36 miles ^5000 feet - cycling 6 hours - hiking weekend

exquisite mountain & coastal views

This is an adventure circling Cadair Idris & exploring the Dysynni valley - jewels of southern Snowdonia. It is a day trip by Trail / Mountain bike or a weekend adventure on foot. The route will take in old slate mining valleys, woodland, heath, and coastal hills with views out across the sea.

Animated Route Preview

Whilst you could choose various starting points for this exploration, I recommend that our adventure start at Corris Craft Centre. Here there is parking, toilets and if you start just after 10am, you could pick up a delicious bacon bap or other snack from the cafe & larder (Bwtri Y Crochan). 

The route is about 36 miles long & has an ascent of 4 to 5 thousand feet. We took 6 hours to cycle the route, including picnic lunch & photo stops.

Overview & Elevation chart

Route Map

Downloads & Links:

- Interactive Route Map   https://cycle.travel/map/journey/225582

  with turn by turn directions.

- Download GPS route file from my OneDrive

Route Description & Photos:

Start by leaving the Craft Centre and making your way down into Corris village, pass the picturesque Corris Institute building and head across the crossroads, continuing northwards to Aberllefenni.

Continue through Aberllefenni, past the slate houses of Pensarn, soon turning left & westward towards the old quarry, when the village road takes a sharp right. This is cycle route 8 that you are currently following.

Corris Institute

Pensarn, Aberllefenni

Whilst many will choose to stick to the tarmac of cycle route 8 for this next section, we preferred to take a detour onto the forest fire roads for this steep ascent. Either route is beautiful at any time of year:

Winter view climbing out of Aberllefenni

With this steep ascent completed, it is now time to enjoy the descent to the A487 crossing and then onwards along a lovely section of cycle route 8 above the Cross Foxes and between Cadair Idris & Dolgellau. Remember to glance back at this northern edge of Cadair Idris and also try spotting some of the various wildflowers that grow on the heath land.

  • Sunshine and Showers

    Cadair Idris as viewed on a changeable spring day from near Garthgynfawr. These are the days that give us Wales' beautiful vibrant greens.

  • Lousewort

    Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica), flower of acidic heathland.

Before cycle route 8 descends all the way to Dolgellau, we need to turn left, off the small lane that forms the cycle route and onto the rough stoned tracks of the Quaker Trail. This would be easy to miss, so do take note of the GPS / Map. The trail leads us through diffuse woodland & heath - stunning in spring with the bluebells & other assorted flora.

  • Three S

    Southern Snowdonian Spring - Bluebells, vibrant greens, changeable weather and a path through the woods.

Upon passing through another gateway across the Quaker Trail our route now bears right, off the main stoned trail and down to the back lanes above Dolgellau. We follow these lanes through ancient woodland and then in between stone walled farmland.

These small lanes take us past Llyn Gwernan and then continuing westwards past the turn for Llynnau Cregennen. After the next gate across the small lane, we turn left onto an uphill gravel track. When we rode this, the gravel was very loose and tricky to ride uphill upon. 

However, once the initial climb is crested, just after a sharp left-hand turn, the track becomes less tricky. The views all around are wonderful, both out to sea & back inland over the mountains.

Our route now follows this old stoned track across the coastal hills towards Tywyn. It makes up a more challenging section of cycle route 82. Depending upon the recent weather, the puddles can be quite deep, but it is a beautiful traverse, nevertheless. We took the opportunity of the peace & quiet, to stop for our lunch. My sandwich had seen better days as it emerged from the bike bag considerably more shaken & stirred than ideal :) 

Refreshed by our scrambled lunch, we now progress to the southern side of our traverse. Here the track regains some tarmac, for a glorious descent down into the Dysynni Valley. We are now heading towards the distinctive Craig yr Aderyn (Bird's Rock), which can be seen from most points on this steep descent.

Descent to Craig yr Aderyn

And as we ride up the Dysynni Valley to the base of Craig yr Aderyn, this quiet lane crosses the Afon Dysynni at Pont y Garth. On a sunny day this is a spot to take a breather & soak in your surroundings.

We now wind our way along the narrow lanes in a generally north-easterly direction. Initially towards Abergynolwyn and then onwards to cycle along the western shore of Tal-y-llyn.

A truly short diversion may be had before reaching Abergynolwyn by taking the Llanfihangel-y-pennant lane to visit the ancient ruins of Castell y Bere.

  • Ranching Stronghold

    The ruins of Castell y Bere. Stronghold & residence of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, prince of Gwynedd, ruler of Wales.

  • Infra-flections

    Tal-y-llyn lake photographed in infra-red on a summer evening with mountains reflected in the lake's surface.

As we leave Tal-y-llyn behind us to reach Minffordd; all that is left is for us to carefully negotiate a section of the A487 back to the Craft Centre at Corris, where we began our adventure.

I hope you enjoyed this brief recounting of our adventure. If you feel inspired to set out yourself - fantastic - take care have fun.


Glorious Dysynni Valley

Glorious Dysynni Valley

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