View towards Barmouth Bridge

Walks Around The Mawddach Estuary

The hills around the Mawddach Estuary have always been a major draw to the area, initially for the promise of fortunes to be made in copper, slate and gold, and latterly for the simple joy of walking up and over them.

As far back as Victorian times visitors to Brithdir, Dolgellau and Barmouth pitted themselves against ‘nature in the raw’ on classic walks with suitably evocative names such as ‘The Panorama Walk,’ ‘The Torrent Walk,’ and ‘The Precipice Walk,’ all of which can still be followed today.

In the 1800s a well-known local guide, Robert Edwards, enthusiastically described his job as “by the all-divine assistance, a conductor to and over the most tremendous mountain, Cadair Idris”, and this mountain remains a major focus in the area. Originally, visitors of a more frail disposition could opt to be conveyed to the summit by horse or mule, and though the beasts have long gone, the ‘Pony Path’ is still a popular route to the top.

For the super-fit, the Mawddach Round, a marathon length circuit, takes in both the summit of Cadair Idris, and that of Diffwys, its counterpart on the north shore of the estuary.

The hills are still scattered with the remains of earlier human activity, be that Bronze Age standing stones, or Victorian gold mines and Railway lines. The Mawddach Way, a 50 km three-day circular walk around the estuary takes in many of these interesting features, while the Mawddach Trail, a forgivingly level and well surfaced route, follows the line of the old Railway along the flat estuary shore.

The ‘New Precipice Walk’ makes use of an old goldmine tramway, high on the hillside to afford fantastic views over Penmaenpool and the estuary beyond. For those seeking a more solitary and rugged experience, the Rhinog range, criss-crossed by old carriage roads and ancient track ways, rises from the north shore of the Mawddach Estuary.

Another longer and way-marked route, the Taith Ardudwy Way (34 km), connects the estuary with Llandecwyn station, just south of Penrhyndeudraeth to the North. By making use of the rail connections out of Barmouth, the Taith Ardudwy and Mawddach Way can be easily combined to make a longer route of some 80 km.

For something a little different, why not explore some of the remains of 20th century military activity in the area. From hill-top memorials to beach defences, there are over 50 different sites in and around the Mawddach estuary to be explored on foot, by bike or by car. See here for further details.

For a truly epic walking experience, the 870 miles of the Wales Coast Path, which passes through the area, is going to take some beating.

Whether you like following someone else’s route or linking together the network of trails to create your own, the Mawddach Estuary, with all its public transport connections, is a great base for your walking trip. It even hosts its own walking festival each summer, where you can join like minded walkers on guided trips through the hills.

Barmouth Walking Festival provides walkers of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy eight days of guided walks around the Mawddach Estuary.

Please visit the EVENTS page for a full list of what’s on around the Mawddach estuary throughout the year.

  1. The Mawddach Trail
    The famous ‘Railway Walk’ between Barmouth and Dolgellau along the edge of the estuary.
    Rated: Straightforward
  2. The Mawddach Way
    A three day 50km circular route around the estuary.
    Rated: Difficult
  3. The Mawddach Round
    A 28 mile circular route taking in the summit of Cadair Idris and Diffwys.
    Rated: Difficult
  4. Taith Ardudwy Way
    A linear route joining the railway station at Llandecwyn to Barmouth
    Rated: Difficult
  5. Panorama Walk
    Stunning views of the Mawddach estuary, Barmouth Bridge and Cadair Idris. Choice of routes.
    Rated: Straightforward / Challenging / Difficult
  6. The Precipice Walk
    A Victorian Classic at the head of the Mawddach estuary.
    Rated: Challenging
  7. New Precipice Walk
    Views down the Mawddach estuary as far as Barmouth viaduct and across to Dolgellau and the Arans. Choice of routes.
    Rated: Straightforward / Difficult
  8. The Torrent Walk
    A fairy-tale walk around a moss-encrusted river valley.
    Rated: Challenging
  9. Arthog Falls
    A bracing climb alongside the waterfalls running through ancient woodland.
    Rated: Challenging
  10. Farchynys
    A woodland walk on the very edge of the river Mawddach, with views up and down the estuary and over to Cadair Idris.
    Rated: Challenging
  11. Abergwynant Woods
    A woodland walk accessed via the Mawddach Trail
    Rated: Challenging