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Berwyns: Cadair Berwyn ridges from Cwm Maen Gwynedd

Berwyns: Cadair Berwyn ridges from Cwm Maen Gwynedd

Postby jonathan - norfolk » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:07 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Cadair Berwyn, Cadair Bronwen, Foel Wen, Moel Sych, Mynydd Tarw

Date walked: 01/03/2019

Time taken: 8

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 986m

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Berwyns: Cadair Berwyn ridges from Cwm Maen Gwynedd

This is probably the best circular walk to be had in the Berwyns, although there is a case to be made for the walk that takes in Cadair Bronwyn after Tomle and then completing the horseshoe over Moel yr Ewig and Godor after Moel Sych. No additional Hewitts would be included and personally I found Moel yr Ewig and Godor a boring trudge on a previous walk and was in no hurry to repeat it. The inclusion of Cadair Bronwyn, in my view, is a much better option (unless you are intent on completing all the Nuttalls). Much more enjoyable (and if you are not completing Nuttalls, but are doing Hewitts, much more efficient).

There is parking for about three or four vehicles by the stream on the minor road below the telephone box where there is no parking (despite what is says in early editions of the Nuttall's guide). The parking is only about 80m or so below the telephone box and passed on the way in to the valley.

If you are not familiar with the valley, sat. navs can struggle to find it and phone coverage on some networks dreadful. (I have a set of radios that I use when SAR Dog training. If I'm doing a valley to valley walk and being picked up by friends, I give them one and carry another. Seeing one's lift disappearing into the distance when you're 100m away and can't contact them isn't something you want to do twice!) I find using the post code SY10 0DE to get to the start of the walk gets you into the correct valley and very close to the start. My sat nav tells me I've arrived when a small chapel is reached. You're not quite there at this stage, but just keep going straight on. You'll cross a bridge over a stream, the parking is immediately on the right.

Walk up to the phone box, take the lane up behind it, go through Maes farmyard and up to the bend in the road. The public right of way up to the left across the fields is clearly waymarked. Good views away towards minor hills on the left.
01 IMG_2921E compressed.jpg
Views early in the walk

The wood mentioned in the early Nuttall's guide has long since been clear-felled, but it's obvious where it was. The summit of Myndd Tarw is right on the corner of the fence and marked by a stone shelter.
02 IMG_2926 Mynedd Tawr and shelter compressed.jpg
Mynedd Tawr and shelter

There follows an enjoyable moorland ridge walk until Tomle top is reached. Tomle, apparently, translates as the "bog or mire" and the descent from the top towards the col between it and Cadair Berwyn can live up to its name. On this occasion it was pretty easy, but in wet weather (or after prolonged wet weather) it can be really dreadful. By the time you are on Tomle's summit from this direction it's a bit late to consider alternatives. If in doubt, do the route as described in reverse. That way you climb all the major peaks and can then turn back to the col and descend into Cwm Maen Gwynedd by the track if the approach to Tomle is really bad. (The ridge beyond Tomle's top towards Mynnydd Tarw drains well, so if you get that far doing the route in reverse you should be fine).
There can be fine views of the main Berwyn ridge from Foel Wen and Tomle.
03 IMG_2931 Cadair Berwyn ridge compressed.jpg
The main Cadair Berwyn ridge

05 IMG_2944 Tomle Foel Wen Mynedd Tawr compressed.jpg
Tomle, Foel Wen and Mynedd Tawr from the Berwyn main ridge

The walk along the main Cadair Berwyn ridge is a pleasant one. The trig point is not the summit, which is beyond a wind shelter, (being used by two radio hams when were up there - hence the areal!) The summit is rather more airy, especially when it's wet and windy!
06 IMG_2931 Looking along Cadair Berwyn ridge compressed.jpg
Looking along the main Cadair Berwyn ridge

07 IMG_2953 Cadair Berwyn shelter compressed.jpg
Cadair Berwyn ridge shelter

IMG_0470 cadair Berwyn summit comp.jpg
Cadair Berwyn summit

The continuation on to the summit of Moel Sych, the return along the ridge to Cadair Berwyn and then on to Cadair Bronwyn, (the style at the col is there for a reason, if you are continuing to Cadair Bronwyn use it) is an enjoyable one.
08 IMG_2951 Moel Sych summit compressed.jpg
Moel Sych summit

09 IMG_2956 Cadair Bronwyn comp.jpg
Cadair Bronwyn summit

After going to the summit of Cadair Bronwyn, it is possible to largely contour around back to the Tomle col and pick up the track back into Cwm Maen Gwynedd. The track, initially, is rather rougher than the map might suggest, but it quickly improves and provides a good steady way of losing height and dropping into the valley. The road out along the valley bottom seems a very long one!
At the end of our walk we paused to watch a sizable murmuration of Starlings wheeling very close to us as we approached our car, when a Peregrine made at least four swoops on them. A memorable end to a very good day.

The Berwyn mountains tend to be very under-walked. If you've not walked any of them before, or you only intend doing a single walk in them, then this one shouldn't disappoint.

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Length: 11.25 miles 18.1 km Ascent: +986m -986m Naismith: 5h 16m
jonathan - norfolk
Mountain Walker
Posts: 284
Munros:94   Corbetts:10
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Joined: Aug 3, 2013

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