Your route through the mines will depend on your enthusiasm for industrial archaeology! What follows gives you some of the highlights.
The higher-level route from Cymmer to Conwy follows the same line as the main route as far as the Miners' Bridge. Cross the bridge and keep straight on up a steep footpath. At SH 78021 57031 cross the metalled road and continue up a steep track through the woodsand over a stile to leave the woods. Technically the right of way goes through the garden of Diosgydd-uchaf but it's probaby better to bypass this by walking above the farm house. Follow a faint grassy track across the field behind the house. At SH 77587 57823 cross a stile into the forest.
The track divides almost immediately. Bear right, then at SH 77307 58155 turn left on a forest road. Turn right almost immediately and go over a stile to leave the forest. Walk up the slope to your right on a stiled and waymarked path past Hafotypengraig farm to the remains of the lead mine at Croffty.
From Croffty turn right on the metalled road and walk past the reservoir. At SH 77496 59013 take the forest track to the left. When the track divides, turn left. Ignore the first turning to the left, pass Bryn-y-fawnog, then when the track divides bear left. At SH 77039 59479 take the footpath straight on. Turn right on the metalled road. Across the road is the Cors Bodgynydd nature reserve (http://www.northwaleswildlifetrust.org.uk/cy/reserves/cors-bodgynydd). Part of this is actually a huge area of mining spoil which has created a niche ecology for plants which can cope with contamination. Continue along the road until you reach the end of the trees to your right, then take the track to the right past Castell-y-gwynt and on to Llanrhychwyn.
For more time in the lead mines, after Croffty,tay on the road past Llyn Sarnau. The Llanrwst Mine is in the grounds of the Nant Bwlchyrhaiarn Outdoor Activities Centre. Take the track to the right between the lake and the centre, bear round to the left, cross a waymarked stile and walk up to the mine. Return to the road and turn right. Ignore the first forest road to the right and take the waymarked footpath just beyond it. This runs along the Llanrwst Mine deep adit then joins the line of the tramway to the Vale of Conway mine. A little way past the actual mine, the ruined building to the left was the mine office.
At SH 78104 59991 turn left on the forest track and walk up to Hafna Mine. From here you can continue a little further along the road to Parc Mine or take the footpath through the Hafna complex, up steps and along a forest track to rejoin the main route on the track south of Castell y Gwynt.
Head for the lovely little church at Llanrhychwyn (OS ref SH 77474 61672). From here, you can walk down hill to Trefriw (pubs, shops and plenty of accommodation, a weaving mill and a Roman spa) or cut across Cefn Cyfarwydd towards Llyn Cowlyd and Llyn Eigiau using routes in the Trefriw Trails leaflet. (Downloadable leaflet at http://www.visitllandudno.org.uk/things-to-do/trefriw-trails-p291871 and more detail of some of the trails at http://www.trefriwoutdoors.co.uk/trefriw_trails.html but not trail 9, unfortunately).
To stay on the high-level route, from the church start by following the leaflet route 8 in reverse. (You have to bear in mind that most of the routes are only waymarked one way, so you have to do a bit more of the work yourself.) Walk back down the lane from the church to SH 77398 61772 and take the road to the left. At SH 76998 62092 take the footpath to the right. Follow the footpath round Penrallt farm and down toward some disused mine workings.This was the optimistically-named Klondyke Lead Mine, and adjoining buildings were the New Pandora Lead Works, taking lead from the Pandora Mine behind you.
At SH 76967 62883 the leaflet route 8 goes right but you go left and down to cross the Crafnant at SH 76967 62883. This puts you on leaflet route 7 (in reverse again). Walk up to the road and turn right.
Take the next footpath to the left at SH 76900 63116. Bear round to the right, keeping to the edge of the woods (OS gridpoints SH 76882 63166, SH 76975 63281, SH 77047 63318, SH 77017 63408), above Gelli-newydd farm and along the lane to the road. Turn left.
From here you can follow the very minor road over the spur and down to Llyn Cowlyd. For an easier but slightly longer walk, take the footpath to the right at SH 77017 63408. You are now on leaflet route 9 and – glory be – walking it the right way round, so the waymarks should be with you. You should be able to cut up to this point from Trefriw by taking the road up the hill and following the waymarked path at SH 77834 63344.
|Dolwyddelan to Trefriw|