Cambrian Mountains Walk
Craig-y-Pistyll, Cambrian Mountains
|Ordnance Survey Explorer 213||Sheet Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Explorer 213||Digital Map||1:25k||BUY|
|Ordnance Survey Landranger 135||Sheet Map||1:50k||BUY|
|Anquet OS Landranger 135||Digital Map||1:50k||BUY|
It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.
Walk Route Description
The little-frequented hill country west of Plynlimon is deeply cut by short, west-flowing rivers, and barely touched by roads, yet it has an excellent network of tracks, and wonderful views of the Cambrian Mountains, southern Snowdonia, and Cardigan Bay.
The walk starts from a road junction just north of Llyn Blaenmelindwr (Grid ref. SN718842). It is one of 40 self-guided routes, in and around the Cambrian Mountains, on offer from Hillscape Walking Holidays.
Set off north-east on an unsurfaced road. Keep straight ahead after 300 yards at a junction, so that you pass a lake, Llyn Syfydrin, on your left. Keep following the track for 1 ½ miles to a ruined farmhouse, Bwlchystyllen, from where you will see another lake, Llyn Craigypistyll to the south-west. Continue along the track, ignoring a turn to the right and crossing a stream just afterwards; continue through the gate beyond this. After another ½ mile you will be approaching a fenced field, with a tree and a cottage beyond it. When you are about 150 yards from the field, the main track bends left and you should leave it here. There are two smaller turnings to the right; ignore the sharp one which almost leads back the way you have come, and turn half right up the other one.
The track leads uphill for 1/4 mile then levels out. Continue for another ½ mile after this until you reach a small lake on the right. At the far end of the lake turn left to follow the track which leads uphill, then bends left past a small fenced-off quarry on the right. Keep on this track, ignoring a turning on the left, until you pass a larger quarry face on your right.
At the far end of this quarry the track ends before reaching a rock face. Turn left here and make your way through the rocks for 50 yards to reach the top of a rock-strewn incline, which was once used to carry trams of rock down from the quarry. This provides a convenient route down to the valley floor. From the bottom of the incline, cross a small stream and follow the level grassy former tramway down the valley.
After 3/4 mile cross the stile into a felled forest and keep following the tramway through it. At the far end, climb up the bank on your right and cross the stile out of the "forest", then keep on the grassy tramway through some old mine buildings. 60 yards beyond this, your path is crossed by another, larger, track. Fork left and follow this stony track uphill to a saddle between two hills. Ahead of you is a ruined wall and a fence. Turn left on reaching this and follow the grassy track which initially runs beside the fence to its corner, and then continues straight ahead. The track winds its way up the hill, through a boundary gate and up to the top of the pass, 1 1/4 miles away. At the top, turn sharp right along a track which heads gently uphill initially, but soon levels out and then begins to descend.
After 1/2 mile the track leads through a gate. Keep on along it for another 1/4 mile until you reach two adjacent gates. Go through both of them and follow the track downhill for 1/2 mile, through another gate, and shortly after through another and across a stream. Keep straight ahead after the stream, along a rutted grassy track until you reach the top of the field, where the track bends right. Leave it here by keeping straight ahead through the left-hand gate.
The right of way shown on the map is not evident on the ground for the next ½ mile. Turn left and follow the fence on your left for 100 yards until you reach two boulders on the other side of it; now bear right away from the fence, climbing very slightly but keeping below the gorse. After this keep level around the hillside until you reach a fence, which you should cross where the barbs are missing just below a "king" (i.e. large straining) post.
Make your own way across the field, keeping roughly parallel with the fence below on your right, and losing height very gradually. As you round the hillside, an isolated stone cottage will come into view. Head towards this and you will join a faint sheep path, which leads to a stile in the fence ahead. Cross this, then pass left of the small farmhouse. Continue in the same direction passing a fence corner on your left and keeping above some mine buildings on your right, to reach a track which leads through a steel gate.
Go through and follow this track past a small stone barn then keep straight ahead through another steel gate; 175 yards after this, you will pass a field corner on your right, and just opposite this you will see the end of an earthbank; keep straight ahead to follow this for 80 yards, then bear left up a small grassy path through the bracken. You will soon have a narrow rocky valley on your right and before long you will be able to see the "hidden" waterfall.
Keep to the most obvious path below the crags, which climbs gradually crossing 2 patches of scree. Eventually the path levels out and becomes grassy after you reach the end of the craggy section of the valley. Keep following it until the path forks; take the right-hand path, which will bring you to a stile leading onto the dam of Llyn Craigypistyll. Cross the dam, 2 more stiles, and then a metal footbridge, and turn left along a stony track. Follow this round to the right and across a cattle grid into the forest. Continue along the forest track, ignoring a forest road joining from the left, until you reach a T-junction; turn left here and follow the track to a T-junction. Turn right to return to your car.
Other walks nearby
Walk 1705 Circular from Bont-goch (near Aberystwyth) - easy/mod - 4.5 miles/7.3 km
Walk 1102 Plynlimon and Nant-y-Moch Reservoir - hard - 11.0 miles/17.9 km
Walk 1304 Plynlimon from Esteddfa Gurig - moderate - 5.0 miles/8.1 km
Walk 3086 Pen y Garn from The Arch near Devil's Bridge - easy/mod - 6.8 miles/11.1 km
Walk 1420 Coast from Borth to Aberystwyth - easy/mod - 6.5 miles/10.6 km
Walk 1767 Allt Wen & Wales Coast Path from Trefechan - easy/mod - 6.0 miles/9.8 km
Walk 3317 A short walk from Happy Valley - easy - 4.2 miles/6.8 km
Walk 1365 Strata Florida to Tregaron - moderate - 9.5 miles/15.4 km
Walk 2736 Teifi Pools from near Strata Florida - easy/mod - 6.2 miles/10.1 km
Walk 1363 The Elephant Walk from Tregaron - easy/mod - 5.5 miles/8.9 km
Recommended Books & eBooks
The Wales Coast Path
A single guidebook to walking the whole Wales Coast Path - 1400km (870 miles) the length of Wales from Chester to Chepstow, including Anglesey, described in 57 stages. The route passes through the Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire National Parks and many AONBs and can be linked with the Offa's Dyke Path for a complete circuit of Wales.
The Ceredigion and Snowdonia Coast Paths
A walking guidebook to the Cleveland Way and Yorkshire Wolds Way National Trails, plus the Tabular Hills Walk. Crossing the North York Moors National Park, coastal scenery and quiet countryside, the three routes can be joined to create an easy circular route of over 250 miles (400km). Includes a 1:25,000 scale OS map booklet of the Cleveland Way.
This pocket handbook to navigation will help you master the necessary map and compass skills for mountain walking. Chapters include map scales, symbols and contours, grid references, map reading, bearings, route planning and night and bad-weather navigation, as well as navigating with a GPS.