The Cambrian Way

Classic Wales mountain trek - south to north from Cardiff to Conwy

By The Trustees of the Cambrian Way Trust, George Tod, Richard Tyler

Guidebook to the Cambrian Way, a challenging three-week mountain trek through Wales from Cardiff to Conwy. The 470km unwaymarked route is presented from south to north. Often sticking to long, beautiful ridgelines, it crosses wild and rugged terrain and visits many of Wales's highest mountains, including Snowdon.



The southern and middle sections should be possible in all seasons but the Rhinog mountains and Snowdonia are best tackled between spring and autumn.


Cardiff, Pontypool, Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Llandovery, Strata Florida, Devil's Bridge, Ponterwyd, Dinas Mawddwy, Barmouth, Beddgelert, Pen-y-Pass, Ogwen, Conwy


Suitable for those with experience of long-distance walking (either with or without camping equipment), the route demands a good level of fitness and navigational competence.
Must See

Must See

Cardiff, capital of Wales, and its castle; the Black Mountains; the Brecon Beacons; the Carmarthen Vans; the Elenydd wilderness; Devil's Bridge and Rheidol Falls; Pumlumon; Cadair Idris; Barmouth; Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach; Beddgelert; Snowdon; the Glyders; Ogwen Valley; Tryfan; the Carneddau; Conwy and its castle
11 Jul 2019
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
  • Overview

    Dubbed 'the mountain connoisseurs' walk', the Cambrian Way stretches 479km between the mighty castles of Cardiff in the south and Conwy on the north coast. Traversing the heartland of Wales, the challenging route crosses the Brecon Beacons, the Cambrian Mountains and Snowdonia, passing through two national parks and visiting many of the country's iconic summits, including Pen y Fan, Pumlumon, Cadair Idris and Snowdon itself. It can be walked in three weeks (or in shorter sections) and is suitable for experienced hillwalkers with sound navigational skills.

    The guide presents the route in 21 stages, offering comprehensive route description illustrated with OS 1:50,000 mapping and elevation profiles. Details of accommodation and facilities are provided, along with a helpful trek planner showing their distribution along the route: although the trail passes through remote areas, it is possible to stay under a roof every night – though camping is also a possibility, should you prefer. There are background notes on Wales's history and geology and local points of interest, and a glossary of Welsh place-names, useful contacts and accommodation listings can be found in the appendices.

    From the Black Mountains to the Rhinogs, Glyderau and Carneddau, the route takes in lofty ridges, striking peaks and picturesque lakes. There are also fascinating glimpses into the country's ancient and more recent past: Iron Age hillforts, Norman castles, a Cistercian abbey, the Chartist Cave and relics from the mining industry. Offering superlative scenery, the Cambrian Way is a celebration of some of the best mountain walking Wales has to offer and promises a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in these celebrated landscapes.

  • Contents

    The mountain connoisseurs’ walk
    Wales, its history, people and language
    Geology and landscape
    Plants and animals
    When to go
    Waymarking and navigation
    Food, water and supplies
    Using this guide
    The route
    Stage 1 Cardiff to Machen
    Stage 2 Machen to Pontypool
    Stage 3 Pontypool to Abergavenny
    Stage 4 Abergavenny to Capel-y-ffin
    Stage 5 Capel-y-ffin to Crickhowell
    Stage 6 Crickhowell to Storey Arms
    Stage 7 Storey Arms to Glyntawe
    Stage 8 Glyntawe to Llandovery
    Stage 9 Llandovery to Tŷ’n-y-cornel Hostel
    Stage 10 Tŷ’n-y-cornel Hostel to Claerddu
    Stage 11 Claerddu to Ponterwyd
    Stage 12 Ponterwyd to Dylife
    Stage 13 Dylife to Dinas Mawddwy
    Stage 14 Dinas Mawddwy to Bwlch Llyn Bach
    Stage 15 Bwlch Llyn Bach to Barmouth
    Stage 16 Barmouth to Cwm Bychan
    Stage 16/17A Bad-weather route to Moelfryn following Taith Ardudwy Way
    Stage 17 Cwm Bychan to Maentwrog
    Stage 18 Maentwrog to Beddgelert
    Stage 19 Beddgelert to Pen-y-Pass
    Stage 20 Pen-y-Pass to Llyn Ogwen
    Stage 21 Llyn Ogwen to Conwy

    Appendix A The checkpoints
    Appendix B Glossary of Welsh words and places on the Cambrian Way
    Appendix C Useful contacts
    Appendix D Accommodation list

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  • Reviews
    Clear and logical structure and layout - It doesn’t disappoint

    As someone who has been walking The Cambrian Way section by section for a few years this first guidebook written by officers of The Cambrian Way Trust, was, to say the least, much anticipated. It doesn’t disappoint. Those familiar with the family of Cicerone’s excellent guides will be very comfortable with its clear and logical structure and layout. The integration of 1:50,000 map sections is very useful, though no substitute for carrying 1:25,000 maps (personally I download these and use with GPS on my phone for confident navigation).

    The guide deals well with many of the more difficult sections of the route, where there is no Right of Way to follow, though I challenge anyone not to find themselves confused at times as to what direction to take. But this is what makes The Way so special - it is not all waymarked, and since it covers some truly remote parts of Wales, rightly so. Some of The guide’s suggested stages are really hard going and my advice is to think carefully about your level of ability and the difficulty of the terrain before planning your itinerary. This is challenging walking. I for one will be considering a Wild Camp on the Rheinogs! All the practical stuff is here. Of course this can quickly get out of date, so I would encourage anyone using this guide to post updates to the Cambrian Way website.

    Charles, by email

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