Distance: 27km depending on route choices.
Grade: Difficult if done in one day, even if you stick to the Lon Las Cymru route. Mostly minor roads and good tracks, well waymarked, but a long day.
Transport links: Machynlleth is on the Cambrian railway line and has bus links to Bangor, Aberystwyth and Newtown as well as local services. There are buses between Corris and Machynlleth. Dolgellau has buses to Machynlleth, Aberystwyth and Bangor. Buses to Bangor, Aberystwyth, Barmouth and Wrexham run along the A470 a short walk from Cymmer Abbey.
See http://www.traveline.cymru for details.
Leave Machynlleth by the main road to the north. Just before the old bridge the Sustrans cycleway Lon Las Cymru turns off to the right. Follow it along the river bank and over a new bridge to rejoin the metalled road.
From the far end of the bridge, follow the Sustrans route up the Corris valley past the Centre for Alternative Technology. Turn right on the A487. At SH 75118 02298 turn right again on the B4404 (signposted Llanwrin). Cross the bridge. At SH 75205 02460turn left on a minor road to CAT. (If you want a more adventurous route from Machynlleth you can follow the Cambrian Way over Cader Idris but this adds a lot to both distance and difficulty.)
From CAT, Corris is an easy day’s walking, mainly on the quiet side road up the east of the Dulas valley through Esgair-geiliog and Ceinws. This is slate country, and the road goes past a number of disused quarries and tips. Many of the houses in Corris are built out of slabs of slate that were not up to standard for splitting, and the river still runs faintly blue with slate dust.
If you want to get off road for a spell, in 2005 we found a forest track which slants up to the right about a mile beyond Ceinws. It is waymarked, but so discreetly that we would not have noticed it if it had not been for a motorcycle rally notice on the fence-post. The track climbs gently for ½ mile, then a path turns down to the left to rejoin the road near Corris.
If you want one long day rather than two shorter ones, you could carry on along the forest track instead of turning left. After about ¾ mile the bridle path from Corris rejoins the track. If you decide to take it easy, walk down to Corris.
You are still on the line of the Sustrans cycleway, which runs up the minor road to Aberllefenni and on up the Llefenni valley. There should be an off-road alternative - we need to check this. Retrace your steps down to Abercorris and over the bridge. At SH 75745 07723 the OS map marks a track to the left which should continue as a path along the Dulas. Alternatively there are bridleways through the forest. At SH 76928 09228 take the footbridge back across the river and turn right on a minor road towards Aberllefenni. Walk up through the village and past the old slate quarry offices with their cracked bell still hanging on the ruined gable.
At SH 77025 09908 take the signposted path through the slate tip to the left and walk along as far as the forest. (You are now following the Dyfi Biosphere's Aberllefenni trail - http://www.biosfferdyfi.org.uk/en/cerdded and scroll down to Cwm Hengae - Aberllefenni Walk.
At SH 76585 10213 (the forest entrance), turn right down the steep slope and over a stile then left along the forest edge. Cross two fields then go up the lane at the top of the second field and cross the stile into the forest.
Follow the path inside the forest edge and back out over another stile, cross the stream and climb up the far bank. Ignore the stile with the waymark pointing back into the forest and follow the old lane north along the edge of the field, past Hengae farm and back into the forest.
Keep on the old lane through the forest, cross the stream at the forest edge and follow the field wall through a series of waymarked gates and past the next farm. Turn right down the bridle path, cross the bridge and walk up to the road.
At SH 76225 12108 turn left on the metalled road. This soon goes through a gate and becomes a rough track over the pass. You can follow the line of the Sustrans cycleway from here to Dolgellau. It is metalled but mostly off road.
For a more adventurous route, about half way down the track from the pass, at SH 75990 13846, take the waymarked footpath to the left along the line of an old stone wall. Bear to the left away from the wall and walk down to the A487. Turn right on the main road then left almost immediately at SH 75693 14023 to follow an old trackway (waymarked as a footpath) over the shoulder of Cader Idris. At SH 75596 14756 you leave open access land. The track continues to SH 74986 15459 (back into open access land) and over the spur. At SH 74401 15826 turn right towards the radio mast at Bwlch-coch. From here you can walk down the (very steep) metalled road to Dolgellau, but it may be possible to take some of the footpaths which run parallel to it.
Walk through Dolgellau and over the old bridge. Turn left along the old main road then right up a side road towards the golf course. Continue on the track through the golf course and down to cross a minor road, and through a caravan park to Cymmer Abbey.
|Machynlleth to Dolgellau and Cymmer|