Ty Mawr Wybrnant and Cwm Wybrnant walk
Ty Mawr Wybrnant, Penmachno, Betws y Coed, Conwy, LL25 0HURoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This walk takes you through the natural and social history of this Welsh upland valley. At its centre is Ty Mawr Wybrnant, the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan, who translated the Bible into Welsh. The walk highlights several elements of the historic landscape: the wildlife and habitats, the historic buildings and a way of life now a part of Welsh upland history. You'll walk through traditional upland farmland, along forest roads and an old drover's road.
- Bus stop
Start: Ty Mawr Wybrnant car park, grid ref: SH771523
Walk to the entrance of the car park and turn left. After going through the gate, turn right and walk across the field towards the gateway and ruined building.
A map of the valley from 1838 records shows that this field was exactly as it is today. It's just over 2 acres in size and is known as herben (arable). The building near the south-east corner was used for cattle in winter and the snaking hedge towards the stream marks the parish boundary between Dolwyddelan and Penmachno.
Walk through to the next field and follow a fairly obvious path on its right-hand side, aiming for the far left corner. This field is called Fownog Goch on the 1838 map. It's wet and ploughable and would have been used for rough grazing. The sunken areas in the lower parts of the field are turbaries or peat diggings. Peat was the main source of fuel in upland areas. It was cut into slabs in April and May and left to dry. The soft rush known in Welsh as canhwyllfrwynen (candle rush) was used until the latter half of the 19th century as candles. The light produced was much poorer than the candles we recognise today. Rush candle holders and candle making equipment can be seen at Ty Mawr Wybrnant.
Make your way to the northernmost corner of the field. Pass through the gate and over the Wybrnant stream on the clapper bridge. Turn left along the road to Ty Mawr Wybrnant.
When you reach the wooden gate just before Ty Mawr Wybrnant, turn sharp right and follow the waymarkers uphill. Pass through a small gate before turning left past a large smooth rock on your right hand side. Keep the dry stone wall on your left.
At direction point 4, you'll come to a section of the old drovers' road that runs between stone walls. This ancient path to Dolwyddelan was the main road between Machno and Lledr valleys. Along this road, small back or speckled cattle raised locally were driven to market. Before the railway opened at Dolwyddelan in 1879, the cattle were shod at Dolwyddelan before leaving on foot for England, where they provided the main source of beef. Porthmyn (drovers) led these cattle on foot to the Midlands, Essex or Kent. Travelling over 14-16 miles (22.5-26km) a day, it was a long journey.
Walk along the drovers path until you come to the junction with the forestry path. Turn left. You'll soon reach seats that overlook the Wybrnant valley. Continue along the forestry road keeping left until you arrive back at the car park.
Although the area was a large conifer plantation, you can see that several varieties of wildlife and habitats have survived. The rock faces are great places for the navelwort or pennywort. In wetter areas look out for spagnum moss, easily identified by its spongy texture.
End: Ty Mawr Wybrnant car park, grid ref: SH771523
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 3 miles (5km)
- Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- OS Map: Leisure 18; Landranger 115
A mixture of forestry tracks, open fields and an old drover's road. It's advisable to wear suitable footwear. Dogs are welcome but please keep on leads.
- How to get here:
By bike: Check National Cycle Network (Sustrans) for local cycle routes
By bus: Take bus no. 64 Llanrwst to Cwm Penmachno, alight at Penmachno, then it's a 2 mile (3.2km) walk. For current bus timetable, please check Traveline Cymru
By train: Nearest train station at Pont-y-pant 2.5 miles (4km) and Betws y Coed 6 miles
From Betws y Coed: Follow the A5 towards Llangollen. In approximately 3 miles (4.8km) take B4406 to Penmachno. Follow signs from village to Ty Mawr Wybrnant. The house is 2.5 miles (4km) north-west of Penmachno by a single track forest road
From Pentrefoelas: Follow A5 towards Betws y Coed. In approximately 5 miles take B4406 to Penmachno. Follow signs from village to Ty Mawr Wybrnant. The house is 2.5 miles (4km) north-west of Penmachno by a single track forest road
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