The Rhaeadr Ddu Waterfall walk at Ganllwyd near Dolgellau is a short but stunning circular family walk of about 2 miles. Starting from a convenient little car park on the A470 road on the way into Dolgellau this walk leads up along the Afon (river) Gamlan until you reach the impressive double drop waterfall.
This year I’ve been on a mission to explore as many of the wonderful waterfalls of North Wales as possible. I love visiting Aberfalls it’s long been a family favourite but it can be so very busy that I been using my local knowledge and OS maps to explore some of our other beautiful waterfall walks.
We visited on a very wet and soggy February, parking in the little car park at Ganllwyd all we had to do was cross the road to start our walk. The route we followed was the National Trust loop. A route map is available here:
We walk begins at a charming little corrugated iron chapel and continues along a single track road. here we deviated slightly following the river bank so that we could get a better look at the river which was flowing fast and wild thanks to all the rain.
Before long a bridge allows you to cross the river, the path from this point becomes much more challenging, especially in wet weather. The path leads you up the rocks next to the waterfall. it’s much more up close waterfall walk than many of others and we were very careful to keep a hold of our lively 6 year old.
After climbing up along side the waterfall the path leads away from the river, here we came across some good natured and very cute cattle that look like little mini highland cattle. We came across a note further along the walk that explained that the cattle graze the woodland to manage the ground flora.
I found the woodland here to particularly charming the dry stone walls, forest floor, trees are all covered by a lush green carpet of moss. It’s really quite a magical place. Had the weather been better we would no doubt have continued up the river where there are more waterfalls and rapids to marvel at, but the weather really was horrid and I was really pushing my luck by getting us out at all.
We continued on our way through the forest until we came to a boundary wall, we ended up descending back through the woodland which seemed to be the right way, though not before we explored the old goldmines that were on the other side of the boundary wall. Dolgellau was a long history of gold-mining and believe people still pan for gold in the area.
This was our first walk at Ganllwyd and we will absolutely come back when the weather is better to do this walk or a longer variation. The carpark is very convenient and there are public toilets which proved useful since we were all pretty much soaked through and in need of a change of clothes.
I absolutely love Dolgellau – there’s lots of beautiful walks not to mention the fantastic Coed-y-Brenin mountain biking centre just down the road. Dolegllau itself is a handsome town with a good selection of independent shops including Gwin Dylanwad Wine, a cafe bar deli and wine merchants, there’s a gorgeous clothes shop which we called in at to get my mum’s birthday present.