Operated by The National Trust, the Dolmelynllyn Estate is located just north of Dolgellau and opposite Coed y Brenin. A network of footpaths has been created through the woodland and across the mountainside. The National Trust have divided these into four interlinked circular trails enabling walkers to enjoy hikes of varying lengths by exploring one, two, three or all four of the trails. The Blue, Green, Red and Black trails all feature waymarkers to keep you on track and each offers plenty to please. Please note that the green trail can only be accessed via the blue or red trail. The free guides available in the Gallwyd car park include a map of the trails. Your choices are as follows:
Ganllwyd Woodland Walk (Blue trail) – moderate hike of just over an hour past the Rhaeadr Du, gorgeous cascades in the heart of stunning woodland
Gold Mine Walk (Blue trail + Green trail) – moderate hike of two hours past the falls and through woodland to goldmines on the mountainside
Dolmelynllyn Walk (Blue, Green and Red trails) – moderate hike of two and a half hours incorporating the Gold Mine Walk plus further woodland
Estate Walk (Blue, Green, shortened Red and Black trails) – moderate hike of four hours encompassing the entire estate
We opted for the Dolmelynllyn Walk and greatly enjoyed it. This is a hike of huge variety beginning from the Ganllwyd car park adjacent to the A470. There are plenty of great spots to stop for a picnic along the way and the waterfalls are truly magical. There are toilets in the car park and a picnic table if you wish to relax for a while after the hike. The only downside to this walk was the inconsistent waymarking on one portion of the blue route. We are not entirely sure that we took the correct paths throughout but we did find all of the important features of the hike!
The historic parklands of the Dolmelynllyn Estate are well worth exploring. The climb up through oak woodlands is simply wonderful and takes you to the slopes of Cefn Coch where you can visit the site of a bygone gold rush. The woods have been managed for centuries with the timber used for houses and boats. Plas Dolmelynllyn, which you pass towards the end of the hike, was the home of William Maddocks, friend of the poet Shelley and founder of Porthmadog.
Duration: 2.5 hours from the car park to the highest point and back
Terrain: Woodland paths and grassland with some moderately steep sections