princes of gwynedd


Walk 2 - Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan Castle

  • Length: 4.7 miles – Boggy in places, Steep downhill in places
  • Ascent: 1,036 feet
  • Refreshments: Dolwyddelan village


Greying dawn light was illuminating the snow-drifted peaks of Eryri, turning the crystalline lakes of the high mountain reaches to glistening blue ice, bringing day to the River Lledr valley and the castle standing stark sentinel in the shadow of Moel Siabod ”. - from 'Here Be Dragons'

The Roman Roads or Sarn Helen were obviously built by the Romans but the routes continued to be used by the Princes of Gwynedd and are still used today. The route from Dolwyddelan to the south was an important communication between North and South Wales and was also where the armies of Ceredigion and Deheubarth marched here against the forces of Gwynedd, and the army of Gwynedd set forth to conquer the whole of Wales.


Park at the car park for Dolwyddelan Castle. From the car park, cross the road and walk along the road heading south west namely away from the village of Dolwyddelan. After about half a mile, take the signposted footpath to the left. At the fork, turn left into the farmyard (called Bertheos farm) and follow the arrows bearing right. Go through the gate with arrows on it and follow the track up to a double gate where the track is obvious in the field.

Follow the track uphill – you will go through two further gates and will then come to a stile. Continue up the track and there will be another gate – remember to look behind you occasionally for the view! The range of mountains with four peaks is the Snowdon range. When the footpath forks, take the left fork and follow the stream up to another stile. The footpath narrows a little here but is still clear. You will come to another stile which leads into the woods.

The path down through the woods is quite steep. When you come across a track, go straight across and follow the signposted footpath which comes out on a road by a house called Tan-y-Bwlch. This road is a Roman Road. Turn left. As you go down this road, you will come across a 15th Century long house called Tai Penamnen*.

Follow the track downhill, and turn left to cross over the railway and follow the road into the village of Dolwyddelan. Refreshments are available in the village.

You re-join the A470 at the Y Gwydyr. Turn left and follow the road. When you reach a monument on the left side of the road, the road goes over a stream and there is a gate on the left. The rocky knoll covered with fir trees is where Tomen Castle is located. You can walk down this footpath to get a bit closer but you can't get right up to the site.

Tomen Castell is reputed to be where Llewelyn Fawr was born. Tradition claims that this Welsh earth and timber castle which occupies a rocky knoll on the valley bottom was the predecessor to the stone castle at Dolwyddelan. Today the mound or motte is covered with trees and vegetation. There are traces of a rectangular tower on the summit.

Continue following the A470 road back up to Dolwyddelan Castle. Please take the opportunity to go up to the Castle to enjoy the spectacular location.

Dolwyddelen Castle was built between about 1210 and 1240 by Llywelyn the Great as a fortress of the native Welsh princes. The square tower controlled a strategic pass though the mountains and can be seen for miles. The rectangular stone keep was supplemented in the 13th century by a stone curtain wall enclosing the courtyard. The castle saw active service in the late 13th century with the battles between the Welsh and Edward I. It fell to English forces in 1283 and was refortified, probably with a second rectangular tower which today stands in ruins. - CADW

* Meredydd ap Ieuan was said to have built a house at Penamnen in the late 15th century when he left Dolwyddelan castle, his previous home. Recent excavations show that there was an earlier house on the site, and Maredudd extended that building. Meredydd's father, Ieuan ap Robert lived at Gesail Gyfarch (SH 540417) between Tremadog and Dolbenmaen, where, at the age of thirty one, he died a young man of the Bubonic Plague (Black Death). Meredydd was Sir John Wynn's Great Grandfather. He reconstructed the old church in Dolwyddelan, from its previous position at Bryn y Bedd (SH 732523). He was also the first of the Wynn family to live in and extend Gwydir Castle in the Conwy Valley.

List of all Walks

Walk 1 – Llanrhychwyn Church, Trefriw

Walk in the footsteps of Llewelyn Fawr and Joanna to reach the spiritually uplifting church at Llanrhychwyn.
Find out more

Walk 2 - Dolwyddelan Castle

Enjoy the views of Dolwyddelan Castle and the Lledr Valley on this walk. (You are on this page).

Walk 3 – Aber Falls

Visit the stunning waterfall at Aber walking in the footsteps of Llewelyn Fawr and his grandson Llewelyn ap Gruffydd.
Find out more

Contact Information

For more information please contact us at:

E-mail: info at princesofgwynedd dot com

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