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7 miles / 10km – 3hrs.
A long but moderate walk, largely on quiet country lanes along the floor of the beautiful Cywarch valley. It can be muddy in several places and the final section alongside the River Dyfi includes a ford that can be ankle deep after rain.
The path can also be followed using this Ordnance Survey Map.
The route is described in a clockwise direction but the path is also signed in the opposite direction.
Park in Dinas Mawddwy car park, opposite the Llew Coch (Red Lion) Inn. There are public toilets at the entrance to the car park.
Walk back out of the car park and, at the toilets, turn left down the hill.
Follow the road for 300m, passing the common on your right, and then crossing over a bridge. Immediately after the bridge is the entrance to Ty’n y Pwll caravan park. Turn into the drive for a few metres and then take the signed footpath on the right.
Follow the footpath diagonally uphill for 400m to a T-junction with a broad track. Turn right through a gate and follow the track for ~1km until it joins a metalled lane and road at a junction. Turn left onto the lane (road signs for no through road and ‘2 Tons’) .
1. The track above the caravan park is called Wtra Ty’n y Foel (Ootra Teen uh voil), The track (wtra) of the smallholding (Tyddyn, shortened to Ty’n) of the bald mountain (y Foel).
Follow the metalled lane as it takes you into Cwm Cywarch. After nearly 2km, at Nant yr Henfaes, the tarmac ends at a gate. Continue onwards through the gate and follow the track through several more gates to another metalled lane at the bridge of Pont Lydan.
Points of interest:
2. The bridge at the end of this section is called Pont Lydan (pronounced ‘Luddan’) – it means ‘Wide Bridge’, presumably in contrast to even narrower bridges elsewhere! The cliff face in front of you at the head of the valley is Craig Cywarch and further up the valley is an old lead mine.
Turn left and follow this lane. After 1km you will reach a signed turning on the right, at a footbridge and ford. Cross the stream and follow the broad track uphill for 200m, then turn right onto a level footpath that takes you back down the Cywarch valley.
Follow the path, past a ruin, for 500m to Ty’n y Twll – a modern barn conversion and a farmhouse beyond. Take the signed route behind the converted barn and then bear left, through a gate, to walk behind the main farmhouse. Once past the farmhouse bear right again to rejoin the track.
Points of interest:
3. Llwybr Hengwm – Hengwm path.
As you cross the footbridge Hengwm is the valley ahead of you, although you will be turning right, back down the Cywarch valley. The path to the hills above Hengwm was built to transport peat which was used for heating and cooking.
Follow this track for 300m to the ruins of Llawr Cywarch and through a pedestrian gate. From here, navigation can briefly be a little tricky as new path has been made. You are aiming for the abandoned house of Ty’n y Maes (see picture) 200m away.
Go through a wide farm gate covered in footpath signs and bear diagonally rightwards for 100m, to a new pedestrian gate. Once through the gate turn left and walk to and past the front of Ty’n y Maes (which is in an unstable state and shouldn’t be entered), joining the farm track at Ceunant Farm just ahead.
Walk a few hundred metres down the track to join the lane at the bottom of the valley.
Turn left and follow this lane for 2.5km back to the road at Abercywarch.
Points of interest:
4. Ceunant (Caynant – meaning gorge or ravine).
The last farmhouse before you rejoin the lane at the floor of Cwm Cywarch is Ceunant. Legend has it that people tried to build a church here, but dragons would fight beneath it and demolish the walls every time they were built.
Around here small fields show the result of betting on races that were held on the common, y Fawnog, below. People would bet land instead of money. Y Fawnog (uh vow-nog) means peat bog, but the peat was soon used and it had to be collected from above Hengwm.
5. Darren Fawr a Chwarel Nod Glas
1.5 km along the lane from Ceunant, on your left, is the mountain of Darren Fawr (vow-r – the ‘big escarpment’) and Chwarel Nod Glas (literally, the ‘quarry for blue markings’) where blue ochre was quarried. It was used to make a marking paste to identify sheep from different farms. Each farm would have a unique letter or two, e.g. H for Hughes.
At the road junction at Abercywarch, turn left for 30m, and then cross over the road to join a footpath that immediately crosses a footbridge.
Once over the River Dyfi, turn right alongside the riverbank and follow the riverbank. After 500m you will climb gently into a field. As the village of Dinas Mawddwy becomes visible keep to the right fenceline to follow a permissive path marked with roundels. The path descends some wooden steps to a ford – up to ankle deep after rain. Cross the ford and proceed a few hundred metres to a footbridge onto Dinas Mawddwy common, close to where you started.
If the ford is impassable it is possible to re-ascend the wooden steps and walk 100m up the field to join the right of way that passes behind Tanybwlch farmhouse. Then turn right to the footbridge.
Once over the footbridge, either rejoin the road and walk up the hill to the car park, or bear left on the footpath alongside the river which takes you to the High Street opposite the Hen Siop Cafe.
Points of interest:
6. Aber Cywarch – Melin wlan
Here at Aber Cywarch (abber cowark) footbridge the cutting to carry water to the woollen mill (melin wlan) is still visible.
7. Afon Dyfi by Tanybwlch Farm
There is an long tradition of salmon poaching here and an unlikely local legend tells of a tunnel to the top of Foel Benddin from the river!
Here is part of Rhys Gwynn’s work in collecting names in the area as a warden for the National Park. The majority was had from Beti Plas y Bont Cywarch.
Thanks to Rhys Gwynn for his work
The above list of names shows the richness of the Welsh language which describes the features on the rock of Craig Cywarch – rock, streams, passes, encampment, hollow, hole, hut, glacial feature, references to folk tales, crows, foxes, pigs, goats – all on one mountain face.