Cliffs, Crags and Cataracts 2010
Trawsnant Waterfall, Llaethnant, Cadair Cataracts, Cwmorthin Falls, Rhaeadr Tan-y-grisiau, Carreg Ddefod Falls, Afon Lliw, Hirgwm Waterfalls, Dulas Falls, Pistyll Hengwm, Severn Cascades, Afon Hore Waterfall, Nant y Berws Falls, Grogwynion Falls. And heat. Lots of heat.
This trip was to visit a series of waterfalls covered by Des Marshall's book Walking to Mid Wales' Waterfalls, and several other lesser sites that were on my personal todo list. The walks in the book are generally longer, covering more than just the waterfalls. Our visits generally covered the bare minimum. If you want extended walks, either use a map and make one up yourself, or use that book. Trawsnant Waterfall, Cwmorthin Falls, Rhaeadr Tan-y-grisiau, Carreg Ddefod Falls, Afon Lliw, some of the Hirgwm Waterfalls, Pistyll Hengwm and the Afon Hore Waterfalls are not in the book.
The trip was made in the worst possible weather for waterfall walks; blazing sunshine on one of the hottest weekends of the year so far. There had not been any rain for a while, and many mountain waterfalls had run dry. The heat was almost unbearable, turning a simple stroll into a fight against the heat. Occasionally the heat haze and harsh shadows would spoil the waterfall views, making this a frustrating way to view them. The mountains and valleys, however, looked nothing short of spectacular, and the wildlife was abundant, so a lot of pictures will be of things other than waterfalls. Enjoy.
Since I do not want to betray their nest site to idiot egg thieves, these are mentioned out of sequence. While blundering around above a gorge, we were lucky enough to see a nesting pair of peregrine falcons. The first flew away at high speed, then circled us at a distance, while its mate remained nearby screeching at us.
While this waterfall has appeared in a fairly well known waterfall book, and in some online guides, it is worth noting that the author of the original book got the name wrong, and each subsequent mention refers to that incorrect name, which has now become established as the recognised name of the waterfall. The waterfall is not on the Trawsnant stream; it is on the Afon Trannon, and the Trawsnant joins the river at the bottom of the waterfall.
- Situated close to the tiny village of Staylittle/Penffordd-Lâs at the upstream end of Llyn Clywedog. Take the tiny lane heading east from the village, and when that splits after 1.5 km, just beyond a steep section, take the left branch. A track on the left has some parking space, and is the start of the walk, at Bwlch-y-wern.
- View from Bwlch-y-wern, towards Glyntrefnant. Follow the track northeast over Esgair Blaen-y-glyn.
- View over the Trawsnant valley. On the left is Gamallt (451 metres) and on the right is Bryn Mawr (450 metres). Just in front of Bryn Mawr is the junction of Trawsnant and Afon Trannon. The best way to reach the waterfall from here is to find a convenient point to follow the grassy fields on the near bank of the Trawsnant to the junction.
- There are some small falls upstream of the main one, and to reach those (if you really think they are worth the effort), continue into the forest, and take the first track to the right. There is some impressive storm damage in the forest here.
- After the track swings left, head off through the tough undergrowth and forest towards Bryn Mawr and the Afon Trannon.
- Cascades on the Trannon. These are difficult to get to, and harder to get around comfortably. Getting past them involves negotiating a tricky slope above the river, while fighting through fallen trees.
- A little way upstream of the main waterfall is this 4 metre fall. This needs to be very carefull skirted to get below it. From this point onwards, you will need to be on the left bank (heading downstream), and take extreme care when locating a point to safely descend to the base of the main waterfall. From there, ford the river again to get to the easier bank, and the normal viewpoint.
- Trawsnant Waterfall, about 10 metres high, dropping off the Craig y Gigfran crags. The Trawsnant joins the plunge pool on the left of this picture.
- Some rather poor little cascades as the Trawsnant drops to the junction.
- Shamrocks at the edge of the pool.
- Whichever route you took, head up onto the grassy fields, and back along the Trawsnant to get back.
- A tiny lightweight CFM Metal FAX Streak Shadow aircraft taking advantage of the excellent conditions.
- Bryn y Fan (482 metres).
- Sunset over the forest.
- Superb panorama of the main Aranau ridge from Bwlch y Groes. The main spiked peak on the left is Aran Fawddwy (905 metres - highest point in Britain south of Snowdon's peaks), with Erw y Ddafad-ddu (872 metres), Aran Benllyn (885 metres) and the rounded Esgeiriau Gwynion (671 metres) and Foel Rhudd (659 metres) to the right. To the left of Aran Fawddwy is the Drysgol ridge, and Llechwedd Du (614 metres) and Foel Hafod-fynydd (689 metres) are in front of it.
- Crags of Pen Foel-y-fridd (514 metres) and Darren Ddu above Llanymawddwy.
- Llaethnant is a hanging valley at the head of the River Dovey/Dyfi, just above Llanymawddwy. On the left are the Ogof Ddu crags of Gwaun Lydan (632 metres), and on the right are the Graig Tŷ-nant crags of Llechwedd Du. The walk starts from the hairpin bend at the bottom of this valley, and follows a track then path along the right edge of the valley.
- Looking back down the Dovey towards Llanymawddwy.
- Small falls on the Nant Llewelyn-goch. From here, the route leaves the main track, and heads along the top of the fence towards the Llaethnant.
- The path suddenly drops into a gorge (careful...), which has some small cascades.
- The waterfalls start at the head of the gorge, with this 6 metre one obscured by the sides. It is not easily visible (the picture was taken by lying on a tree trunk that extended over the gorge).
- Waterfalls climbing out of the gorge. The path here is poorly defined, climbing up above the side of the gorge. It needs a lot of care.
- Cascades with a natural rock bridge.
- The valley opens out but the cascades continue.
- And continue.
- And continue.
- The largest single drop is this 7 metre waterfall.
- Spout above it with a large plunge pool.
- Still the cascades continue.
- The main set of waterfalls tops out at an open section above these double-double drops. 76 metres above the base of the gorge waterfall.
- A very slimy and somewhat risky scramble to the bottom of the waterfall gives the possibility of walking behind the larger spout. It's very slippery, so take care, and only attempt this if you know how to scramble down to it safely.
- The stream actually becomes a stream for a little while, and swings over towards the main track, where it spills out of a ravine and down this waterfall. The upper set of waterfalls have begun. From here, the bank cannot be followed, and the path leads up to the main track.
- Lower end of the ravine.
- Some of the waterfalls hidden in the ravine.
- The ravine waterfalls top out at 40 metres of total height, though most of that cannot be clearly seen.
- The track leads to this rewarding view of the Llaethnant valley heading up to Aran Fawddwy, between Gwaun Lydan and Foel Hafod-fynydd. Either make up your own route beyond here, or return down the track to the start of the walk.
These are normally viewed while following the Minffordd path up Cadair Idris, and are only a minor attraction on the route, compared with the stupendous views of the mountains. The cascades are mentioned as a major feature on the map only due to their proximity to the popular path. Given the rare visibility, a trip was made to see as much of the range as possible at sunrise, before returning later to do the actual walk.
- The stunning northern face of Cadair Idris at sunrise; Mynydd Moel (863 metres), Penygadair (893 metres) and Cyfrwy/The Saddle (811 metres). It is rare to see this mountain without clouds or pouring rain.
- The incredible cliffs of Cyfrwy, at 150 metres high, with 100 metres of scree. The cliffs reach their tallest under Penygadair, at about 250 metres in height, with nearly 100 metres of scree landing in the Llyn y Gadair corrie lake.
- Tyrrau Mawr (661 metres).
- Western part of the Cadair Idris ridge; Tyrrau Mawr, Craig-y-llyn (622 metres), Braich Ddu (546 metres).
- The island in Llynnau Cregennen, with sunrise over the three main Cadair Idris peaks.
- The Mawddach estuary, with the Llŷn Peninsula already disappearing into the heat haze. At sunrise.
- The always-impressive view from Cwm Rhwyddfor, between Craig y Llam and Craig Cwmrhwyddfor, towards the Tal-y-llyn lake and the Tarrenau.
- The route starts at the car park at Minffordd (accessed from the B4405, just after its start). A fee is charged, which is not too expensive, though there is no attendant, so the fee must contribute only to the toilet cleaning, right? The path heads out past the toilet block and down a tree-lined avenue, then past the front of a house to cross the Nant Cadair stream. From there, head upstream on the stepped path running up the left bank.
- The first fall is also one of the largest at 6 metres, hidden from the path, and difficult to reach.
- More obscured cascades above it.
- The first of the cascades visible from the path, and the largest at 8 metres.
- Upper rocky cascades, seen as the path begins to swing away from the stream.
- The tree cover disappears and the path passes through a small gate. The heat instantly becomes unbearable, and doubles the amount of effort and water needed to continue upwards.
- Tucked into the stream cleft after passing through the gate, this waterfall is very hard and quite risky to reach. Note the rainbow.
- There is enough of an undercut to stand or crouch behind it, though it is exceptionally slippery. The overhang is made from a boulder and feels quite unnatural, and not entirely safe. Given the difficulty of reaching it, it is best ignored by most visitors.
- Continuing up the path, the top of a pair of narrow falls can be seen in the cleft, totalling 8 metres in height.
- Nant Cadair's top waterfall is only a few metres high, with the continuous set of waterfalls climbing around 30 metres.
- Light in the Nant Cadair forests.
- The valley finally becomes a more gentle slope, and opens out significantly. The heat may have been enough to need a giant parasol, but the view of Mynydd Moel made it feel worth enduring. The steady climb up the valley was still exhausting due to the temperature, and many walkers were cowering behind rock outcrops with bright red faces. I nearly abandoned the rest of the walk, with my arms and legs getting confused tingling, chills and goose pimples from overheating - absolutely ridiculous temperatures to be scrambling around and lugging camera kit.
- Finally, one of the most stupendous views in Snowdonia; the 320 metre Craig Cau cliffs over the immaculate corrie lake Llyn Cau. The mountain in the middle is Mynydd Pencoed, but most often referred to by the name of its south-facing crag - Craig Cwm Amarch (791 metres). On the right is the main peak; Penygadair, 420 metres above the lake. On the left is the Minffordd Path, with the large Pencoed Pillar just to the left of Mynydd Pencoed.
- And at last, a way to beat the heat. Less than 10°C water for 10 minutes. I certainly was not the only one in there - many others were also dowsing themselves in the refreshing temperatures.
- As we began heading down, the hoards of walkers arrived, one bus-load at a time. At one point, a breeze (yes, really) actually threatened to appear, but it was probably just a shockwave pushed up by all the walkers.
- The Dyfi hill with five names; Ceiswyn, Mwdwl Eithin, Mynydd Dol-ffanog, Mynydd Hafotty, Yr Allt (545 metres). Does it really deserve all that?
- Mynydd Rugog (504 metres) in the Tarren Hills.
- Female chaffinch.
Cwmorthin Falls, Rhaeadr Tan-y-grisiau and Carreg Ddefod Falls
- Right beside the visitor centre in Tanygrisiau (a housing etstate in Blaenau Ffestiniog), on the shore of the Tanygrisiau Reservoir, the Afon Cwmorthin flows under the road. This is the view from its bridge, with the white railings being the edge of the Ffestiniog Railway. The waterfall is known mainly as one of the views seen flashing past the windows of the train.
- There is no convenient way to get closer to it without being on the train. The only approach I could see was to hop down off the bridge onto the open access land at the river, head upstream to the railway bridge, and duck under it.
- Cwmorthin Falls, about 6 metres high.
- Tiny cascades on a nearby stream, sometimes incorrectly stated as the location of Cwmorthin Falls.
- Above the visitor centre, the road crosses the railway line and climbs up to an upper part of the river. On the right bank of the river (facing upstream), a narrow lane, Cwmorthin Road, leads to a car park among the industrial mess of old mines and their waste.
- Just upstream of the car park is this rather poor waterfall, about 5 metres tall. If you stand in just the right place on the path passing over the river, it can be made to look reasonably attractive. It is locally referred to as Rhaeadr Tan-y-grisiau.
- Crags on Moelwyn Bach (710 metres).
- Manod Bach (511 metres) and Manod Mawr (661 metres), with Y Garnedd (552 metres) in the distance.
- Superb view of the Moelwynion from Llan Ffestiniog; Moelwyn Bach, Craigysgafn (689 metres), Moelwyn Mawr (770 metres) and the barely discernible Moelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top (646 metres), Moel-yr-hydd (648 metres), Moel Druman (676 metres), Allt Fawr (698 metres) with the Glyderau over its right shoulder, Manod Bach, Manod Mawr with the bold Carreg y Frân crags and bank of the Afon Teigl to its right, distant view of Y Gamallt (590 metres) and Y Garnedd.
- Moelwyn Bach, Craigysgafn, Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top, showing the distinctive Llyn Stwlan dam.
- Following the B4391 past Rhaeadr y Cwm, then taking the B4407 until it crosses the infant Afon Conwy, the road passes Llyn Cottage.
- On the opposite side of the road is a crag known as Carreg Ddefod, where the Afon Conwy falls down a series of small cascades. These are marked as a feature on the map only because they can be seen from the road. They are not worth a visit even if you are already in the area.
- However, the view from such a blank spot on the Migneint plateau here is fairly good; Arenig Fach (689 metres), Arenig Fawr (854 metres), Arenig Fawr South Top (836 metres), Arenig Fawr South Ridge Top (712 metres) and Moel Llyfnant (751 metres).
Although Des Marshall's book does describe a walk around this area, it covers only the top waterfalls, and concentrates mainly on a route through the forests above. Our route starts at the bottom, and concentrates only on the waterfalls.
- The Cadair Idris ridge from near Bontddu; Mynydd Moel, Penygadair and Cyfrwy.
- Right by the phone box on the side of the A469 in Bontddu, a footpath barely wider than a human leads up past a small church.
- The path enters a forest and runs along the edge of the Afon Hirgwm's gorge, about 10 metres up with no protection. It may be a fairly well made path, but take care.
- Cascades hidden in the gorge.
- The first of the larger waterfalls, each of which is about 6 or 7 metres tall. Viewing these must be done very carefully to avoid slipping into the gorge.
- The second of the larger waterfalls, at the head of the gorge. Here, the path swings further away from the river, making the waterfalls harder to see.
- Cascades just above.
- 1 km upstream, the path joins a narrow lane by another phone box. Just before this, a path leads down to a series of cascades.
- These are the cascades mentioed in the book as the Hirgwm Waterfalls. Slightly underwhelming. From there, either return down the path, or down the extremely steep lane.
These are once again mentioned in Des Marshall's book, but the route described there is much more extensive. It fails, however, to get a good view of the waterfalls. A route with better views is described here.
There are two rivers called Afon Dulas that join the Dovey/Dyfi at Machynlleth. One flows from the Pumlumon plateau to the south, and one flows from Cadair Idris' Dyfi Hills in the north (apparently, they like to have confusing river names in Machynlleth). Each of them has waterfalls. The waterfalls described here are the ones located on the northern Afon Dulas, at Aberllefenni near Corris. The waterfalls on the other Afon Dulas have already been covered in a previous gallery.
- Rhobell Fawr (734 metres) and Dduallt, seen from the Dyfi Hills.
- Our walk starts in Aberllefenni, in a side valley near Corris. There are plenty of places to park around the road junction in Aberllefenni, where there is also this little dam and its overspill weir.
- Sides of the Llefenni valley, littered with immense quarries and enormous, gaping mine openings.
- Take the lane heading down the left side of the Llefenni stream, and just after it turns left, head through some farm gates on the right, and over this footbridge over the Afon Dulas.
- Turn left and follow a path that climbs up through trees to some fields.
- At the fields, take the path heading left, and follow the edge of the field, which turns right to head up to a derelict farm.
- At the farm, the route enters the Dyfi Forest. Turn left and follow the path above the river. The book tells you to look from here, but the view is so badly obstructed that absolutely nothing was visible. Instead, continue until a path leads down to the left, and follow it over a bridge, where it then becomes possible to walk back downstream along the river, with a fairly well defined path.
- Bluebells by the river.
- A poorly defined side path gives a view of the first waterfall. Not very big and not very impressive.
- Slightly further along the deteriorating path are these two little waterfalls in a tiny gorge. From here, head back up to the fairly well defined path, then left and follow it to a road. Follow that to the left to reach Aberllefenni.
At the northern edge of the Pumlumon plateau, there are several valleys cutting into it. One of these contains the spectacular Pistyll y Llyn, and the one beside it contains the Afon Hengwm (the one after that contains the non-waterfalls of Rhaeadr Ddu and Rhaeadr Wen, as well as the Dulas Gorge Falls). The river flows north to join the Afon Dulas (the other one this time), after beginning its life at the southern end of the valley at Bwlch Hyddgen, on the flanks of Siambr Trawsfynydd.
Another river begins on the same hill, and confusingly is also called the Afon Hengwm, flowing south into the Nant-y-moch Reservoir. This is a much more extensive river, and is better known. The waterfall is located on the more northern Afon Hengwm, and both the waterfall and river are virtually unknown, despite lying right beside the Lôn Las Cymru walking/cycling trail, and the Glyndŵr's Way trail.
My personal recommendation is to visit this impressive waterfall on a walk that also includes Pistyll y Llyn. Start at Cwmyrhaiadr, take the paths marked on the 1:25'000 Explorer maps to the top of Pistyll y Llyn, then take a forestry track to reach Lôn Las Cymru, follow that northwards along the edge of the Hengwm valley to reach Glyndŵr's Way, follow that northwest, branching off along a track to arrive back at Cwmyrhaiadr. Pistyll Hengwm should be visible from various points along the Lôn Las Cymru section. For best results, the walk should be done after a long spell of rain, with an overcast sky.
- Our route began at the farms at Talbontdrain, beyond Forge near Machynlleth, taking Glyndŵr's Way up a farm track towards the Pen y Darren ridge.
- The iconic red kite, soaring on the obviously excellent thermals.
- The track enters a forest, and at the first corner, Glyndŵr's Way heads off. We stayed with the track as it zig-zagged slowly upwards, eventually taking the first track to the right after a long, fairly straight section.
- The northern scarp of the Pumlumon plateau, with the two obvious spikes being Moelfre (469 metres) and Foel Fadian (564 metres).
- Furry caterpillar.
- At the top of the track, an obvious little summit (440 metres) on Pen y Darren was our target. Panorama of the Dovey/Dyfi valley from the summit. On the left are the distant Tarrenau and Cadair Idris. To the right of Cadair Idris are the Dyfi Hills. The spiked peak in the middle of the picture marks the start of the Aranau range. On the right is the Pumlumon platau's scarp, with Moelfre, Foel Fadian and the slopes of Siambr Trawsfynydd (582 metres).
- In the opposite direction is the Afon Hengwm valley. On the left are Foel Fadian and Siambr Trawsfynydd, on the right are the Creigiau Bwlch Hyddgen crags, and in the middle are the Pumlumon summits; Pen Pumlumon Arwystli (741 metres), Pen Pumlumon Llygad-bychan (727 metres), Pumlumon Fawr (752 metres) and the top of Y Garn (684 metres). Directly in front of Pumlumon Fawr is Pumlumon Fach (664 metres).
- Tucked into the hideous shadow at the end of the valley is Pistyll Hengwm. It has no official name, and is referred to locally as either Pistyll Hengwm or just Afon Hengwm. The waterfall drops 110 metres in total, with the top section being a 75 metre horsetail (with a kink part way down), followed by 20 metres dropped in two smaller horsetails, and finally 15 metres of cascades. The bottom 20 metres cannot be seen in this picture. The top section slopes quite gently, so its height is dropped over about 90 metres of rockface.
- For the purists among you, this is the original image that came out of the camera. As you can see, this really did need to be cleaned up (despite my normal desire to use photographs in their original state - panorama stitches aside), taking a lot of work to preserve the natural character instead of an HDR cartoon. There is no combination of lens filters that could clean up such an intense heat haze, but if it makes you feel better to look at a "pure" photograph, here it is. Enjoy.
- The Pumlumon scarp seen from the far end. On the left is Foel Fadian and Foel Esgair-y-llyn (505 metre buttress), after that is Siambr Trawsfynydd, and lastly are Pen y Darren (529 metres) and Pen Creigiau'r Llan (507 metres).
- View over Cwm Dwfn. On the left is Moelfre, and on the right is Cerrig Gwynion (527 metres). Both streams in the valley have some immature waterfalls, but none are named. Just under that crag, the Cwm Dwfn stream drops steeply down a very long waterslide. This will be picked up in a future gallery.
- The Waun y Dyffryn plateau near Dylife. On the left are Y Grug (520 metres) and Banc Bugeilyn (551 metres). In the middle are the Pumlumon peaks. On the right are the Glaslyn lake, Siambr Trawsfynydd and Foel Fadian.
Near the bottom of the Afon Hengwm waterfall is a tiny kettle lake called Llyn y Delyn, which is only filled after heavy rain. For more details of this lake, see Richard Williams' Dyfi Valley notes.
Severn Cascades and the Afon Hore Waterfall
The Severn Cascades part of this route is described in Des Marshall's book, as by far the easiest walk (designed to be followed by regular wheelchairs). Our route extends it significantly to around 8 km, taking in tougher terrain (though all of it can be walked without much difficulty), and adding all of the Afon Hore's waterfalls. It is worth noting, however, that none of the main Afon Hore waterfalls are truly natural - more on that later.
- Starting at the Rhyd-y-Benwch car park (the most obvious car park) in the Hafren Forest, the route begins through the wooden archway, dropping down to the river.
- At the River Severn, the route follows the blindingly obvious and obnoxious raised walkway upstream.
- The walkway ends at the Severn Cascades, which are rather pitiful, but may look better in higher flow. The walking path continues along the edge of the river here as the Wye Valley Walk. On the way back, there is an alternative route from here, heading up into the forest above the walkway, then curving to the right to arrive back at the car park.
- New trees growing on the roots of fallen trees.
- Occasionally open view showing the slopes of Pumlumon Arwystli. While this may seem nice, it also meant that the trees could not shade us from the sun.
- When the junction with the Afon Hore is reached, the desired direction is to continue ahead up the Afon Hore, but to get there, the path heads up the Severn for a while before reaching a bridge. Cross it and return along the other bank to the Afon Hore. Alternatively, you may be able to ford the River Severn, if the water levels are low enough.
- The Afon Hore begins with a flume and associated building. Immediately upstream is this cascade, marked as a waterfall on the 1:25'000 map. Although the cascade is mostly natural, the top has been capped as a weir.
- The Afon Hore has lots of noisy little cascades tucked in its small, immature gorges, but none of them are very significant.
- Eventually the valley opens out to give a nice view of Pumlumon Arwystli, and the Hore Fach crags.
- The path reaches a forestry track, which passes over a series of small cascades. Just upstream of the track's bridge, this little waterfall drops from the outflow of a flume.
- To the right along the track is the way to Rhaeadr Blaenhafren, and these could easily be combined into a single walking route, taking in Severn Break-its-neck as well, just by following appropriate tracks (take a map and make up your own route). Our route, however, continues upstream on the right bank of the river, ignoring the track, and passing beside the flume.
- Once again there are many noisy little cascades. Without trees, there was no more protection from the ridiculous temperatures. Water consumption reached 1 litre per hour, and the mining pollution meant that the river water could not be used when our water ran out.
- The first major landmark is an old mine working site, with the remains of various mining buildings. Take care as there are disused shafts and adits around here.
- Just upstream of the buildings is a small natural waterfall, and immediately upstream of that, the stream emerges from abandoned mine workings.
- The workings are fenced off, but it is possible to hop over the fence (please don't do this unless you really are sure of your abilities) and approach the edge of the enormous chasm, to see a 6 metre waterfall dropping into it, beside a rock bridge spanning the chasm. It is possible to walk through the old mine workings to reach the waterfall, but this absolutely must not be attempted without experience in exploring mine workings - there are several unexpected dangers to watch out for.
- The mine workings continue beyond the waterfall, following a vein, but there is no safe way down into it - in fact, there are several holes hiding under the undergrowth that could cause you to slip in. Best to stay on the safe side of the fence. The waterfall's plunge pool prevents any easy access, and although it would be possible to traverse around it or abseil into the upper end of the chasm to get behind the waterfall, the waterfall itself is not natural, and therefore does not really deserve that sort of attention. Leave it alone.
- Just upstream the path joins a track, and from there, there is a view of the main 6 metre Afon Hore Waterfall. The mine workings on the left and the remains of a dam on the right show that this was previously a holding reservoir for the mines, and the stream used to flow at the bottom of the valley. It now flows through the marshy reservoir base, and overflows at the side. Naturally, the waterfall would not be here at all, and it exists only because it has been diverted there by human interference. Nice, but not really a proper waterfall. Time to return to the car.
Coed Maen Arthur, Nant y Berws Falls and Grogwynion Falls
This is another walk from Des Marshall's book, taking in the entire forest. As the last walk of the trip, we followed it completely, noting that it is exceptionally complicated due to the number of paths in the forest. Although I will describe the route to the waterfalls, from there on, it gets a bit too much, and you may just want to use the book if you plan on walking the entire route. It is worth noting that some of the marker post positions have been changed since the book was written.
The walk begins at Pont-rhyd-y-groes in the Ystwyth Valley. Either park near the Miners Arms Hotel on the B4343, or on the minor road leading diagonally off the B4343 a short distance to the south of the Miners Arms, when heading towards Ysbyty Ystwyth. There is space to park near the giant water wheel.
- Water wheel at Pont-rhyd-y-groes. The path down to the river starts directly opposite this.
- The path drops to the Miners Bridge, a narrow footbridge set on the site of its 150 year old predecessor, well over 10 metres above the river Ystwyth's deep gorge. On the far side, take the path to the left to reach a forestry track. Turn left along the forestry track to continue the route.
- Right beside the bridge is this unnamed 19 metre waterfall, marred by that ugly pipe and landslide.
- A short distance along the forestry track, the Nant y Berws stream plunges over the far side of the gorge, dropping a 3 metre cascade and 9 metre waterfall to reach the river. These have no official name, but Nant y Berws Falls seems appropriate. You may need to make your way down through the forest to the edge of the gorge to see the waterfall.
- After 400 metres, a well-defined path with a marker post leads off on the left, down to the gorge. Once at the gorge, head downstream.
- Striped rock.
- The gorge.
- Small cascade in the gorge, seen from some logs poorly placed over the gorge edge. Take care. Just beyond here, the path climbs back up to the forestry track. Immediately take another path heading back down to the left.
- The path zig-zags down to the remains of a part stone, part log dam. Just upstream, another small waterfall enters on the far bank, but it may be impossible to see through the leaves in summer. There are other remains of mine workings in the area.
- Turn right at the top of the dam. The path soon begins a steady climb up to the forestry track again. Turn right then left onto a stepped path. When this reaches an overgrown upper track, turn right then left again onto another stepped path. The steps stop for a while.
- Just after the steps restart, a little path on the left reaches the base of Grogwynion Falls. These are about 37 metres high, though a fallen tree, low flow and thick foliage all combine to make them more difficult to see.
- Cascades at the base of the waterfall.
- Back on the main path, continue up the steps for a long way, turning left at a junction and slowly sweeping around to the right. The views over the Ystwyth valley are quite rewarding, even though the heat was making it harder and harder to continue walking.
- Bluebells with a small white butterfly.
- One of two rare white bluebells.
- Thick bluebell carpet.
- View down the Afon Ystwyth to its lower meanders, as it makes its way to Aberystwyth.
- Distant view of the Cambrian Mountains running past Tregaron. The highest is Garn Gron (541 metres).
- Heading towards Cwmystwyth, with the highest hill being Llethr Tirion (594 metres). Follow the track to a stile on the left. Cross it and follow the path until it turns a hairpin bend to the right at a marker post, then reaches a stile some distance below the first one.
- Bluebells in light and shadow.
- Cross the stile and continue ahead, crossing a track, and then descending through the forest to a junction with a marker post. Turn sharp left, and follow the level path which later descends to another marker post.
- Turn left and follow the path to a cottage. Turn right onto the forestry track. Take the path that peels off on the left at a marker post, and descend back to the Miners Bridge.