Four bridges and Swallow Falls nr Betws-Y-Coed

Submitted by driver 16 on 10 October 2012
OS Explorer Map: OL17 - Snowdon
(16 votes)
A circular, full-day riverside walk in national park Snowdonia (Wales) starting at Betws-y-Coed, Gwynedd, about 8.8km (roughly 5.5 miles) long and suitable for families with children, but unsuitable for prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs.
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Once again I am drawn to Betws-y-Coed, it is so nice there. This is a walk by Rivers Llugwy and Conway, one difficult short stretch just before Miners' Bridge of boggy ground and tree roots, otherwise pretty straightforward. Attractions include the motor car and railway museums, a miniature railway ride, and a golf course, in addition to all the walks in the area.

By Pont-y-Pair Bridge picnic area, there is a purpose-built short walk, through the trees by the side of the river, advertised as "for all abilities" i.e. for disabled people and wheelchair users.  

Start: Betws-y-Coed, OS Grid: SH794564
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 282m (926ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 556m (1826ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 274m (900ft)
Max. Elevation: 140m (459ft)

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Nearby Walks

A half-day woodland walk in Snowdonia from Betws-y- Coed, Wales, 3.3km (~2.1m) long.
A half-day riverside walk in Snowdonia from Betws-y-Coed, Wales, 8.8km (~5.5m) long.
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OS Grid: SH794564
Find the Tourist Information centre opposite, and turn right to find a metal gate marked "Private Road" but which is a public footpath. Go through and pass Royal Oak Farm on your right. Pass under a railway bridge and see the golf course on your right, on to waypoint 2.
About 0.9 km (roughly 0.6 miles) from 1 OS Grid: SH798572
You will have come through one kissing gate; the path takes you on a horseshoe-shaped walk around the perimeter of the golf course, passing through two more kissing gates, on to waypoint 3.
About 0.2 km (roughly 0.1 miles) from 2 OS Grid: SH798570
Look for a post with a yellow footprint marker, and take this down to a pebble beach on the riverside. Pass the large stepping stones across the river. This is the oldest crossing, used until 1912 when a woman drowned there. Leave the beach, on to waypoint 4.
About 0.4 km (roughly 0.3 miles) from 3 OS Grid: SH796567
Turn left onto a tarmac road and take this for about 50 yards. Hop over a slate step into the cemetery and follow the path on the left to pass the 14th-century St. Michael's Church. Leave through an arched gateway, and turn left to go down to Sappers' Suspension Bridge, built by army personnel in the 1930s to link the village with an army camp on the other side. It replaced an old wooden bridge destroyed in a storm. Cross to waypoint 5.
About 0.4 km (roughly 0.2 miles) from 4 OS Grid: SH799564
Turn right onto the grass verge, pass the waterfall on the left on your way down to Waterloo Bridge. Cross the bridge and stay on the right-hand-side footpath, following this to Pont-y-Pair Bridge, waypoint 6.
About 0.8 km (roughly 0.5 miles) from 5 OS Grid: SH791566
Cross the bridge and turn left at the end, down to a picnic area by the river, waypoint 7.
About 0.2 km (roughly 0.1 miles) from 6 OS Grid: SH790568
At this point, join the 'Walk for all abilities'. There is a boardwalk at the start, and at the next picnic area on the left, by the river, go down to walk along the riverside. Cross the stream to a meadow which narrows at the end to boggy ground with tree roots underfoot - take care on your way to waypoint 8.
About 1 km (roughly 0.6 miles) from 7 OS Grid: SH780570
Go down this modern bridge and up the older stone steps to the main road, waypoint 9.
About 0.3 km (roughly 0.2 miles) from 8 OS Grid: SH778568
Turn right and walk steadily uphill to the entrance of Swallow Falls, waypoint 10.
About 1.7 km (roughly 1.1 miles) from 9 OS Grid: SH764577
Admission charge is £1.50, which is well worth it. There are benches to rest on, and there is a hotel, restaurant and cafe opposite. Once refreshed, walk back down the main road into Betws and the end of walk.
About 3.1 km (roughly 1.9 miles) from 10 OS Grid: SH793565
Hope you enjoyed as much as I did, and will come to Betws again and tell your friends and families.
5 comments ...join the discussion!
J Figg  commented on 15 October 2012
The four bridges walk is a lovely walk but ignore the reference to the Car Musuem as it closed several years ago. If you want a little mooch after your walk, the railway museum is worth a visit or there's a good movie playing at the Tourist Information Centre of a helicopter flight over Snowdonia (which is free). Or of course you could have a wander round the shops.
Timwoods  commented on 18 October 2012
Thanks for the update. A railway museum sounds far more suitable for this website anyway!
C Steele-Perkins  commented on 29 April 2013
A very easy walk with fine views of the Golf Course and the River Conwy in Betws-y-Coed
J Egan  commented on 04 May 2015
Busy roads
Whilst the setting is beautiful, this walk involves several long stretches next to busy main roads. Also, the parts not by main roads are in pretty busy areas (especially on a Bank Holiday Monday!) So if you want a quiet peaceful walk, this is not the one I would recommend.
driver 16  commented on 05 May 2015
Mature Peoples' Walks
Best to avoid all popular areas of N. Wales on Bank Holidays / Weekends when the sun is shining, plenty of other walks in the area, can't please everybody, I went on steam train excursion to Lincoln's Christmas Markets a few years ago thinking I would see the Cathedral (which was open and managed to do) and the Castle, Magistrates' Court, Jail and walls, however, most of the market was in this area and all these were closed to the public, it was shoulder to shoulder, shuffling along, impossible to get near the stalls, get refreshments, even relieve oneself, thus, since avoided anywhere with "Christmas Market", "Victorian Festival" e.g. Llandudno's early Spring Bank Holiday this last weekend, "heritage transport shows", "Air Shows", cycling events (ask Yorkshire people) etc. in their advertising !!!!!
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