To the south of Betws-y-Coed and the imposing peak of Moel Siabod lies the valley of the Afon Lledyr. The focus of the walk to Dolwyddelan Castle are the impressive ruins but it is an interesting landscape throughout.
I knew very little about this valley before I took this walk. There is a tendency to drive through to the west or stick to the Betws-y-Coed to Capel Curig valley to the north. However I wanted to see the castle and expected some good views from the south side of the valley. In fact the south side took me through some very pleasant woodland (therefore not much views) on a good path. Crossing the river led to a mix of bracken and farmland as it climbed towards Pen-y-Rwiy.
Turning back towards Dolwyddelan the path emerges above a valley on the northern slopes of Moel Siabod. Ahead the castle is perched impressively on a large earthern hillock. The castle is one of a series of fortifications guarding the valleys from the invading English. Today it is more of a romantic ruin, impressive to look at and easy to explore (there was no cost when I went and you can wander around the fortifications). The main keep was locked but the situation excellent.
An excellent network train service runs south from Dolwyddelan south past Blaennau Ffestiniog and on to the heritage line. It is worth exploring.
Farmyards and cows. Walking through a farmyard can be worrying, particularly if you are unable to see a footpath sign. They will be there so look closely and keep your dog on a lead.
With cows (and there were plenty near Pen-y-rhiw farm) just stick to the following. Skirt any herd even if it means leaving the path and do not get between a calf and the adults. Do not look them in the eye or make a noise. Release the dog if cows are showing it interest, they will chase the dog not you. Do not be scared, the most dangerous part of any walk is crossing a busy road.
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