The Cambrian Trailways Walking Routes

The Cambrian Trailways are a series of leaflets promoting self guided linear walks between railway stations on the Cambrian Rail Line network. These have been developed to promote car-free accessible walks in the Snowdonia and Cambrian Coast area that really make the most of the wonderful, varied scenery and wildlife this unique part of the world has to offer.

Things to remember when walking the Cambrian Trailways:

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. 
  • Take spare clothing - the weather in Mid-Wales can change quickly!
  • Take plenty of food and water.
  • Tell someone where you're going, along which route and when you expect to return.
  • Don't rely on a mobile phone as many area's in Mid-Wales have poor or no signal reception.
  • Always obey the Countryside Code and leave nothing but footprints!

Llwyngwril - Barmouth 

Distance: 6.5 miles
Type: Moderate
Time: 2 – 4 hours
Terrain: Firm farm track with some steep woodland descents. Always keep dogs on leads.

The walk begins at the picturesque village of Llwyngwril through whose heart tumbles the foaming waters of the river Gwril. The route follows the ancient tracks marked by pre-historic standing stones gaining dramatic views over the Mawddach Estuary. Plunging through woodland, return to sea level at Morfa Mawddach before crossing one of Mid Wales’s most iconic landmarks, Barmouth Bridge. The walk culminates at the bustling seaside resort of Barmouth known as the ‘Queen of the Cambrian Coast’.

Wildlife: Birds including Choughs, Wood Warbler, Red Start, Pied Fly Catcher, Shelduck, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Terns, Roosting Gulls, Red-breasted Merganser. A wide selection of flora including a variety of fungi, and fauna such as the Bottlenose Dolphin.

Llanaber - Barmouth 

Distance: 3.25 miles
Type: Moderate
Time: 1.5 - 3 hours
Terrain: Mostly along clearly identifiable walled grassy tracks – although some areas may become boggy during prolonged periods of wet weather. The route involves a sustained ascent from sea level at Llanaber to near 950 feet above sea level with a similarly steep descent to Barmouth.

This stimulating walk starts and finishes at railway stations near two very different churches: the ancient 13th century St Bodfan’s at Llanaber, and the impressive 19th century St John’s overlooking Barmouth. Along the walk, the high and well-constructed dry stone walls that surround the fields are a notable and impressive feature of man’s impact on the Merionethshire landscape. The route also passes a number of reminders of the area’s industrial past, including a furnace, waste heaps and a workers’ barracks (or hostel): all evidence of the 19th Century manganese mine workings. One of the mines, known as Hafotty, was operational from 1885 to 1894 and employed up to 52 men who extracted over 12,000 tonnes of ore. Bwlch y Llan was the scene of a tragedy in December 1943 when an Avro Anson military aeroplane flew into the hill in low cloud, killing all four crew members. The aircraft was on a routine navigation exercise and was returning to its base at nearby RAF Llandwrog. 

Aberdyfi - Tywyn 

Distance: 10 miles
Type: Challenging
Time: 4 – 7 hours
Terrain: Some steep ascents totalling approximately 1700 feet on country lanes, tracks and open hillside and farmland. Always keep dogs on leads. Sections of the route can be wet underfoot.

The route begins in Aberdovey, which boasts manicured gardens, pastel coloured terraces a proud maritime history and is home to the first outward bound centre, opened in 1941! Legend has it that it was the fault of a drunken dam keeper, Seithennin, who left his gate open that led to the flooding of Cantre’r Gwaelod’ (the ‘Lowland Hundred’) making Aberdovey a seaside town and inspiring the famous Welsh folk song about the submerged ‘Bells of Aberdovey’! There are some spectacular views on this route including Cardigan Bay, the Dovey and Happy Valleys and the hills and mountains towards Cadair Idris. This is a walk with a feeling of wilderness especially near the summit of Bryn Dinas. You return to civilisation at Tywyn – the ancient standing stone at Croes Faen is said to protect the town and its inhabitants from a fiery dragon!

Criccieth - Porthmadog 

Distance: 10 miles
Type: Challenging
Time: 4-7 hours
Terrain: on shore, board-walks, steep steps to cliff path. Field paths and ancient tracks. Always keep dogs on leads.

This bracing seaside walk begins at the picture postcard resort of Criccieth. A regular winner of 'In Bloom' competitions of which the railway station features, you may wish to spend time exploring Criccieth and its Castle before setting off! The route roams beside the sea and along an attractive boardwalk.  Looking inland notice the distinctive profile of 'Moel y Gest' which forms teh shape of a lion. Pass boatyards as you enter Porthmadog a mecca for railway enthusiasts  as it is home to the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways as well as of course being an important station on the scenic Cambrian Coast Line.

Wildlife: The path wanders through Greenacres Nature Reserve, Flora includes Cat's Ear, Centuary, Yellow Rattle, Bird's Foot-trefoil. Heather and Bilberry. Fauna including the Common Lizard and butterflies such as the Large Skipper, Orange Tip and Meadow Brown. Birds include Stonechat and Green Woodpecker.


Dolgellau - Barmouth

Distance: 9.25 miles
Type: Easy
Time: 4 - 6 hours 
Terrain: The route is mostly on a flat compacted surface although care is required when passing over two narrow footbridges. The Trail is clearly marked and easily followed.

This is a ‘trail of two towns’ linking as it does Dolgellau, a small market town at the foot of Cadair Idris in Southern Snowdonia, with the bustling seaside resort of Barmouth – “The Queen of the Cambrian Coast”! This stunning meandering route along the Mawddach Estuary follows the former Ruabon to Morfa Mawddach (formerly Barmouth Junction) railway line that closed in 1965 after nearly a century in service. The Snowdonia National Park Authority now own and manage the Trail that is popular with locals and visitors through-out the year. The journey between Barmouth and Dolgellau has famously been described as the second best in the World with the best being the journey in the opposite direction! This TrawsCambrian Trailway provides the ideal opportunity to test this view!

Dyffryn Ardurdwy - Talybont 

Distance: 3.75 miles
Type: Easy
Time: 1.5 - 3 hours
Terrain: Gradual ascent mainly on country lanes to a plateau. Gentle descent through woodland path, with care needed in certain areas due to uneven surfaces and steps. Special care required where the path runs beside the river.

Step into the Stone Age to some of the earliest tombs erected on these islands. Dating from around 4000 BC the cairn at Dyffryn Ardudwy has two separate burial chambers. The route includes an avenue which was built by the powerful Vaughan dynasty, (who were instrumental in placing Henry Tudor on the throne in 1485), to connect their family mansion, Cors-y-gedol (The Bog of Hospitality), with the family chapel. The existing mansion which can be seen from the walk was built in 1576. Nearby, the Cors-y-gedol burial chamber stands amidst the site of ancient fields and settlements close to the highest and midway point of the walk which affords glorious views of Cardigan Bay. From here, the rewarding descent to Talybont is via an enchanting wooded valley and the river Ysgethin.