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More about Cwm Mynach

Cwm Mynach is a hidden valley running through the wild and beautiful Rhinogydd mountain range. Follow a woodland pathway and discover breath-taking views of lakes, streams and the imperious mountains while relishing the tranquility of Snowdonia’s best kept secret.

Tucked into the Rhinogydd mountain range and boasting spectacular views of North Wales, Cwm Mynach is a hidden gem. Explore habitats as diverse as moorland, bog and ancient woodland; listen to the wind whispering through oak, ash and birch, immerse yourself in the stillness of legions of conifer, and see the upland lake Llyn Cwm Mynach twinkling through the trees in the sun.

Take a stroll around the lake, which nestles at the feet of the trees and mountains, while dipper and grey wagtail bob up and down on its still waters and siskin and pied flycatcher flit between the branches. The typically damp climate of north-west Wales means rare lichen can thrive, and it lends the woodland a certain mystical ‘Celtic rainforest’ charm.

Make your way through the wood on one of its many footpaths and discover history. Follow the trail from the middle ages – when the monks of nearby Cymer Abbey farmed and mined the area – to remnants of the Industrial Revolution.

Lake Cwm Mynachsmall
Lake at Cwm Mynach (Photo: Van
Rhijn Photography/WTML)

In spring you’ll be met by pockets of bluebell, dainty violets and wood sorrel amongst the moss in the dappled shade beneath the trees; and around the bogs and mires you may be lucky enough to spot the lesser twayblade, a tiny upland orchid. During summer the air is abuzz with insects and perfumed by the heady scents of flowers, while autumn brings its vibrant colours and rich, earthy smells. Come winter, glittering sunlight flickers through frosty branches, and the air is fresh and sharp. Streams and rivers run full and frothy, and birdsong rings clear through the wood.

Whenever you visit Cwm Mynach, you’ll fall for its peace, beauty and tranquillity all over again, whatever the season.

Setting

Covering almost 1000 acres (400 hectares), Cwm Mynach sits at the southern edge of the Rhinogydd foothills, with the impressive Cadair Idris mountain in the distance.  The nearest village is Bontddu, close to the market town of Dolgellau in the county of Gwynedd, north-west Wales. Llyn Cwm Mynach, a six hectare lake, lies to the north of the site, and from here the river known as Afon Cwm Mynach flows south to meet the Mawddach estuary. 

Access and walks

It is advisable to access Cwm Mynach on foot: parking is available in a few locations along the A496 Dolgellau to Barmouth road, including the Fiddler’s Elbow picnic site.

There is a great network of recently upgraded tracks and paths you can use when exploring. They take in the wood’s historical and industrial past, and you can combine them with walks around the nearby RSPB reserve and the Diffwys or Clogau gold mines. The spectacular circular walk to Cwm Mynach through the RSPB reserve at Garth Gell is available on this site to download.

Hillwalkers might also like to combine a visit with a trip along the New Precipe Walk over Foel Ispri from Ganllwyd or with a circuit of nearby Diffwys. The Mawddach Trail can also be accessed nearby by crossing the toll bridge to Penmaenpool. OS Explorer map OL18 provides details of the public footpath network and adjacent access land.

If history is your thing, head along the Old Diffwys Mine tramway – a beautiful walk and a useful link to the summit ridge of the Rhinogydd. 

If you are not able to undertake such a challenging walk but still wish the visit the wood, there is limited informal parking available along the minor road from Taicynhaeaf – see 'By car' below.

While tranquil and inviting, Cwm Mynach is somewhat off the beaten track, so don’t expect to see a lot of visitors.  It’s one of Snowdonia’s hidden gems, and is perfect if you want to embrace the wildness and serenity of the wood. However, please help us to keep it this way by observing any notices and being patient with us during essential forest operations.

Directions

By bus
The TrawsCymru T3 service provides a direct link between Wrexham and Barmouth (via Dolgellau) seven days a week.

For more information, visit Traws Cymru or call 0871 200 22 33

Alternatively, contact traveline Cymru or 0871 200 22 33

By train
The nearest railway station is Barmouth from where it is possible to catch the T3 TrawsCymru bus.

For more information about public transport, contact traveline Cymru or 0871 200 22 33

By car
We are keen to encourage sustainable public access so we would urge visitors to reach the site on foot if possible.

Take the turn uphill opposite the toll bridge connecting the A496 to Penmaenpool and proceed uphill along a steep and narrow minor road for about one and a half miles. There is space for a small number of vehicles at the main entrance, on the right before the road bridge, signalled by a Woodland Trust sign. If parking at the old layby further up the minor road at the end of the tarmac, please take care to shut all gates and not to obstruct access.

Parking is also available at a number of locations along the A496 Dolgellau-Barmouth road, including the National Park's Fiddler's Elbow picnic site at OS Grid Ref SH667189. 

Nearest amenities

Public conveniences
The nearest public toilets can be found in the Dolgellau Marian Car Park. They are open all year round and disabled facilities are available.

Refreshments
For more information about places to eat in nearby Dolgellau, visit Discover Dolgellau.

Accommodation and tourist information
To find out more about places to stay and things to do into the area, have a look at Visit Snowdonia.

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