top of page

A walk - The Berwyns: mountains to rival the peaks of Snowdonia, the highest waterfall in Wales and

Much to my shame, I had never walked in the Berwyn Mountains, the range that extends south of Llangollen. Particularly remiss of me considering that the major summits rival those in Snowdonia. The highest, Cadair Berwyn, tops out at 832 m (2,730 ft), which puts it up there with Cadair Idris, Arenig Fawr and Moel Siabod. While they might not have the majestic, craggy, grandeur of their rivals I was nevertheless really forward to exploring them today.

This walk is 21 miles long. There is only one climb of any great significance but the total ascent does add up to a little over 4,000 ft. There is a long section of road-walking, though this is on quiet country lanes and passes through charming hamlets and villages. A GPX file of the route can be downloaded here.

I parked in the lay-by (free) just short of the Pistyll Rhaedr visitor centre car park (charged), which lies at the head of Cwm Blowty, about 14 miles due west of Oswestry. I knew the waterfall was nearby but I couldn't see anything it in the dark. Not to worry, as my plan was to pass by it when I returned later in the day.

My only other company was a moped that sat at the far end of the lay-by, red security light blinking. Unusual, I thought, thinking that perhaps an unseen angler was getting ready for some dawn fishing in the river that ran alongside.

Kitted up, I headed back up the lane and picked up the track that starts at the point marked 'sheepfold' on the OS map. This climbs gently northwards and as I reached Cerrig Poethion ("Hot Rocks") I soon found myself near what appeared to be the cloud base. However, the forecast had been excellent and I assumed that these were just early morning mists that would soon clear.

Sure enough, as I neared the head of the valley daylight arrived, the mists vanished and I was treated to the spectacle of Cadair Berwyn shrouded in swirling waves of mist, illuminated by the red glow of dawn.

Passing through a fairly boggy section, I soon arrived at Llyn Lluncaws, the lake that lies below Cadair Berwyn. As I reached the shore, the unmistakable sight of tent's roof came into view. Stood beside it (so it transpired) was the owner of the moped I'd seen back in the lay-by. He'd just had his first solo wild-camping experience and was pleased to discover that his transport was safe; he had to travel all the way back to Stoke-on-Trent on it, carrying a not insubstantial amount of camping gear.