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Snowdonia Walk
Nantlle Ridge Walk from Rhyd Ddu (Route A)

Nat Park - Snowdonia - Moel Hebog Nantlle Ridge

County/Area - Gwynedd

Author - Paul Gasson

Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km    Ascent - 2300 feet / 697 metres

Time - 5 hours 20 minutes    Grade - moderate

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Ordnance Survey Explorer OL17Sheet Map1:25kBUY
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Nantlle Ridge Walk from Rhyd Ddu (Route A)
Click image to see photo description.

This Nantlle ridge walk is a fairly short but spectacular route, and visits the best parts of the ridge, itself a classic route in the area. It is best done in clear weather to enjoy the extensive views, but if low cloud or fog descends, careful navigation is required, particularly to locate the descent from Trum y Ddysgl.

Park in the car park alongside the A4085 Beddgelert to Caernarfon road at Rhyd Ddu (Grid ref. SH571526). Cross the main road, taking care as there is fast traffic on this section, to a footpath leading downhill across marshy ground. The path is partly paved with slate slabs, which can be slippery when wet.

Turn left at the Afon Gwyrfai to a footbridge. Cross this and follow the signs to the exit onto the B4418 road. Turn left off the road immediately and follow a track. After passing the farm of Drwsycoed Uchaf, a footpath with stiles starts to climb uphill towards the ridge. The route of the Nantlle ridge walk is clear and well marked, soon becoming very steep as the path skirts steep crags to your right. Finally the gradient slackens and easy slopes lead, via another stile, to the stony summit of Y Garn (or Garn II in some guide books). This will probably have taken about 75 minutes.

After regaining your breath and enjoying the 360 degree views, follow the narrowing ridge, just West of South, towards the imposing spire of Mynydd Drws-y-coed. The path is reasonably clear running between the remains of a stone wall and precipitous crags. It leads to the foot of the spire where easy but in places very exposed grade 1 scrambling leads to the summit of Mynydd Drws y Coed. As you cross a 'notch' right on the summit, watch out for the notorious 'head banger' boulder which can give you a nasty bump on the head while you concentrate on crossing the notch!

A downward slope leads to a small col. The path then climbs quite steeply upwards, but with no difficulties, to the summit of Trum y Ddysgl and the end of ascent for the day.There are fine views all around, particularly eastwards to the Snowdon massif, and South to Moel Hebog.

An almost level, grassy plateau with no very clear path leads onwards. Follow the edge of the steep ground to your left. The route soon turns almost southeast onto a broad, grassy ridge which descends quite steeply at first before continuing at an easier angle into the valley.

As the ridge ends, follow the edge of the Forestry plantation down to Bwlch-y-ddwy-elor (Pass of the Two Biers) that formed part of the ancient route between Cwm Pennant and Rhyd Du. The rough path drops down steeply to meet the Bwlch at a gate close to a boggy patch that will need to be crossed.

Turn left on the clear pathway dropping down through the forest to join a forestry road. Turn right here, then left onto another forestry road and then continue easily through (currently felled) forestry to eventually rejoin your outward track at the boulder marked with a white arrow where the steep climb to the ridge began. Follow your outward path back to the car park where you can reflect on completing the Nantlle ridge walk.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2797 Yr Aran and Snowdon from Rhyd-Ddumod/hard8.5 miles
Walk 3509 Nantlle Ridge from Rhyd Ddu (Route B)mod/hard8.3 miles
Walk 3198 Snowdon via the South Ridge & Rhyd-ddu Pathmod/hard7.5 miles
Walk 1951 Mynydd Mawr from Rhyd-Ddumoderate6.0 miles
Walk 2729 Snowdon by Rhyd-Ddu and Snowdon Ranger Pathsmod/hard7.5 miles

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