I’ve recently fallen back in love with Chwarel Dinrowig (Quarry, chwarel in Welsh). This place was a regular family walk when I was young so it’s full of happy memories. Not only does it offer amazing views of Snowdon, Llyn Peris and Padarn (llyn, lake) and the beautiful Llanberis pass it’s an insight into North Wales’ industrial past.
For a casual stroll drive towards Dinorwig, through the village and park at the turning circle. Here there is a moving tribute to the region’s quarrymen. You can park for free and follow the well signposted walk into the quarry – you’ll see ruined quarry buildings, inclines and LOTS of slate waste. If you follow the path right through the quarry, you’ll eventually arrive on the road close to Nant Peris, there is a very fine pub in Nant Peris called the Vaynol Arms – ladies be sure visit the loos!
My most recent trip was with one of my university besties Aikta and her tribe of three boys 6, 8 and 10 – teamed up with my two and Mr N we were quite a gang.
Aikta had been specific about the walk she wanted to do; plenty of uphill and to keep it to about 4 miles.
We parked at Parc Padarn in Llanberis and headed up the Zigzag path, this is the old quarryman’s route to work it’s quite a pull up and ticked the all the boxes as far as Aikta was concerned.
All the way up there are spectacular views of Snowdon and the valley and the bright blue sky made it all the more special. After a while the path through the slate tips opens out into woodland and there’s plenty of fun to be had amongst the trees. After resting a while, we carried on. My plan was to find the Anglesey Barracks where quarrymen from nearby Anglesey would live during the working week.
We headed up before turning right where the path splits. Here is where Anglesey Barracks is located. Two rows of old houses are a real insight into cramped conditions the quarrymen lived in.
Continuing past the barracks and across an old incline we followed a well-trodden path past yet more ruins and over a narrow slate bridge. I’m not sure whether we were on the official path here, but the grass is worn by walkers so at least we knew plenty of others has ventured this way before. It is worth keeping little-ones close by on this section as this is an abandoned quarry and there is potential for danger everywhere.
We followed a rough track up a short way which brought us to a gate, climbing over we joined the main path which traverses with quarry. Turning left and reassuring the starving kids a café is not too far away, we followed the path out of the quarry onto the Dinorwig road which we followed until we arrived at Dinorwig Lodge an excellent café and bunkhouse which served reasonably priced, great quality food.
Having refuelled and found a geocache we continued on our way, taking the first left directly after the café – ‘It’s all downhill now’ we reassured the kids.
Continuing down the road we took the first left turn, the road sign says it’s a dead-end but at the end of the track there is a footpath. It skirts behind a garden through fields and does seem to head in the wrong direction at times. At this point I doubt myself, much to Aikta’s amusement. I’m highly likely to be the butt of many ‘lost’ jokes for years to come. We persevered on my route and did eventually come out on a lower track which took us past a retreat called Cae Mabon and into the ancient woods of Padarn Country Park. Here keep your eyes peeled for the Welsh Mountain goats. We were very luck to see a large herd with all with magnificent horns – no kids this time though.
For here all routes will take you back to the car park, we opted to head down each time we came to a fork in the path which meant we popped out of the woodland next to the Lakeside Railway – there were no trains that Friday, so we strolled back to the car along the track. It was a stunning day with some of my favourite people, one I’ll remember for a long time.