The Mawddach Way is a beautiful and largely unspoilt 30 miles/50km walk at the southern end of Snowdonia National Park. It uses existing footpaths and permissive paths to make a circuit of the hills either side of the Mawddach Estuary, passing through woodland, pasture and open country.
Remnants of the past, be it prehistoric settlement, industrial or military use, provide plenty of interest en route. This is a rewarding walk and accessible to those who may be new to long distance routes. Being circular, the Mawddach Way can be joined at any point and there are good transport links from Dolgellau and especially Barmouth.
Starting at Barmouth, Wales Cottage Holidays offers excellent accommodation at this Middle Apartment sleeping 6, with panoramic views over the harbour and the Mawddach estuary.
Climbing up through the Old Town, the route continues to its highest point of 346m. It then tracks along the Mawddach Gold Belt to Taicynhaeaf and a number of mine workings are encountered on the way, along with much earlier markers of human habitation.
Wales Cottage Holidays properties here include Bryn Hyfryd, a four-bedroomed house sleeping 7 and Llechfraith Uchaf Annexe, a studio-style cottage annexe for 2. Both properties have stunning views across the estuary to Cadair Idris.
From Taicynhaeaf the route climbs swiftly up the slopes of Foel Ispri and on to wild open spaces beyond. It joins the Monk’s road, sweeping down in spectacular fashion to Llanelltyd, where we have Barn Cottage sleeping 7. In the same location we have Holly Bank sleeping 8, and Cysgod-y-Coed sleeping 6. All three properties offer superb views of the Cadair Idris range.
Continue into Dolgellau, where the town trail might be an interesting diversion. Properties in town include Ty Cwtch, a two bedroomed Victorian cottage and The Crown, a grade II listed cottage in Dolgellau which boasts a wealth of interesting features and two king-size bedrooms.
The Mawddach Way heads back west to Penmaenpool and then probably the most strenuous, but rewarding, section of the walk. Climbing swiftly up the valley wall, the route traverses the long plateau at the foot of Cadair Idris. Along the route, Wales Cottage Holidays offers Llwyniarth, a very pleasant farmhouse near Dolgellau sleeping 6.
Taking in the beautiful Cregennen Lakes, the route descends steeply off the plateau to the estuary and crosses iconic Barmouth Bridge back to the town.
Visitors may also be interested in the Mawddach Trail, an 8 mile cycle path running from Dolgellau to Morfa Mawddach at the south side of the Barmouth bridge. It’s a route for both cyclists and walkers and is part of the Sustrans Cross-Wales Cycling Route.