WALK 1 SWALLOW FALLS – a short walk along the banks of the Llugwy to reach the top of Swallow Falls and onward to the viewpoint near the bottom for spectacular view of the falls. Return by retracing route and following forestry track and the minor road back down to Ty Hyll.
Approximate length: 2 km (40 minutes without stops)
Terrain: path along the river can be muddy and a bit slippery, some short steepish sections.
Cross the Ugly House car park and take the footpath signposted down the steps by the bridge. Follow the signed route keeping to the field edge nearest the river and crossing the ladder stile to the path along the river bank. Please keep dogs on a lead through the field.
Follow the obvious path to reach the top of the falls and make your way slightly uphill to the left to reach a forestry track. Follow this to the end where a path shortly leads you to the viewpoint on your right down a short flight of wooden steps (OS GR 7651 5778). Rest on the seat and enjoy!
Retrace your steps back up to the track and follow this back to meet a larger track where you keep straight on until you reach the minor road (small parking area here). Turn left downhill to return to the Ugly House.
This walk can be extended from the viewpoint to explore Gwydir Forest (walk 2) or to Betws y Coed (walk 3).
WALK 2 SWALLOW FALLS AND TY’N LLWYN VIEWPOINT – extending the short Swallow Falls walk on a waymarked route high above the river and up through Gwydir Forest to a beautiful picnic site with views over the forest to hills beyond. Return through the forest or down the minor road to Ugly House.
Approximate length: 5km (1¼ hours without stops)
Terrain: some muddy sections, some steep sections up through forest, easy downhill return route.
Directions: Follow Walk 1 to Swallow Falls viewpoint.
Continue along the narrow waymarked (yellow arrows) path taking you along below cliffs and above the river with spectacular views down into the river gorge. When the path meets a rough forest track turn left (waymarked) and wind uphill to meet the main track.
Turn right along the main track, slightly downhill for a short way, to reach the obvious sign indicating left. Take the short flight of steps up to the left and continue steeply uphill, following the obvious path through the trees.
Where the path levels out keep left and take a short diversion up onto Summerhouse Crag viewpoint for excellent views back down to Swallow Falls, with Moel Siabod to the right and Snowdon in the distance.
Return back to the path and keep following the waymarks uphill to reach a sign indicating right to the Ty’n Llwyn viewpoint and car park and left to Swallow Falls. Turn right for an extensive view and rest at the picnic site (OS GR 7654 5824)- passing swathes of bluebells in the spring (or turn left to follow the return route)
From the viewpoint return back along the path to the signpost and continue straight on, winding downhill through mixed woodland. (for a slightly quicker return route from the car park turn left and follow the minor road back downhill to the Ugly House)
When the path reaches a forest track go straight across and wind gently downhill to reach a second track where you turn right to shortly reach the minor road. Turn left downhill back to the Ugly House.
WALK 3 SWALLOW FALLS, MINERS BRIDGE, AND BETWS Y COED – extending the short Swallow Falls walk following the river to the Miners Bridge and on through fields into Betws y Coed. Return on minor road and forestry track through Gwydir Forest, or by bus.
Approximate length: 4.5km to Pont y Pair, Betws y Coed, 4.25km return (3 hours without stops)
Terrain: some muddy, slippery and rough sections. Easy return route with some uphill sections.
Directions: Follow Walk 2 past Swallow Falls viewpoint to the rough forest track (OS GR 7679 5778).
At the track go straight on crossing a footbridge and keeping to the non-waymarked path that follows close to the river. Where the path rises to meet the minor road take the next path back down to the river to eventually reach the Miners Bridge (3km, OS GR 7800 5692).
Keep following the obvious path with the river bank to the right shortly crossing a stile into open fields. Keep to the field edge path along the river bank to cross a stream (very wet after heavy rainfall) and another stile back into the woodland. The path soon merges with the all ability boardwalk which takes you quickly to the minor road at Pont y Pair falls in the village of Betws y Coed.
To return to the Ugly House follow this minor road uphill (steeply at first) shortly passing a large farmhouse on the left. Keep following this minor road through woodland for another 2km taking in the views back down to the river on the left. After passing the house, Diosgydd–isaf, on the right and the track to Allt Isaf on the left, turn left onto the next forestry track (OS GR 7605 5797).
Where the forest track splits take the left track which takes you easily to the minor road. Turn left downhill to the Ugly House.
WALK 4 GWYDIR FOREST AND LLYN BODGYNYDD – a walk up through Gwydir Forest to the Ty’n Llwyn viewpoint and on to peaceful Llyn Bodgynydd on the edge of the forest and Cors Bodgynydd Nature Reserve. Return on easy roads and forest tracks.
Approximate length: 8km (2.5 hours without stops)
Terrain: mostly easy paths, wet in places and some short steep sections. Easy return route.
Start by walking up the minor road alongside the Ugly House and on past the entrance to Towers Outdoor Centre. Turn right on the first forest track (space for parking here) for about 200 metres. Where the track splits leave it and take the path uphill through mixed woodland.
Cross straight over the next forest track and continue to wind uphill, keeping straight on where the path widens into a track, ignoring the path dropping downhill on the right. Where the track meets the road bear right on the obvious path to shortly reach the Ty’n Llwyn car park and viewpoint.
Turn right out of the car park onto the minor road and as soon as you have passed the cottage garden on the left look for a short rough track angling back on your left. This leads into a narrow path leading uphill across rough and wet ground shortly widening out onto a grassy forest track.
Cross straight over the main forest track and continue straight on as the track narrows to reach the shore of beautiful and peaceful Llyn Bodgynydd (#km OS GR##). From this point there are two alternatives
For a shorter return route (#km), turn left on the narrow path winding along and above the lake shore, crossing some boggy ground and a small stream, to reach a turning circle at the end of a forest track on the edge of and almost at the end of the lake. After enjoying this end of the lake take the forest track and when it reaches a main track turn right. *the longer route rejoins here*.
For the full route turn right on the narrow path winding along the lake shore to the outflow where the path rises slightly to reach the hand gate into Cors Bodgynydd Nature Reserve, managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Keeping on the path as it passes over the spoil heaps of old lead mines to reach Llyn Bodgynydd Bach on the left, and the wetland area of the reserve on the right. Shortly the path reaches the gate out of the reserve at an information board onto a minor road through the forest.
Turn right on the road, enjoying the views back into the reserve on the right, and at the ‘T’ junction turn right again, still on a minor road. After #m turn right onto the forest track (alternatively keep on the road for #km downhill to reach Ty Hyll). Keep on this main track, *the shorter route* from Llyn Bodgynydd rejoining where it turns left and soon starts descending. Ignore minor tracks going off on the left and right to eventually meet another main forest track. Turn left and when the track reaches the minor road turn right downhill to return to Ty Hyll.