This walk takes you to the top of the Berwyn mountains, a beautiful but relatively unknown range of heather clad mountains, just south of Llangollen. The Berwyns peak at over 2,700 feet, but this walk starts half way up.
Ascent: 1450 feet/ 450 metres
Length: 8 miles/ 13 km
Map: OS Explorer Map 255 Llangollen and Berwyn
Last Walked: 18 April 2006
The car park entrance is just north of the county boundary, and only a few hundred feet beyond the top of the climb out of the valley to the south. Look for a small mound on the east side of the road - this is actually a bank around our car park.
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The only real navigation problem on this walk comes at the very start, where it is not immediately apparent from the car park where the path actually starts.
To find it, climb up onto the bank around the car park and follow it around to its eastern edge. From here our path is clearly visible - a wide grassy (or muddy) strip in the heather. This first section of the path runs east, with Moel Sych and Cadair Berwyn clearly visible in front of you.
Our route is nice and simple - there is only one path along this ridge, clearly visible when underfoot, and heading along the highest part of the ridge.
After a short distance our path crosses over a track. Here you will find an information board, complete with a map of the Berwyns and some notes on what to look out for on the hills.
This first section of the walk would be very very wet, if it were not for the boardwalks. If you don't soon find these soon after crossing the track (see picture above for an example), then you have missed the path!
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For the first section of the walk the skyline is dominated by a very visible cairn. When you reach this cairn, the wooden path disappears and we are left alone with the mud, but we have passed the worst sections by now. The view ahead is now dominated by a false summit. Our path curves up towards this, crossing it on the way to the tops.
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Keep following the clearly visible path along the highest ground (the modern OS maps show the right of way much further south, but the sign back on stage one shows the current path). Ahead you will soon see a fence climbing up from the right and ending at the ridge line. Our path runs along the left hand side of this fence, all the way to the summit of Moel Sych.
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We have now reached the summit of Moel Sych.
Cadair Berwyn is clearly visible, further along the ridge. The fence continues along this ridge. You can walk on either side of the fence, depending on your view of walking along high ridge lines - we did both and preferred the ridge edge walk - you don't have to get that close to the edge, and the ground is much drier, although there is a small lake at the lowest point of the ridge!
The cairn marked on the OS map is actually a hollow shelter, which came in very handy when we last did this walk - a particularly windy April day.
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Finally, we've reached the top of Cadair Berwyn. Stop here to admire the extensive views, especially those to the north that have now been revealed. Return to the start of the walk by reversing the route up. Facing the other way you will get totally different views, west towards the mountains around Lake Bala (hidden by the hills). The car park will be hidden until you are standing on the edge of the rim surrounding it.
The Berwyns are covered by one Explorer map
255 Llangollen and Berwyn.