Distance: 11.8 km
Climbing and Descending: 382 m up and 519 m down
Technical Grade: Moderate
Description: From Coed y Brenin, the Greenway follows the eastern
shore of the Afon Eden on what was the old turn-pike road to Dolgellau.
The route crosses a narrow bridge over the Afon Mawddach, a river that will feature heavily in the subsequent journey.
A seam of gold, discovered in the mid 1800’s, runs south west from this valley down to the Mawddach estuary, and was the scene of a mini gold-rush. One of the more successful mines, Gwynfynydd, lies a couple of kilometres upstream of this bridge.
Coed y Brenin means ‘Kings Forest’ but rather than being some ancient monarch’s hunting ground, this forest was planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1920's and the King in question was King George V. A statue commemorating this lies next to the road just beyond the Tyn y Groes picnic site, where there is a short walk amongst some of the oldest and largest trees in the plantation. The forest was planted to replenish a strategic supply of wood which had been almost completely used up in the First World War.
After another bridge crossing, a car-park marks the location of the Glasdir forest garden. Lying just above the floodplains of this steep sided glacial valley, the old turn-pike road continues downstream, and the observant may spot the occasional mile-stone on this once important road.
Passing by the ruins of Cymer Abbey, and within sight of the old Llanelltyd Bridge, the route swings around the hill and into the outskirts of Dolgellau, where a turn behind the College leads to a foot bridge. Turning right before the bridge will continue the Greenway to Barmouth, while a short detour over the bridge and left will lead to the facilities in Dolgellau.
Things to See and Do:
For those in need of refreshment a short detour from the Tyn y Groes picnic site leads to a pub of the same name a short distance away on the A470.
If you are interested in industrial archaeology, the Copper Trail at Glasdir takes in the site where a revolutionary smelting technique was developed. A more gentle walk around the forest garden is also an option.
- Cymer Abbey:
The ruins of Cymer Abbey, a Cistercian Abbey dating back to the thirteenth century, are open to the public most days of the year and are free to enter. Set within a campsite, the Abbey is accessed from the road leading to the old Llanelltyd Bridge.
There are plenty of opportunities for food and drink in Dolgellau, along with a good bike shop. The town has a wealth of architecturally significant buildings and the town trail (maps from tourist information) will help you find some of the most interesting.