Gelert's grave walk, Beddgelert

Craflwyn, Beddgelert, Gwynedd LL55

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Beddgelert village and surrounding landscape © National Trust

Beddgelert village and surrounding landscape

Gelert's grave just short walk from Beddgelert village © Mark Sunderland

Gelert's grave just short walk from Beddgelert village

Ragged robin growing in the wetlands by the river © Mike Selby

Ragged robin growing in the wetlands by the river

Route overview

This walk leads you along an even path from the village centre, along the banks of the River Glaslyn to the site of Gelert's grave. The walk will give you an insight into why Beddgelert became popular with early travel writers such as Thomas Pennant and artists such as JMW Turner. You'll also discover the legend of Gelert and Prince Llywelyn which has given this village its name.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the Gelert's Grave walk in Beddgelert
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Footbridge over the River Glaslyn, south of the village centre. Grid ref: SH595485

  1. Turn right before the footbridge over the River Glaslyn and follow the designated footpath. To your right is the church of St Mary.

    Show/HideChurch of St Mary

    The church is believed to have some parts of the 13th-century Augustinian Priory incorporated in its building. The surrounding fields have probably changed very little since the monks of the priory farmed the land.

    Beddgelert village and surrounding landscape © National Trust
  2. Follow the path along the River Glaslyn and turn right along the path. The 'clawdd' or boundary that follows part of the route is probably one of the earliest boundaries. It's a prominent feature in the landscape and tells us about the traditional skills and land management methods used centuries ago. Today it's also an important haven for plants and wildlife.

  3. Turn left along the path and cross the field. You'll arrive at the stone monument of Gelert's grave.

    Show/HideGelert's grave

    The legend of Gelert's grave tells the story of the 13th-century Prince Llywelyn and his faithful hound Gelert. On returning from a hunt one day, Prince Llywelyn was greeted by Gelert, who was covered in blood. The prince rushed to the cradle of his young son only to find a bloodstained room and an empty cradle. Furious, he plunged his sword through Gelert. Later Prince Llywelyn discovered a dead wolf nearby and heard the cries of his son. Gelert had killed the wolf and saved the child.

    Gelert's grave just short walk from Beddgelert village © Mark Sunderland
  4. Continue along the path to Beudy Buarth Gwyn where inside you'll see a bronze cast of Gelert. The path will now lead you back to the river bank. Keep an eye out for the dipper as it dives for food in the river, and the herons waiting patiently. Cross a tributary over a small footbridge and you'll see ahead a wooded island in the River Glaslyn called Ynys Dol-leian.

  5. The name Ynys Dol-leian (nun's meadow island) gives an indication to the presence of an ancient Chrisitan community in Beddgelert at one time. The river Glaslyn is an important spawning river for salmon and this is illustrated by the gate which you'll walk through here. Follow the river bank until you arrive at a footbrige crossing the river Glaslyn.

    Show/HideCaeau Bryn Eglwys

    The fields on your right, Caeau Bryn Eglwys, have become a haven for plants and animals unique to wetland meadows. In spring and summer you might be lucky enough to spot the hay rattle, purple loosestrife, whorled caraway and the ragged robin here.

    Ragged robin growing in the wetlands by the river © Mike Selby
  6. Cross the river along the footbridge. This footbridge replaces the old railway bridge that closed in the 1990s. A few hundred metres downstream from here is the spectacular gorge of Aberglaslyn Pass. Follow the path as it doubles back along the other opposite bank of the river Glaslyn. On the right, high above you, is Craig y Llan that was covered in the evasive Rhododendron ponticum until a few years ago.

  7. Following the river back towards the village of Beddgelert you'll come to another gate set in the wall. Using locally sourced wood the steam train image made of copper reflects the copper mining heritage of the area and the link with the Welsh Highland Railway.

  8. You'll now be nearing the end of the walk and pass through the last gate which again is made using locally sourced wood and tells us something about the area. The gate reflects the carvings that can be found inside the local church. As you re-enter the village you'll pass the picnic site at Cae Gel. This was created to commemorate Alfred Bestall who illustrated the famous Rupert the Bear cartoons and who lived in a nearby cottage.

End: Footbridge over the River Glaslyn, back at your starting point. Grid ref: SH595485

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.8km)
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Leisure 17; Landranger 115
  • Terrain:

    The defined footpath along the river bank and to Gelert's grave is suitable for all including pushchairs and wheelchairs. Dogs are welcome, please keep on lead.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: Sherpa bus service for Snowdon (check Gwynedd county council). Regular bus service to Beddgelert (check Traveline Cymru)

    By train: Train station at Rhyd Ddu 4 miles (6.5km), Betws-y-Coed 17 miles (27km) and Bangor 20 miles (32km)

    By car:
    From Betws-y-Coed:

    Take the A5 towards Capel Curig. At Capel Curig, turn left into the A4086 (signed Beddgelert) continue on this road. At the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel the road bears left into the A498, continue on this road down past Nant Gwynant and into the village of Beddgelert

    From Blaenau Ffestiniog:
    Follow the signs to Penrhyndeudraeth. At Penrhyndeudraeth, turn right into the A4085 (signed Beddgelert). At the T junction, turn right onto A498. This road will take you to Beddgelert

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