This is a route through part of Dyfi Forest & then up and on to the Tarren Hills with fabulous views over both Cardigan Bay & southern Snowdonia.

One could adjust the route to be suitable for a shorter but stiff walk, a long hike, or a fab mountain bike ride. It's best taken on when the weather is fine, and the ground has dried out somewhat.

Do be aware that the route does utilise Open Access hill land, as well as permissive paths; so please check the access for your chosen mode of transport. As always, take care and follow the Countryside Code too.

A GPS route file is available for download from my OneDrive - please use it as an inspiration for your own adventure, not as a gospel route.

Elevation Overview:

Route Map:


Following the route as shown on the map above, our GPS logged:

Ascent:    ~ 5000 feet

Distance: ~ 28 miles

Time: 5 hours 20 minutes on Mountain Bikes, including picnic & photo stops

For a shorter walk, straight to the summit of Tarrenhendre - park up south of Abergynolwyn in layby or Dolgoch Falls car park and follow the route in reverse, from point 15 to point 12 on the map above.

For the full route I've chosen to start in the Picnic Site car park at Aberllefenni .

Route Description & Photos:

So, starting out from Aberllefenni, we traverse the rural lanes, turning left at Corris crossroads and then through Ceinws to Pantperthog. At Pantperthog we must negotiate a short section of the A487 before turning right, up the Gellygen lane into the forestry.

  • Wooded Lanes

    How better to ease in to the days adventure

  • Poppin undergrowth

    Welsh Poppies (Meconopsis cambrica) growing at the side of the quiet lanes of Dyfi

We follow this lane uphill until it ends at a three-way junction, we now need to go through the forest access gateway (the central 'ahead' track). The next section will be along stoned forest fire-roads. Continue ahead until you come to the five-way forest junction. Here be sure to leave two tracks to your left and one to your right. In this away you should carry on straight ahead into the next forestry fold, with lovely coastal views beginning to open up.

  • View to Adventure

    Magnificent views, quiet trails and ones chosen steed - what's not to like.

  • Turning Back

    The twists, turns and junctions of forest tracks - always useful to keep an eye on the map.

After a short downhill we'll keep right and steadily climb to a beautiful, secluded property. Immediately turn tight right on to an overgrown path, avoiding disturbing the property or entering its garden! This lovely section of path will soon return you to fire-road, a little further up the hillside.

Enjoy the winding fire-road until a point where, whilst descending, there is the option to turn hard right back upon yourself. Take this hairpin turn and shortly, we shall start climbing again.

At the first hairpin, keep right and keep climbing. If you're quiet you never know what you might see - I cycled around one turn to find a Buzzard peacefully eating his breakfast right in front of me.

As you gain height the forestry will start to fade away to open hillside and the views will open up even more.

  • Dyfi Biosphere

    Internationally recognised for its beautiful views, rich heritage, and diverse wildlife

  • View for a Climb

    The higher we go, the more the views open up for us - looking across the lower Dyfi Valley.

Eventually, at around 1,150 feet of altitude, the fire-road will end. A smaller rocky track continues ahead, fairly steeply uphill and out of the forestry's upper reaches. Take this track.

As you crest a rise (~1215 ft ASL) the path turns to the right and follows the contours at the head of this valley. From this point you can enjoy a view of your route to the summit of Tarrenhendre.

The Route Ahead

Out of forestry and on to Mynydd Rhyd-galed - the path to Tarrenhendre summit is clear.

Follow this path uphill whilst enjoying the fabulous views (you did pick a fine day, didn't you?)

As you climb out of this valley head, to Pant Gwyn, the ridge path from the dis-used quarries (Gessail) will join from your right. Pant Gwyn is a good spot to take a breather, you've definitely earnt it.

You also have options from here:

A] Take the path to the quarries, and then descend via the forest bridlepath back to the A487 at Pantperthog.

B] Cross the fence-line to the north & follow the indistinct forest footpath down on to fire-roads. Ultimately descending to Bryn-Eglwys Quarry and Abergynolwyn.

C] Forge ahead upon our route and tackle the climb to the summit of Tarrenhendre.

Pant Gwyn views

Looking north towards Cadair Idris from Pant Gwyn in the Tarren hills.

  • Solitude and Flowers

    A peaceful place for a breather, surrounded by wildflowers and panoramic views - high in the Tarren Hills.

  • Looking Back

    Always great to pause and look back over where you've just been.

So, it's fine weather, you're feeling great, and you've chosen to head to the summit. Let's do  this climb :) 

The gradient in parts of this climb is around 25%, the going is... erm... 'tufty' - mixed with the occasional boggy patch (in summer). So, it is a bit of a pipe-opener and we do also want to be careful not to damage the ground - take it slow & easy.

After the steepest section there is a stile to cross; a good moment to pause again, catch your breath and look back over much of your adventure so far.

Right, back on the climb again, just a bit further to go until we reach the summit, another style, and a cairn. Time for a lunch break and a few photos.

Coastal Tarrenhendre

A panoramic view of the Dyfi estuary & Cardigan Bay, as seen from the summit of Tarrenhendre

From the summit of Tarrenhendre, it is possible to extend this route even further by taking the ridge path south-westward until it meets the Rhyd-yr-onen by-way. We, however, chose to descend via the farm tracks that run beneath Tarren Nantymynach (this side of the right-hand ridge in the photo below).

Whilst this is open access land, it is very much sheep country. The tracks go through several gates & sheep folds, so remember to leave all gates as you found them and keep your dogs under control. The farmer was busy working his sheep (shearing time) when we descended.

Tarrens South

Looking south from the summit of Tarrenhendre, along the coastline to Borth, Aberystwyth and beyond.

The tracks down are mainly comprised of loose gravel on rock and are quite steep in places. On foot you'll be wanting sturdy boots & on bike, well good brakes would be a plan ;)

Once you meet the B4405 just north of Dolgoch, turn right & head to Abergynolwyn. In the village turn left at the cross-roads and right after a short steep climb out of the village; to take the quieter back lane before re-joining the B-road.

Just before Tal-y-llyn you can take the short bridlepath ahead to cut off a few corners and lead you to the western side of the lake.

Once you reach Minffordd at the base of Cadair Idris, turn right on to the A 487 to return to Corris. Finally, find your way up the side valley lanes back to the riverside picnic site in Aberllefenni.

I hope you've enjoyed this route description and that it inspires you to go on an adventure of your own. Clear skies to you.

Local views to visit on the ride back...

  • Autumnal Dolgoch

    The picturesque and mystical lower falls amongst autumnal woodland.

  • Dawn Eyebrows

    Winter, early morning and the sky above Tal-y-llyn turns to fire, a little before sunrise.

  • Nant Cadair Falls

    Falls on the Nant Cadair above Dol Idris

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