Circular Walk from Isfryn via Mynydd Gwyn & Llechwedd Gwyn
Time: 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours. Distance: 7km, 4 ½ miles
This walk takes you onto the hills directly behind the cottage where there are stunning views both up and down the Dyfi valley before descending Nant Gwybedyn to the lane that leads back to the village. There’s usually a certain amount of mud on the route so boots (or tolerance of muddy feet) are a must. Note that none of the paths are signposted and many of the rights of way shown on the map no longer exist on the ground – this route, however does exist and is mostly on wide, easy to follow, trackways.
Please take care to leave all gates open or closed as you find them, keep dogs on a lead and be aware of livestock in the fields and farmyard.
1) From Isfryn turn left & walk down the lane to the end of the terrace of cottages, then take the lane that turns left up the hill, behind the cottages and Isfryn. Follow the lane steeply to the house at the end of the lane called Cefn (the house was originally called Pen y Cefn which translates as ‘Top of the Ridge’).
2) At Cefn keep left on the unmade track, passing through a gate with a large barn on the right. At the next pair of gates, go through the left hand one, where you can pause to take in the view by a huge old sycamore tree – you can see the village of Cwm Llinau (‘The Combe of Linen’ where flax, the raw material for linen, was grown) below. Continue following the track through another gate. The track bends rightwards and shortly you’ll reach the top – that’s most of the climbing done you’ll be glad to know. The copse of 5 trees on your left are on the site of an old farmhouse, now long gone.
3) Turn left here, following the track on edge of the trees for 150m. The track goes through 2 gates (one ruined) and bears left away from the trees before gently climbing towards the top of Mynydd Gwyn (White Mountain). At the two gates just before the very top go through the right hand one. The track disappears here but keep going in the same direction over open grassland for 200m to the very top keeping the fence to your left. This is the high point of the walk and behind you, if the weather is kind, you can see the ridgeline of Maesglase & Craig Portas with the summit of Aran Fawddwy poking up behind it.
4) Once at the top descend to your right past a thicket of rushes and within 50m or so you should see a farm track just below you between two more patches of rushes. Follow the track (muddy!) as it descends towards the wooded valley of Nant Gwybedyn (‘The Valley of Midges’ – nice!). A fence comes in from your left after 200m and then a gate with a sheep feeder beyond.
5) After going through the gate bear rightwards downhill following a broad grassy track, through yet another gate and then descend towards the ruined farmhouse of Llechwedd Gwyn (‘White Hillside’). The farmhouse is largely constructed of white quartz blocks which is presumably where the name of the farmhouse and mountain comes from. The broad track you’ve been following was clearly associated with this farmhouse, but we have yet to find out why it was carefully made so wide and level.
Photo 3: The ruins of Llechwedd Gwyn
6) With the ruined farmhouse to your right, the track bears left and briefly heads uphill before continuing downhill through a series of gates, some with impressively large old wooden gateposts. As you get close to the bottom you join a farm track and shortly reach a farmyard. There are sometimes cows or sheep in the yard – if so please walk through quietly & carefully. Never walk between cows and their calves.
7) Once out of the farmyard and on the lane, turn left and follow the lane for 2km back to the village. At places you can see the embankment where the old Mawddwy railway used to run, right next to the road – in fact the barn opposite Isfryn is built on the old railway embankment.