The Dyffryn Ogwen is famous for its classic mountain walks – the North Face of Tryfan, Y Glyderau’s Gribin and Bristly Ridges and the peaks of y Carneddau. It might seem that the valley doesn’t have so much to offer in terms of family walks – especially those families who have small children in tow. There is however a wealth of walks for those of us who aren’t always chasing the dizzying peaks.
I recently took the family up a lovely footpath that starts at Ty Gwyn, a former farm situated on the A5 about half way up the valley, conveniently there in a large lay-by a little way further up where you can usually find a spot to park for free.
The walk starts on the brow of a winding bend where a public footpath crosses the A5, the footpath traverses the Ty Gwyn property and joins a track running behind the former farm. I have to confess that we didn’t bother going this way we simply started the walk where the track joins the A5 on the boundary of the farm – naughty really as the gate is padlocked.
Right away path rises reasonably steeply right to left across the grassy flank of Pen yr Ole Wen eventually joining the ridge just above Ty’n-y-Maes where a small plantation reaches the ridge line too. The ground was soggy here despite the recent dry weather, if it’s wet get ready for a foot soaking!
The thing about this route is the views. The elevated position gives a unique perspective from a less frequented side of the valley that many of the other walks do not afford – you can see both the A5 and yr Afon Ogwen snaking off up the valley to where Y Glyderau dominate the skyline.
It’s been a very long time since I walked up this particular path, the last time was when I did my school work experience with the National Park – I can remember sitting halfway up the track looking over towards Atlantic slabs eating lunch with the dry stone wall gang who I had spent the day with.
The track that marks the way peters out somewhat as you get closer to the ridge, however there are a couple of weathered old National Trust way markers you can follow, perhaps these are intended help you sick to the path or maybe from a forgotten NT marked trail, either way are not really necessary for way-finding as the way is pretty obvious clear.
Once you reach the ridge line, crossed yr afon Berthen and reached the plantation you’ll find yourself on a plateau with views of Carnedd Dafydd, Llewelyn and Yr Elen. After soaking up the views you can start descending, roughly following the dry stone wall all the way down to Braich Melyn. Throughout the descent there are views of Chwarel Penrhyn and the coast.
The walk down is easy and scenic and it is not long before you enter the forest at Pen Braich where, if you’re lucky you might just catch sight of a red squirrel, there’s also a small cave that the kids enjoyed exploring and there’s a geocache to find too. Once in Braich Melyn we called in on family for beers in the garden.
To get back to the car you can simply walk down Braich Melyn hill to the A5 where there is an offset crossroads. Here you have a choice, you can either walk up the A5 along the pavement to the car. If you’d like a more interesting route cross the crossroads continue over Ty’n Twr bridge, take the lefthand road towards Zip World where you can join the Snowdonia Slate Trail.
The Slate Trail / Llwybr Llechi Eryri follows the contours of the Penrhyn slate tips and joins the single track road on the opposite side of the valley to where you started the walk. To get back to the lay-by continue up the road past Tai Newyddion, over a cattlegrid, and through Maes Caradog Farm. Just before you reach a second cattle grid you’ll see a public footpath inviting you to cross the valley floor and the river, the path takes you back up to the A5 where you started.
This walk would also be fantastic done in reverse from Braich Melyn, up Pen Braich and down the track enjoying views of Y Glyderau all the way.
For a visual guide visit: https://walestrails.com/my-routes/dyffryn-ogwen-ogwen-valley-nant-ffrancon/ This route guide is not intended for navigational purposes, when exploring the mountains, my advise is to always take a Ordnance Survey map.
If you love Eryri and Dyffryn Ogwen the you’ll also like this Ogwen walk 6km family friendly walk: https://walestrails.com/nant-ffrancon-circular-walk/