Along the line
Here is the Ffestiniog Railway Route Map - Please click on the station names to reveal info panels containing interactive satellite imagery and road maps.
1 - Moel y Gest (moderate) 3 miles
Porthmadog and Moel y Gest at dawn from The Cob
From Harbour station, cross Britannia Bridge and walk up the High Street (north-west). About halfway along the High Street there is a junction on the left (with Woolworths on the corner) - the road leads to Morfa Bychan. Take this road for about 750m and branch right, where the road splits, just north of Garth. Take either of two tracks on the right and head towards the caravan park at Tyddyn Llwyn (north west). Carry on heading in this direction on the right of way until in 500m you meet the start of ‘open access’ land. This is denoted by a brown symbol and shown on up to date maps of the area. Although the land is open access, there are well-worn paths to follow (just keep heading upwards!), and you must bear in mind that the northern face of the mountain has been quarried and there is a drop, should you wander too far from these paths.
The relatively easy ascent of Moel y Gest only requires a little scrambling up to the rocky summit. The actual peak (262m) is on the far west, but lovely views can be had from the minor peak at 231m, which is closer to the town. The descent can take the same route back, or the route via Bron-y-foel (in the north-west), taking the path south-east back to the road at Ty’n-y-dref.
2 - Town tour and Borth y Gest (easy). 3 miles round trip or could be combined with walk 1 to make a longer circular walk.
From Harbour station, cross the road and take the signed path heading north at the side of the Cob Records store and Britannia Bridge. This path takes you over the sluice gates and around in a loop to Snowdon Street. Take this street south-west and turn left into the the town main car park (this is the route of the WHR). At the side of the car park is the Llyn Bach path. Take this and make your way back to Britannia Bridge. Here cross the road at the pedestrian crossing and take the path at the side of Y Ganolfan (the big building) which passes the maritime museum. This path skirts the edge of the now-developed slate wharfs, where slate was stored after delivery by rail and before being loaded onto ships. You will reach a cobbled area with a small car park – take the road southwards alongside ship builders’ yards and continue to Borth y Gest, which is a lovely little village. You could then perhaps take the coastal path towards Morfa Bychan, which offers lovely views across to Morfa Harlech and Harlech Castle in the distance. You could return by the same route, or perhaps turn north towards Moel y Gest (see walk 1) and make this into a circular walk.
From Boston Lodge Halt or Minffordd
3 – Portmeirion (easy) 1 mile
Portmeirion Italianate Village
To access the Portmeirion village and grounds, you can either alight at Boston Lodge (request stop) or the larger station at Minffordd. The path from Minffordd is on tarmac roads, whereas the route from Boston Lodge can be muddy at times and requires stout footwear.
From Boston Lodge halt: cross the railway by the stiles alongside the gates to the works, taking care that the train has departed and that no other trains can be heard. Please note that unexpected visitors are not allowed at the railway works. Instead, head uphill and soon the path diverges - the path to the right will take you above the works, with a decent view down over the sheds (but be careful as there is a vertical cliff face without fencing!), whilst the path to the left is more direct. Either way is a fairly easy 750m to 1Km walk over into the Portmeirion estate. Please note that entrance fees are payable at Portmeirion.
From Minffordd: head back (west) along the main road, passing the entry road to the volunteers’ hostel and Minffordd yard. In 200m a minor road is on your left, take this and almost immediately turn right (signposted for Portmeirion). You can now head easily down to the estate past Castell Deudraeth. Please note that entrance fees are payable at Portmeirion.
4 – Tan-y-Bwlch (moderate) 3 miles
From the station, head East down the ramp to the road and walk up to and across the level crossing. Take the minor road on the right – this runs parallel to the railway and is a good spot for photographs too. Keep going straight ahead on the minor road (two drives to private houses diverge) and continue to a gate. Just after this gate is a bench, offering superb views back towards Porthmadog. Keep heading north-east and at Rhiw Goch the path climbs to run higher above the railway. Just after a gate, turn right and downhill back to the railway again, continuing alongside the railway before entering the woods about 500m from Rhiw Goch. In another 200m the path starts to climb up, away from the railway again and joins another path from the left. Heading north-east and then north, we meet a significant junction of paths in about 500m. Turn right (east), crossing a stream and head towards Hafod-y-mynydd (south-east) on a pretty significant forest track. Just past here the path twists and turns twice through 180 degrees as it rises up to nearly 200m. Don’t be tempted to take the path ‘back on yourself’ at GR 637407, but continue, as the path bends to the left and heads east.
Just north of the small reservoir, take a diverging path left and eastwards, which then turns northwards towards the Llyn Hafod-y-llyn reservoir. Here skirt the north-west side of the lake, before turning east at the end of the reservoir and heading down to the B4410 road. Turn right here before immediately turning left onto a minor road heading east. In 250m, take the path down to the right (south-east) and soon this brings you to the station footbridge. You then might like to enjoy a drink in our tearoom before the train arrives.
Penrhyn (see walk 4)
5 – Llyn Mair and Plas Tan y Bwlch (easy) - varied short walks
From the station car park it is a simple walk south to the lovely Llyn Mair, where there is a picnic area. There are also a number of information boards showing the footpaths and information about local wildlife in the area. In our tearoom there should also be leaflets showing local walks available. For Plas Tan y Bwlch gardens, you can alight at Plas halt (request stop) or walk down from Tan-y-Bwlch – start by walking down to Llyn Mair and then take the road alongside the lake. Keep on the road as it turns around the east end of Llyn Mair and then in 50m, next to the cottage, take the path on the right (west). At the Y junction of paths ahead bear left around the edge of a smaller lake. In about 400m you will meet the access road to Plas Tan y Bwlch, turn right and skirt around the left hand side of the house, over the terrace at the front and down some steps to find the conservatory which includes leaflets showing a map of the gardens, a self-guided tour of the house and also interactive exhibits including a video and touch-screen PCs. The gardens, amongst other things, include rhododendrons/azaleas, ferns, flower borders, specimen trees, an access garden and lovely views of the Maentwrog area.
6 – Dduallt (2.5 miles) (moderate)
From the station car park it is a simple walk south to the lovely Llyn Mair, where there is a picnic area. Follow the B4410 alongside the lake for a while and where it bends right, take a track straight on heading into the woods. This path runs at a lower level to the railway through the woods, with a little wiggle, just north of Coed-Ty-coch, and in just over 1Km, after crossing a stream on a small bridge, rises up to the private halt of Coed-y-bleiddiau (the halt serves just the isolated house, no walkers, sorry!). This is a good spot for photographs too!
Carrying on, the path meanders through the woodland eastwards and an option appears in 500m to continue north-east, taking you to a nice vantage point for ‘tank curve’ and some excellent photographic opportunities, you will have to turn back on yourself though as this path ultimately leads nowhere. Otherwise, turn right and head downwards before entering open ground and passing to the south of Dduallt Manor before.
** Here there are two options:
A) Head directly to the station by heading uphill and crossing the railway
B) Continue heading east, staying south of the railway and coming out slightly north of the station, before heading south above the old railway alignment and into the station.
It’s your call, but I would take the option B. At Dduallt you can climb to the top of the small hill and take in trains coming around the FR’s unique spiral, built by volunteers as a deviation to the old route when parts of it were flooded for a hydroelectric power scheme. There is then the option to carry on using walks 7, 8 or 9 (below). Please note that Dduallt is a request stop.
Tan-y-Bwlch (see walk 6)
7 – via Cwm Bowydd to Blaenau Ffestiniog (moderate) (3 miles)
The waterfall at Dol-wen
From the station head north, bending to east alongside the old railway line, before heading south at the path junction and then bearing left in 50m (east) below Clogwyn y Geifr. In 100m this path enters woods and soon you will cross the Afon Goedol. The path almost takes you to the main road at Rhyd y Sarn, but heads north-east back into the woods just before the road. At the next junction take the left hand route north-west to Cymerau-isaf. Here the path turns north-east and into the woods again. In about 400m take the left hand path down to the river again, cross it and head west, turning to north-east through the forest, alongside and just above the river. This takes you to Dol-wen; descend to cross the river once more and meet the main road (A496) next to a magnificent waterfall. Turn right along the road for a short distance (40m) before a path is available on the left. This takes you up Cwm Bowydd almost directly north and entering Blaenau in 1.5Km at the Maen Offeren side. The path leads to a local road (Ffordd Dorfil), carry on, crossing the railway on a bridge and meeting the High Street. Turn right and the station is on the right in 300m.
8 – via the east side of Tanygrisiau reservoir to Blaenau Ffestiniog (moderate) 4 miles
From the station head north alongside the old railway line towards the Reservoir. At the southern end of the huge Tanygrisiau reservoir, take the path right, heading north-east and skirt around the reservoir until meeting the main A496 road in 2Km. Here turn right and in 150m, turn left (the second available path to your left from the road) over the hill towards Cwm Bowydd. Join the path heading north to Blaenau just north of the small sewage works. The path leads to a local road (Ffordd Dorfil) in the Maen Offeren side of Blaenau, carry on, crossing the railway on a bridge and meeting the High Street. Turn right and the station is on the right in 300m.
9 – Tanygrisiau (moderate) 1.5 miles
From the station head north alongside the old railway line towards the Reservoir. At the southern end of this huge lake, take the path left, to the west side, crossing the railway. The path then heads north above the railway and past the west side of the power station. After a short bit of climbing, the path descends again, crosses the railway and meets a minor road at the north end of the reservoir close to the old power station visitor centre and cafe. From here it is a very short walk east to Tanygrisiau station.
Dduallt (see walk 9)
10 Cwmorthin/Rhosydd (and Croesor) Quarries (moderate) 3 to 5 miles circular
The road to Cwmorthin
From Tanygrisiau station turn right towards the reservoir and in the north-west corner take the road, which is in fact the access road for Llyn Stwlan (the upper reservoir for the pumped storage power station). This heads north-east to a small car park, just after this turn right over a small road bridge and then left soon after. This road becomes a track at another small car park ahead. Carry on alongside this river to the southern tip of Llyn Cwmorthin. The quarry workings are to your right and Wrysgan above you to your left (explore with care!). By skirting the west side of the lake, heading north-west over open ground, an isolated building appears – this is Capel Rhosydd – a now abandoned chapel for the quarrymen. Soon after this is a path junction. Head straight on for more quarry workings, the barracks and the manager’s house at Plas Cwmorthin, or left and west to head up a steep path into the Rhosydd Quarry at the head of Cwm Croesor. At the main Rhosydd quarry buildings you may wish to follow the Rhosydd tramway around Bwlch y Rhosydd to the incline at the top of Cwm Croesor (GR 658463) and back again which will add about 40 mins in total to the walk.
You could also continue south-west to Croesor Quarry if you like. If not, simply retrace your steps back to Tanygrisiau.
Please note: abandoned quarries can be dangerous places – falls can and do occur and portions of structures can collapse. Underground workings should never be entered other than as a competently led and properly equipped partly with permission of the landowner.
11 – Moelwyns (hard) 5 miles
The Moelwyns are two impressive mountains: Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach. From Tanygrisiau station turn right towards the reservoir and in the north-west corner take the road, which is in fact the access road for Llyn Stwlan (the upper reservoir for the pumped storage power station). This heads north-east to a small car park, before turning back to head west and finally merging with the track from Cwmorthin to head south-west. In 300m, you will come across the old Wrysgan quarry incline, which you may wish to explore and very carefully ascend, if you do, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view! This eventually leads to a tunnel near the top of the incline – quite an incredible feature.
Our path/road, however, continues upwards and west. In 300m fork right heading north-west around the lower slopes of Moel-yr-hydd and continue to the next path junction. A slight diversion here could also include climbing this mountain too (see link below). If not, turn left and south-west, proceeding around the west side of Llyn Stwlan and above some of the abandoned quarry workings to Bwlch Stwlan.
From here it is a steep ascent to the top of Moelwyn Mawr (north). This is the highest point of the walk, and to the south is the smaller but still impressive Moelwyn Bach. Descend back to Bwlch Stwlan and climb up Moelwyn Bach (stopping to admire the view across towards Criccieth Castle) before descending to Bwlch Stwlan for a final time and then taking the path around the south side of Llyn Stwlan to head home. It is then an easy descent back to Tanygrisiau station on the path heading south-east alongside the Afon Stwlan river.
For a slightly different route, taking in Moel yr-Hydd, click here.
12 – To Porthmadog via Cnicht (hard+) 10 miles
Follow the route of walk 10 up to the main Rhosydd quarry buildings. Here head north up to Clogwyn Brith and to the west of Llyn Cwm-corsiog. 1Km after this lake and just after crossing the Afon Cwm-y-foel, head left south-west up the gentle back of Cnicht. Careful bearings are required near the top to avoid drifting off the path. The 1.5Km ascent is a long hard slog, but well worth it from the top!
From the summit, head south-west on the well trodden path steeply down to the path junction at GR 628451.
Here you have some choices:
(1) Outside of the Osprey nesting period (approx early April to mid-September), you can take the direct route to Pont Croesor, so turn right and head north-west, then west to Gareg Bengam. Here continue west to Bwlchgwernog, where the path descends steeply to the minor road. Turn left and continue to Pont Talyrni along this minor road. Cross the main A4085 here and continue south-west to Hafod Garregog. Once the woods to your left have ended, proceed to cross the Afon Dylif and head south-west towards Glastraeth. Then head southwards via the farm at Ty’g-y-celyn to Pont Croesor. The WHR bridge at the side of the road bridge will soon be rebuilt. Walk option 2 (below) rejoins this walk here at Pont Croesor.
Or, if the Ospreys are nesting and the footpaths are closed (approx early April to mid-September):
(2) Turn left at 628451 for 200m and then turn right towards Cae-glas, heading south-west along the hillside and gradually dropping down above the old Croesor Tramway. In 1.5Km at Gelli, there is a wiggle in the path around the farm and then in another 300m a choice. Either head left, looping on the footpath, or right down to the main road, both leading to Tan Lan. From here it is a short walk south-west to Clough William-Ellis’ lovely Plas Brondanw gardens and to a decent pub at Y Ring (GR 613417). Either enjoy these, or continue to the B4410, which leads to Pont Croesor in 2Km (west). For the last 700m or so the WHR runs alongside the road.
After option (1) or (2), and possibly after visiting the RSPB Osprey visitor centre take the quiet B4410 north-west towards Prenteg, turning left onto the main road for 200m before turning off left and heading south-west to the east of Tan-y-Fron. Then walk alongside the WHR trackbed, cross Cynfal level crossing and continue for 200m before turning right and heading past the sports grounds to a level crossing with the main Cambrian Coast railway line, before taking either of the paths around the Llyn Bach to Britannia Bridge and to Harbour Station.
13 - Rhiw Bach tramway (hard) 7 miles
Head into the station car park and cross the road. Ahead of you is the former terminus of the FR at Duffws. The station building is now in use as public WCs. Carry on past this building into the far corner of this area and to Lord Street with the ex Votty/Bowydd incline in front of you. Turn left and head up the road until you come to a gate. Continue on what is now a quarry access road and head north-east towards Maen-Offeren quarries. This area is now being worked again by Greaves (of Llechwedd) and there may be local diversions to paths through the area – always follow the signs. Take the path to the west of the Rhiwbach No.2 incline (which runs between Grid refs 708467 and 712468). The path continues east to the main Maenofferen mill and buildings. Here the Rhiwbach incline No. 3 heads up north-east and you then join the Rhiwbach tramway, heading for the two lakes – Llyn Newydd and Llyn Bowydd, crossing the Afon Bowydd river in the process. Skirt around the south edge of Llyn Bowydd and continue east towards the old Cwt y Bugail quarry. Here the tramway turns south to Blaen y Cwm quarry and then north-east to Rhiw-bach quarry.
After carefully taking in the industrial archaeology, proceed to the forest south-west of the Rhiw-bach quarry heading for Bwlch Carreg-y-Fran, which in turn leads onto paths taking you around the north and west sides of the Manod quarry buildings. The path also gives views of the Graid-Ddu quarry (still in action today) and then heads south to the east of Llyn y Manod.
300m from the end of this lake, the path forks right and south. In another 200m, leave the ‘open access’ land and head south-west, before the path swings to the right. In 50m take a left (south) to merge with another path heading south-west. Then in 300m take a path on the right and north-west towards Cae-du. At this farm, continue north and then north-west to Congl-y-wal. Meet the main road (A470) and cross over it, the disused railway and the B road before heading west and then, in 200m, north.
In 200m fork right towards Neuadd-ddu and swing east, then north alongside the disused railway. In 750m at the next farm, continue north and enter Blaenau. This minor road takes you straight to the A470, turn left and the station is on the left in 350m.
For a detailed account of the workings click here.
For other ideas, you might like to purchase a copy of Celia Hancock’s ‘Walking around the Ffestiniog Railway”, adit publications (1998). This is available from our shop at Harbour Station.
The details given in all these walks and the links provided are for information only. The Festiniog Railway Company will not be held liable for mistakes in these walks, although it has made its best endeavours to ensure they are accurate. They are written so that the route can be followed on an up-to-date map of the area and should not be read alone, without such a map (preferably 1:25,000 scale).
Intending walkers should ensure that they have the correct kit (especially decent boots, food/drink and waterproofs) before they set off. Be aware that the weather can change very quickly, particularly in the mountains and a sunny day can soon turn to driving rain and mist.
It is hoped that walkers will always follow the country code and show respect for landowners, livestock and the environment.