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Lakes Around Dolgellau
Llyn Cynwch in Autumn

Llyn Cynwch in Autumn

26 acres
729 feet
Easy Access
Llyn Cynwch acts as both ‘prequel’ and ‘sequel’ to Precipice Walk, one of the most famous and popular walks in the area with breathtaking views as you walk along its narrow track 800 feet above the Mawddach Valley. You get a glimpse of the lake as you take the anti-clockwise route and you get to see it in all its glory as you finish the walk with a nice steady stroll along its banks.

It’s definitely worth a trip even if you aren’t doing Precipice Walk as it’s a gentle, flat, peaceful circular walk and great for young children and dogs, although be careful of the water as well as sheep and lambs that roam the path. It’s also one of the top fishing spots in the area and is run by the Dolgellau Angling Association.

There is a large car park with toilets nearby (Coed y Groes), which adds to its popularity, so the car park can be full on sunny holiday weekends.

Along with Precipice Walk, it is part of the historic Nannau Estate and is a working reservoir that has provided the drinking water for Dolgellau since 1968. As it is a reservoir, swimming is not allowed.
Cregennen Lakes

Cregennen Lakes

27 & 13 acres
785 feet
Easy Access
Cregennen Lakes consist of two bodies of water, one 27 acres (with a small island) and the other half the size at 13 acres. They are located about 785 feet above sea level, beneath the slopes of the Cader Idris mountain range and are one of the ‘must do’ things to do in the area.

There is a large car parking area next to the lakes. This can be reached by driving up Cader Road from Dolgellau, or from the winding road up from Arthog.

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Llyn Gwernan

Llyn Gwernan

26 acres
729 feet
Easy Access
Llyn Gwernan is more commonly called by its English name Gwernan Lake, probably due to the popular hotel of the same name which is located on its eastern side beside the Cader Road. It’s also at the start of the difficult Fox’s Path route up the mountain, which helped increase the popularity of the hotel with the more energetic Edwardians.

While there has always been a footpath in the woods on the opposite side (which is part of the route of the Cader Race which is run every May from the town to the summit), recently there have been a couple of footpaths and boardwalks added which means you can now walk around the lake from the main road.

Parking is tricky, so unless you’re staying at the hotel, you should probably park at Tŷ Nant car park and walk down the road past the hotel and then turn left at the sign and follow the boardwalk around the back the lake. Once you have passed the lake you can either follow the other boardwalk back up the field to the road or follow the race route through the woods, over the farm fields and back to Tŷ Nant(which is prettier if a bit trickier to follow when you reach the farm fields). The route around the back allows lovely views of Cader Idris over the water and you can also get some nice photos from the waters edge.

Just after you walk down past the hotel you will see several tank traps in the undergrowth over the low wall on your left. These are remnants of World War Two and were built to slow down any invading German tanks. There are a some of these on the Mawddach Trail and a few in the surrounding area.
Llyn Tan-y-Graig in Autumn

Llyn Tan-y-Graig in Autumn

1.5 acres
412 feet
Moderate Access
Llyn Tan-y-Graig once supplied the drinking water to the local village of Llanelltyd and is one of the most beautiful lakes in the area. It’s also on the way up (or down) to New Precipice Walk which affords some of the most beautiful panoramic views in Southern Snowdonia.

You can walk along the undulating hills on the southern banks and then follow the path through the conifer wood at the northern end. This side lets you get right to the lakes edge where you can get some lovely view of Cader Idris over the water.
Llyn y Gadair and Cyfrwy

Llyn y Gadair and Cyfrwy

11 acres
1,837 feet
Difficult Access
Llyn y Gadair (Roughly translated as Lake of the Chair) is a stunning glacial lake in the foothills of Cader Idris under the craggy peak of Cyfrwy. It is located just off the Fox’s Path, which is a route now discouraged due to its treacherous scree slope between the lake and the summit. However the route from the lake down to Cader Road is manageable.

The easiest and safest route is to park at the Tŷ Nant car park (about three miles from Dolgellau on Cader Road). Follow the Pony Path and turn left at the low marker post which points to the lake (keep a keen lookout for this marker as it’s easily missed). Follow this track over a great boulder field to the lake and then return down the remainder of Fox’s Path, past Llyn Gafr (Goat Lake) to the Gwernan Lake Hotel (and Gwernan Lake), that way you get three lakes in one.

You can also turn RIGHT when you get to the hotel and follow the sign after the lake and return BEHIND Gwernan Lake which gives access to the waters edge and views of Cader Idris over the lake.
Llyn Cau

Llyn Cau

33 acres
1,552 feet
Difficult Access
Llyn Cau translates as Closed Lake and it’s easy to see why as you stand on its shore with the peaks of Cader Idris all around. It was popular with painters including Richard Wilson and has also appeared in TV shows including David Dimbleby’s ‘Mystical West’ episode of ‘A Picture of Britain’, not to mention Anneka Rice’s ‘Treasure Hunt’ series back in the 1980s!

The easiest route up (and I use the term loosely) is from the Minffordd car park, following the steep path through the ancient woodland. The path is well maintained, but still this doesn’t help the legs as you walk up and up. Once you get through the trees you enter to the glacial valley of Cwm Cau and the much easier section as you stroll along the reasonably level path to the waters edge.

This is the first part of the route to Mynydd Pencoed, the main peak you can see from the lake and from there it’s only a couple of hundred feet to the summit of Cader Idris, or you can turn left and follow the path back down to Tal-y-Llyn and back along a quiet road to the car park.
Access is listed based on access to a car. Lakes marked as Easy are near a road.
All photographs are Copyright © Ian King.
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