Published on behalf of the Snownonia Slate Trail
This 83-mile trail takes you on a journey back in time when Snowdonia was the centre of the
slate industry. While experiencing the haunting, and maybe sad beauty of this abandoned
industrial heritage, now a World Heritage Site, the Snowdonia Slate Trail walker will also
have the opportunity to walk past working quarries while the National Slate Museum of
Wales and a number of slate-related attractions are also visited.
This Trail is also a joy for narrow gauge railway enthusiasts and visits the Penrhyn Quarry
railway, Llanberis Lake Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway, the Welsh Highland Light
Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway.
But this Trail is not just about the slate industry and its railways. It visits less-frequented,
but beautiful, parts of Snowdonia, passing through all the major mountain ranges, offering a
range of experiences from mountain to forest, lake to river, from the valley to the sea. All
along the trail are fascinating things to be seen and experienced. From small sleepy villages
to the honey pots of Llanberis and Betws y Coed, this trail provides a wealth of variety.
The route starts at Port Penrhyn, on the outskirts of Bangor, and follows the Lon Las Ogwen
cycle path and North Wales Path for a while, before following field paths, farm tracks and
country lanes to arrive in the large slate village of Bethesda, which lies beneath the vast
slate tips of Penrhyn Quarry.
Crossing the River Ogwen, the route continues along field paths and tracks to Mynydd
Llandegai, a remote hill village which lies just above Llanberis, the next destination. In
Llanberis, the National Slate Museum can be visited for free or the train to the summit of
Snowdon can be taken at rather more cost. Alternatively, take a full day out and walk it.
From Llanberis, the route climbs over to Waunfawr, across little frequented moorlands,
passing many abandoned slate quarries. This scenery continues to Dyffryn Nantlle where
the village is dominated by slate tips and sinister flooded slate workings. Continuing
between the steep cliffs of Mynydd Mawr on the left and the Nantlle Ridge on the right,
Rhyd Ddu is reached, where sustenance and lodgings can be found, as well as a pub. If
you`re lucky, you might just see the huge Garrett double bodied engines of the Welsh
Highland Light Railway pass through.
Through the Beddgelert forest, the trail meanders into Beddgelert itself before negotiating
the beautiful Aberglaslyn Pass, eventually reaching Nantmor. From here, field, forest and
moorland paths take the route to the isolated slate village of Croesor, overshadowed by
Cnicht, the Matterhorn of Wales.
Following old quarry tracks, the trail ascends to the remote and derelict Rhosydd quarry
before descending through the slate spoil heaps to Cwmorthin valley with its ruined village
and chapel. From here, crossing the Ffestiniog Railway, the route continues to the significant
slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog before carrying on by way of Cwm Teigl gorge to Llan
Ffestiniog and its historic community-owned pub, the Pengwern.
Across fields, the impressive and unfrequented gorge of Cwm Cynfal is reached and
followed for some distance before taking to the high and desolate moors of the Migneint
above Cwm Penmachno, which is reached by way of the abandoned Rhiwbach quarry with
its derelict village and slate mills. From Cwm Penmachno, where the drop-in Heritage Centre
can be visited, the trail follows field paths and tracks to Penmachno.
After calling at the café at Conwy Falls, a good path and a quiet lane take you to the hustle
and bustle of Betws y Coed. Following the Llugwy River, past the steeply sloping Miner`s
Bridge, Swallow Falls and the Ugly House, the route takes to the open moors before calling
in at Capel Curig.
From Capel, a broad track takes the trail back into the heart of the mountains at Ogwen
Cottage before continuing along the old highway and Lon Las Ogwen cyclepath. This path is
left to cross the Ogwen once again to finish in Bethesda, the home of slate.