Wales' Glyndŵr's Way National Trail Joins IAT
Owain Glyndŵr Statue at Corwen
In June 2014, Wales' Glyndŵr's Way National Trail joined the International Appalachian Trail, establishing IAT figure 8 links between the Wales Coast Path and Offa's Dyke Path. The 135 mile (216 km) trail through tranquil pastoral farmland, across open moors and past lakes and reservoirs, follows in the footsteps of Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh warrior Prince who fought against English domination in Wales during the 15th century.
It takes hikers to some of the finest landscape features in Wales, including the tranquil Radnorshire Hills, the shores of Clywedog Reservoir and heather clad foothills of Plynlimon.
There are spectacular views towards Cadair Idris and the Cambrian Mountains and over Lake Vyrnwy and Y Golfa.
Looking towards the Plynlimon range
The route reaches its highest point near Foel Fadian (1530ft/510m), where on a clear day the view stretches out through majestic Dulas valley to Machynlleth and the Irish Sea beyond.
Knighton to Llangunllo – 6.5 miles (10.5 Km)
The 8 to 10 day trail starts at Knighton and ends at Welshpool. Knighton is called Tref-y-Clawdd in Welsh which translates as “the town on the dyke”. Two National Trails – Glyndwr’s Way and the Offa’s Dyke Path meet here. Glyndwr’s Way starts with an immediate ascent up a cobbled street from the clock tower in the centre of town. It meanders easily out of Knighton and then climbs through quiet Radnorshire pasturelands. The section winds down through trees to reach the tranquil village of Llangunllo and ends at the war memorial. With good planning you can catch a train back to Knighton from the station a mile out of the village.
Llangunllo to Felindre – 9.3 miles (15 Km)
The Trail takes you up over farmland onto the wild moorland of Beacon Hill – one of the most open and attractive parts of the route. In late summer the heather turns the landscape purple as far as you can see. The hills and moors gradually give way to farmland again as you drop into Felindre.
Felindre to Llanbadarn Fynydd – 7.5 miles (12 Km)
You leave Felindre through grassy fields and later meet a quiet country lane. Then it is up and over the lonely, high pastures past the ancient earthwork of Castell y Blaidd (Castle of the Wolf) and then an easy walk down into Llanbadarn Fynydd.
Castell y Blaidd
Llanbadarn Fynydd to Abbeycwmhir – 8.3 miles (13 Km)
From Llanbadarn the trail quickly ascends to the open moorland again providing wonderful long views to east and west. When you have passed the trig point on Ysgwd Ffordd at 440 metres it is downhill all the way to the long lane that takes you into Abbeycwmhir.
Trig Point on Ysgwd Ffordd
Abbeycwmhir to Blaentrinant – 6.8 miles (11 Km)
Abbeycwmhir takes it name from a Cistercian abbey founded in 1143. Little of it remains today but the village has a very attractive church that is always open. The Trail takes you past the church on a sunken green lane, climbing gently up and down through forestry and fields. The section ends at Blaentrinant but there is no village or B&B here so it is best to walk on to Llanidloes.
St Mary's Abbeycwmhir
Blaentrinant to Llanidloes – 8.3 miles (13.5 Km)
From Blaentrinant to Llanidloes the Trail zigzags through some of the most picturesque and hilly countryside on the route. You will see a windfarm high up on the hills above you as you drop steeply down towards the watery valley bottoms clothed in drifts of old woodland. You will have earned the rest when you arrive in the lively town of Llanidloes with many pubs and cafes at your service.
Llanidloes Market Hall
Llanidloes to Afon Biga – 9 miles (14.3 Km)
The Trail starts at the lovely old Market hall in the centre of Llanidloes. It crosses the river Severn and then makes its way towards the spectacular Clywedog Dam and the impressive ruins of Bryntail mine. Shortly afterwards you arrive on the shores of Llyn Clywedog and later climb high above the reservoir on the way to Afon Biga. The picnic site here is a lovely place to stop for a paddle in the stream.
Bryntail Lead Mine with Clywedog Dam background right
Afon Biga to Aberhosan – 9.3 miles (14.7 Km)
This section will see you walking up to the old roman road above Dylife. Watch out for the green remains of a fortlet as you pass along the route used by Roman soldiers nearly two thousand years ago. Soon after you will drop into the spectacular Clywedog Gorge and then shortly you will be walking over the moorland surrounding Glaslyn. Foel Fadian (564 metres) looms above the track and it is well worth the detour to the trig point and to see the spectacular 360 degree views from the top. Again there is no accommodation at Aberhosan so plan your day to finish at one of the B&Bs on the previous or next sections.
View from Foel Fadian
Aberhosan to Machynlleth – 9.5 miles (15.3 Km)
A demanding climb awaits you here as you walk on quiet lanes and then farm track up towards Cefn Modfedd. Then a walk through forestry towards the green track high above Cwm Cemrhiw. This leads you to a long section of felled forestry and common land high above Machynlleth and will bring you down into the town via the ‘Roman Steps’. Owain Glyndwr was crowned Prince of Wales and established his parliament here in 1404. Machynlleth is a vibrant and entertaining town especially on the Wednesday market day.
'Roman Steps' at Machynlleth
Machynlleth to Cemmaes Road – 8.7 miles (14.3 Km)
You start again from the Owain Glyndwr Centre and walk along the road over the golf course to Forge and soon after to Penegoes. Between Penegoes and Cemmaes road you are again up on high land although you will briefly drop down to the village of Abercegir in between.
Owain Glyndwr Centre at Machynlleth
Cemmaes Road to Llanbrynmair – 6.8 miles (10.8 Km)
Once you leave Cemmaes road you are very quickly immersed in the rolling hills of this section. Later there is a short section of forest road and then you have a long walk down a ‘dragon’s back’ of a hill towards Llanbrynmair with fantastic views all around.
Dyfi Valley near Llanbrynmair
Llanbrynmair to Llangadfan – 10.3 miles (16.5 Km)
The steep climb out of Llanbrynmair is well worth it when you gain the high ground and can enjoy the views down into the valley below. After a section of forestry and a long road through a wide river valley you will climb up onto Pencoed common. Up here it is quite likely that you will only have the ponies for company. It is difficult to believe that the pleasant village of Llangadfan is only three or four kilometres away.
St Cadfan's Church, Llangadfan
Llangadfan to Llanwddyn – 6.5 miles (10.5 Km)
Soon after leaving Llangadfan you will enter the huge plantation of Dyfnant forest. The forest caters for all users of the countryside so look out for carriage drivers on the ‘Rainbow trails’. When you eventually leave the forest you will be approaching Lake Vyrnwy. You will have started your descent when you catch a first glimpse of the great arched dam. The area is very popular with tourists so there are plenty of places to eat and drink here.
Vyrnwy Lake and Dam
Llanwddyn to Dolanog – 8.3 miles (13.3 Km)
The hardest part of the trail is behind you now, although there are still ascents to be done. Between Llanwddyn and Dolanog you are in more gentle farmland and valleys. The riverside walk out of Pont Llogel is particularly pleasing.
Weir at Dolanog
Dolanog to Meifod – 7 miles (11 Km)
The section starts with a lovely riverside and woodland walk along and above the river Vyrnwy. Keep an eye out for the old Quakers Meeting House a couple of kilometres out of Pontrobert, it is surrounded by trees so is very easy to miss. The pleasant walking continues all the way into Meifod village.
Quaker Meeting House near Pontrogert
Meifod to Welshpool – 10.8 miles (17.5 Km)
An enjoyable ascent from Meifod through the woodland of Broniarth Hill is the first challenge on this section. Thereafter walking on quiet lanes and pastureland brings you to the very final ascent up Y Golfa. From the trig point on the top there is a 360 degree panorama which is truly stupendous. After that it is all down hill to the shops, pubs and cafes of Welshpool!
Powis Castle, Welshpool
To learn more about Glyndŵr's Way National Trail, visit their website.
To view the stupendous 360 degree panorama from the top of Y Golfa
.... you will have to visit in person!