Walking trail

The walking trail is waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trail.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Lady Mary’s Walk

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1¼ miles/2.1 kilometres
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Trail information: The trail is on a mixture of wide forest roads and a path with an unmade uneven surface where you can expect some mud, rocks and tree roots. There is a chicane at the start of the trail, and at the top of the first hill, with a gap of around 60 cm to walk through. You will pass through another chicane, following a rough unmade path to rejoin the forest road where you'll follow the route to the Tudor Bowling Green, with a picnic table and a bench with a final vista down the Conwy valley en route to the car park.

This short historical walk has several viewpoints giving glimpses of the old market town of Llanrwst.

The walk is named after one of two Lady Marys from the Wynn family who bought the land and built up the historic Gwydir Estate.

The walk takes in two sculptures by local artists, one of which is a memorial to the old Llanrwst Town Hall.

Listen to the story of Llanrwst and the famous Wynns of Gwydir on our mp3 audio trail.​

Mountain bike trails

All our mountain bike trails are waymarked from start to finish and have been graded for difficulty.

At the start of the trail there is an information panel – please read this before setting off.

Gwydir Bach

  • Grade: Red/Difficult
  • Distance: 9.1 kilometres
  • Climb: 350 metres
  • Time: 45 minutes-1½ hours

Gwydir Bach is the little sister to its bigger brother, Gwydir Mawr.

Two big climbs earn you arguably the best descents of the whole trail, all wrapped up in one easy to digest, bitesize chunk.

Gwydir Mawr

  • Grade: Red/Difficult
  • Distance: 24.8 kilometres
  • Climb: 800 metres
  • Time: 2-4 hours

Gwydir Mawr is one of the original mountain bike trails and is a true classic.

Big climbs, big descents, brilliant singletrack and truly awesome scenery make this a trail to remember.

Now including a brand new two kilometre section with a mix of traditional hand dug trail and modern flow trail features.

You can also start Gwydir Mawr from Hafna car park.​

Gwydir Forest Park

Sawbench is in Gwydir Forest Park.

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Eryri (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.

Waymarked trails start from Betws-y-coed and several other Natural Resources Wales car parks in Gwydir Forest Park:

  • Betws-y-coed - peaceful forest walks away from the tourist bustle
  • Cae'n y Coed - easy-to-find picnic area and walk with panoramic mountain views
  • Cyffty Mine - short trail around abandoned lead mine
  • Dolwyddelan - views of Snowdonia’s peaks on walking trail along Roman road
  • Hafna - walking trail through lead mine ruins and red-graded mountain bike trail
  • Llyn Crafnant - walking trails around the lake and accessible riverside trail
  • Llyn Geirionydd - picnic site with walking trail around two beautiful lakes
  • Llyn Sarnau - picnic spot with a walk to two scenic lakes
  • Penmachno - remote mountain bike trails with spectacular views
  • Ty’n Llwyn – walking trail to the famous Swallow Falls waterfall

Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park

Gwydir Forest Park is set in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park.

Eryri is the largest National Park in Wales and is home to picturesque towns and villages and the highest mountain in Wales.

It is looked after by the Eryri National Park Authority.

For more information about visiting Eryri go to the Eryri National Park Authority website.

National Forest for Wales

Gwydir Forest Park forms part of the National Forest for Wales.

The National Forest will:

  • create areas of new woodland
  • enhance existing woodlands
  • restore Wales’ irreplaceable ancient woodlands.

In time it will form a connected ecological network running throughout Wales, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits.

For more information about the National Forest for Wales go to the Welsh Government website.

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • 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 on site and any temporary diversion signs. 

How to get here


Sawbench is 1 mile west of Llanrwst. 

It is in the county of Conwy.

Ordnance Survey map

Sawbench is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 790 609.


Take the B5106 from Llanrwst towards Betws-y-coed.

After turning left at the brown and white sign for Gwydir Castle, turn immediately right onto a minor road.

Take the first forest road on the left signposted Sawbench/Mainc Llifio.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Llanrwst.

For details of public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website.


Car parking is free of charge.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Contact details

There are no staff at this location.

Contact our customer team for general enquiries during office hours, Monday to Friday.

Related document downloads

Lady Mary’s Walk guide PDF [530.0 KB]

Other places in North West Wales

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