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More about Coed Hafod y Llyn

This secluded ancient oakwood, once part of an historic estate, slopes gently down to Llyn Mair (Mary’s Lake) nestled serenely in the valley. A network of easy paths allow spectacular views over Snowdonia National Park, while steam trains of the iconic Ffestiniog Railway snake around the boundary - making it the perfect woodland destination for train buffs!

Coed Hafod y Llyn stands on a sloping horseshoe of land above the tranquil Llyn Mair (Mary’s Lake), overlooking the magnificent vistas of the Snowdonia National Park. This 16.6-hectare (41-acre) ancient western oakwood, peppered with birch, ash and hazel, has been here for at least 400 years, and probably much longer. For generations it was part of the extensive grounds of Tan y Bwlch, a grand country estate belonging to the Oakeley family, wealthy owners of the area’s slate quarries.

Explore the extensive network of well-surfaced paths through a landscape of rocky ridges, fern-clad gorges, and little streams, and you’ll come across some perfect picnic spots, such as the little Victorian ornamental pond near the lake. Or take a rest on one of the decorative carved benches and admire the views. The wood is bordered by the famous Ffestiniog Railway, the oldest narrow gauge railway in the world. Watch out for its steam trains as they puff their way around the perimeter – romantic reminders of the golden age of rail travel.

Coed Hafod Y Llyn Moss Rory Francis
Mossy banks in the wood
(Photo: R Francis/WTML)

As dusk falls, the wood comes alive with foxes and badgers, and bats flit across the darkening sky in search of insects. If you’re very lucky, you may spot the rare and elusive pine marten. Listen for its shrill, cat-like call if you visit during its mating season of July and August. In the winter, the lake is a magnet for wild ducks, and in summer it bursts into a colourful array of water lilies.

With its stunning views, wealth of wildlife, paths to suit all abilities, and proximity to the Ffestiniog Railway, this wood has something for visitors of all ages.

Setting

Coed Hafod y Llyn is about a mile (1.6km) from the village of Maentwrog in Gwynedd, North Wales. The 16.6-hectare (41-acre) site is on a sloping piece of land above Llyn Mair (Mary’s Lake), and is bordered by the Ffestiniog Railway. It is part of an extensively wooded area which includes the National Nature Reserve and Snowdonia National Park.

Grid reference: SH648412, OS 1:50,000 Sheet No. 124

Access and walks

There are five public entrances:

  • Two entrances on either end of the lake, with no barriers or gates. These are accessed through Snowdonia National Park properties
  • Three top entrances with wooden vehicle gates, situated where the footpath crosses or goes beneath the Ffestiniog Railway line. 

The wood contains a network of well-surfaced and drained paths. These include wide forest roads, an old horse and cart sunken track, and less defined link paths. Paths are not steep and are suitable for most abilities. The most difficult section is the sunken track, which is relatively steep and very wet in the winter months.

There is a Japanese-style stone seat by the Victorian ornamental pond near Llyn Mair, and a naturalistic wooden carved seat near a woodland stream.

The wood is also part of a network of woodlands around the National Park study centre at Plas Tan y Bwlch. So, if you've still got plenty of energy after you've fully explored Coed Hafod y Llyn, you can keep on going by connecting with the Dyffryn Maentwrog and Llyn Mair footpath network in the Snowdonia National Park, which includes over 30km of paths.  

Directions

By bus
The nearest bus stop is next to the Oakley Arms on the A487. Route 1 (Porthmadog - Penrhyndeudraeth - Maentwrog - Blaenau Ffestiniog), or X32 (Bangor - Porthmadog - Dolgellau - Machynlleth - Aberystwyth).

By train
The nearest train station is Penrhyndeudraeth, around two miles (3.2km) away. This is serviced by Arriva Trains Wales (Cambrian Coast timetable). Ffestiniog Narrrow Gauge Railway has a train station at Tan y Bwlch, half a mile (0.8km) away from the wood.

For further information on public transport, visit traveline or call 0871 200 2233.

By car
Heading north along the A487 towards Porthmadog, ignore the left turn for Maentwrog and Harlech (A496), and continue for a further quarter of a mile (0.4km). Then turn right at the next junction, next to the Oakley Arms and signposted for Rhyd (B4410).

Continue until you can see a lake (Llyn Mair) to the left. Coed Hafod y Llyn is located at the back end of the lake. Enter through the Snowdonia National Park picnic area on the left side just after the lake. There is parking available in the Natural Resources Wales car park.

Nearest amenities

Toilet facilities
There is a public toilet behind the bus shelter next to the Oakley Arms on the A487. It is open all year round and has disabled access.

Refreshments
The nearest restaurants and hotels are in village of Maentwrog. Café facilities are available seasonally at both Plas Tan y Bwlch and Tanybwlch station.

Accommodation and tourist information
Visit Visit Snowdonia.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.