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Photo: Snowdon, Y Garn & Pen yr Ole Wen from Carnedd Dafydd
A Tough High Level Coast to Coast Walk through Wildest Wales
Wales' most scenically beautiful and challenging long distance trail
Coast to Coast - Cardiff to Conwy.
Latest News: Now that some normality approaches after Covid disruption, walkers are starting to get back onto the Cambrian Way, though it is mainly backpackers at the moment due to all the disruption in the hospitality sector. We have yet to take stock of which B&Bs and pubs are still operating, as many have closed down either temporarily or permanently. Also, there are reports of paths in remote areas becoming overgrown, often disappearing altogether. It would be greatly appreciated if walkers could give feedback on path problems to firstname.lastname@example.org so that Ramblers' working parties could tackle them.
|The Cambrian Way has existed for over 50 years, being first envisaged in 1968. In 1984 the first guidebook was produced by the late Tony Drake and updated guides have been published ever since with the website being launched in 2006.
Please do not confuse this walking route with the A470 road route that was named the Cambrian Way by Visit Wales in 2017.
|This website is now run by the Cambrian Way Trust, a charitable trust. Any donations large or small to help with running costs would be greatly appreciated.
Note: All transactions go through the Secure PayPal website and no sensitive information is held by the Trust.
Cambrian Way Home Page - Latest News
|Latest News on the Cambrian Way - new developments, problems, corrections|
Please Note: The Cambrian Way News has been restarted with items relating to the Cicerone guide and any associated route changes. Earlier news items can be seen on the History page under AJ Drake News.
The Forum for Current Route Problems or Useful Hints and Tips
If you have come across any problems or obstructions or anything else that you think may be of value or interest to other walkers, or if you have an update to any item already posted, please e-mail email@example.com with details so that it can be posted here. Your name can be added if you wish, or you can remain anonymous with just your initials and town or country displayed. We are also keen to hear of any B&Bs, hostels, bunkhouses, camp sites etc that are not already in the guidebook, especially in remote areas where accommodation may be scarce.
|45. Cambrian Way GPX Files on OS Maps (George Tod)||04/10/2021|
The latest GPX files that are downloadable from the Guidebook page have now been made public on the Ordnance Survey's OS Maps Service, both on the web based version and also the App available for Android devices. This means that it is not necessary to download them and import them into OS Maps unless you wish to edit them for your own personalised route. By positioning the map to show a route starting point and selecting Discover Routes a number should be displayed to indicate how many entries there are at each location (it may be necessary to untick Show only Premium routes). On clicking the number, the list of available GPX files will be displayed and the required one can be selected.
Note: The GPX files in question have been given more meaningful names such as Cambrian Way Stage 10 RevC1. There will also be a lot of other files with names similar to CWStage10GPSRevC1 and these have put there by people who have uploaded the GPX files to their own OS Maps accounts and then saved them with the default option that enables Everyone to see them. If walkers have done this, I would urge them to edit and save them again with the option Only me otherwise OS Maps will be swamped with multiple copies of the same route - there are now about 10 or more at each Stage Start point.
I have contacted the Ordnance Survey to suggest that they make the default option Only me and/or to check for multiple copies of the same route and discourage them being saved for 'Everyone' to see. I have not yet received a response but will update this News Item if anything changes.
|44. Accommodation Page New Format (Beta Version) (George Tod)||15/08/2021
|A beta version of the Cambrian Way Accommodation Pages is available for trial. The changes are intended to make searches easier and more selective as well as condensing the three pages of Southern, Central and Northern sections into one page. It has the following features:
Update: The new version is now available through the normal menu on the Route Page and the previous Accommodation Pages are no longer available. All other pages are now updated to improve viewing on small screens. Please e-mail any problems, comments are suggested improvements to the Webmaster at the address above.
|43. Barmouth Viaduct Scheduled Closures (George Tod)||06/08/2021
Update: There is a ferry service now running across the estuary from 10am to 4pm at a cost of £2.50 per person, weather permitting. See their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Barmouthferry
Update 19/09/2021: We are informed that a route from the north side of Penmaenpool Bridge to the north of Barmouth Bridge is in the process of being signposted. This uses footpaths and monor roads to avoid the busy A496 road as much as possible. It is about 7.5 miles (12.1km) long with an ascent of 1820ft (565m), about 1.6 more miles and 1250ft more ascent than the main road route. See Map of This Route
Original News item: For some time Network Rail have been planning massive restoration work to the iconic wooden rail bridge across the Mawddach Estuary which also carries cyclists and walkers including those walking the Cambrian Way. Some preparatory work has already been done but the main restoration work, which will involve full closure of the bridge to all users, will be spread over three years.
The first closure will be from Sunday 12th September to Sunday 12th December 2021 with a similar closure from Sunday 11th September to Sunday 11th December 2022. This will have a significant impact on Cambrian Way walkers during those times. Probably the best option for most is to take the Rail Replacement Bus Service laid on by Network Rail running between Morfa Mawddach Station on the south of the viaduct to Barmouth on the north. This is scheduled to take 26 minutes at a cost of £2.60 but will not be available on all scheduled services with others taking 1 hour 47 minutes with one change. It is also possible that some services could be cancelled so it is important to check this nearer to the time. If the these services do not fit in with the walking schedule, a taxi could be used instead.
The nearest alternative crossing of the estuary is via the wooden toll bridge at Penmaenpool about 5 miles (8km) to the east. For walkers who do not wish to use or cannot use these services, there are a number of optional routes depending on whether there is a need to go to Barmouth for accommodation or services, whether there is a desire to follow as much of the route as possible or whether some parts can be omitted. The following chart shows some of these options and approximate distances though be aware that many of these are not ideal walking routes and may involve considerable stretches of road walking or incur extra distance finding suitable paths.
|Barmouth Bridge||Bwlch y Rhiwgyr|
|This is the current Main Cambrian Way route using Barmouth Bridge between the places where other options are available.|
|Bwlch y Rhiwgyr|
|This option takes in as much of Cambrian Way Main route as possible before detouring to Penmaenpool for the alternative crossing, but it takes an extra 12.2 miles.|
|Alternative routes south of Barmouth Bridge|
|This is the shortest alernative which takes the King's YH route then a road route to Penmaenpool. This misses out Llynnau Gregennen and Arthog Waterfalls.|
|This follows the Main route to Llynnau Gregennen before taking the King's YH route in reverse, then a road route to Penmaenpool. It omits Arthog Waterfalls and is 3.5 miles longer than the previous option.|
|This is the same as the previous option except for using the Mawddach Trail to Penmaenpool instead of the road adding an extra mile.|
|Alternative routes north of Barmouth Bridge|
|Barmouth Bridge North||Bwlch y Rhiwgyr|
|This takes the quickest route to Barmouth to where the Cambrian Way ascends the hill north of the bridge. It includes a lot of road walking, though there are some paths that can be taken to avoid the road. This is the route to take if a visit to Barmouth is required.|
|Direct Route||Bwlch y Rhiwgyr|
|This takes the most direct route to Bwlch y Rhiwgyr for those not needing to visit Barmouth. It includes a mixture of walking on minor roads, tracks and footpaths.|
|42. Wild Camping on the Cambrian Way and FKT (Mike Greenleaf)||11/06/2021|
Updated 03/08/2021 Mike Greenleaf has just completed his third walk of the Cambrian Way and has provided a list of wild camping locations where he stayed. These have been added to those from earlier News item 34 in 2018 from his previous walk. Although he was not aiming to break any records, it appears that this was the fastest known time (FKT) for the walk at 9 days and 19 hours, which he achieved by long walking hours rather than fast walking, taking advantage of the long daylight hours around midsummer. Also his walk in 2018 at 10 days and 6 hours was the FKT at that time but neither of these have been submitted or verified on the FKT website.
The previous and only official FKT prior to this was by Stephen Poulton in 1971 at 10 days 11 hours 15 min. Since these times, Seth Kennard has registered a self-supported FKT of 6 days 14 hours 7 min on 05/07/2021.
Please note: Strictly speaking wild camping is only permitted with the landowner's permission and is generally not permitted on National Trust land. Local authorities also often have bylaws prohibiting it in many public areas. In practice, however, it is often unofficially accepted in remote places provided you are respectful of where you camp and leave no trace of having been there. This is an assessment of the general situation and is not to be taken to imply approval by The Cambrian Way Trust. George Tod
|41. O.S. Map of Full Cambrian Way Route now Online (George Tod)||17/11/2020|
An online map of the whole of Cambrian Way Route with 21 Stages and Optional Variants is now available at Full O.S. Map. This initially shows the whole of the route with numbered Marker Flags at the start of each stage and other markers that can be clicked to show which of the options they point to.
The map can be zoomed in or out by the + or - buttons at the top left and dragged to re-centre the map to the desired position.
30/01/2021 - The map has now been updated to include mileage markers along the route, location of checkpoints and clearer marking of the route.
|40. Addition of what3words to Locations shown on Website (George Tod)||27/10/2019|
what3words is simply a human friendly coordinate system. It is a layer that sits on top of latitude and longitude and allows everyone, everywhere, across all platforms, analogue and digital, to easily communicate their precise location. Instead of long sets of latitude and longitude numbers or Ordnance Survey grid references it gives every 3m square in the world a three word address. These appear to be random but by looking them up via a link to their website it will show the exact location on a choice of zoomable maps or satellite imagery. An app is available for free download and this can be used to guide you to the location by GPS using suitable software on your phone or to generate three words for your current location so that you can pass it on to others. It is now being used by a number of organisations including the emergency services, as it is easier to communicate three words than a string of numbers.
We are starting to use this on the website for such things as the location of accommodation and will gradually extend this to any other things that currently use grid references though the grid references will still be retained for use with O.S, maps. A start has been made on entries for Youth Hostels as the YHA website now shows them.
This is an example for Cardiff Central Youth Hostel. /// sober.staple.await Click the button to be taken to the exact 3m square on a map (zoom out to se the surrounding area).
|39. Stage 14 Route near Cribin Fawr Clarification (George Tod)||27/10/2019|
A walker has reported difficulty finding the correct route near Cribin Fawr between Craig Portas and Waun-oer. Although the description in the Cicerone guide is correct, if you are walking without 1:25,000 or GPS it may not be clear about where the fence is crossed and which way to go having crossed it, as boundary fences are not shown on the 1:50,000 maps in the guide. His problem was that he didn't swing round to the left before meeting the fence and was confused when the fence was a different one from the one he had been following earlier. He then turned back and attempted to go via the forest but had to go further down the hillside to get around the trees and then reached dangerously steep slopes in places making it very difficult. The map below illustrates this more clearly.
The Cambrian Way route takes the path that is close to the steep edge as it gives better views over the valley below but then requires the fence to be crossed to avoid the path blocked by overgrown trees. If preferred, the alternative route shown on the map can be taken by not crossing the fence near Craig Portas and following the broad ridge towards Cribin Fawr. This leads to stiles at the junction of fences where the northern side can be reached for the descent westwards towards Waun-oer.
|38. O.S. 1:25,000 maps of the route available for download (George Tod)||15/07/2019|
To mark the launch of the new Cicerone guidebook, a set of maps has been made available for free download. Ramblers have kindly agreed to cover the cost of the O.S. licence for these for the present time. They cover the 22 stages shown in the new guidebook plus the major alternative routes and consist of an MS Word document file (.doc) for each of the stages with a set of A4 map sections that can be printed.
Go to Free Download on Guidebook page
|37. New Cicerone Guidebook Available from 15/07/2019 (George Tod)||15/06/2019|
|The new Cambrian Way guidebook published by Cicerone will be avaiable from 15/07/2019 with a cover price of £14.95. Prior to that, copies can be pre-ordered from their website at a discounted price including free UK delivery. After 15/07/2019 the A.J. Drake guidebook will no longer be available to order.|
|36. Cambrian Way Trail Marking gets started in Torfaen (Oliver Wicks)||22/06/2018
Ramblers Walking Spaces Officer (Wales) Oliver Wicks went out with one of the Torfaen Council Rangers to put up trail markers from Pontypool to Blaenavon, starting off the process of Trail Marking the whole route. Until now, the only markers have been a few that Tony Drake erected himself: one near Commins Coch (now disappeared) and a few others on the way to Strata Florida. The new circular markers have the Welsh Hat Logo with 'Taith Cambria' and 'Cambrian Way' surrounding it and they are usually being placed alongside existing waymarks. In keeping with other mountain trails, they will not be used over the mountains themselves but in the lower lying areas between. There will be some changes from the route shown in Edition 7 of the A.J. Drake guidebook where a number of suggested improvements have been incorporated in preparation for a new guidebook to be published by Cicerone in July 2019. GPX files of these will be made available on the website when they are finalised.
Update: Trail Marking is now well under way in many areas (20/01/2019)
Update: Trail Marking is now almost completed in the Brecon Beacons National Park area (10/07/2019).
Update: Please note that the level of waymarking is not as comprehensive as that on a National Trail with markers only at key points. It was initially intended that the Welsh Hat Logo on markers would point in the direction of the route but instead they have been placed vertically and rely on nearby footpath waymarks to show the route direction where possible. Despite theses limitations, however, they do give reassurance to walkers that they are on the correct route. Unfortunately the route is not currently shown on O.S. maps as this requires all local authorities on the entire route to guarantee to support the maintenance and waymarking of the route and this has not currently been achieved, though it is possible that it may be achieved in the future (06/10/2019).
Cambrian Way Home Page - Useful Links
|Links to - Organisations offering Advice, Accommodation, Activities etc.|
|Useful Cambrian Way Links - Accommodation Providers|
Tel. 0870 770 8868
(Wales Tourist Board)
|Useful Cambrian Way Links - Walking Organisations|
Head Office including membership Tel. 020 7339 8500
Tel. 02920 646890
Comprehensive details of most UK walks
|Useful Cambrian Way Links - Walking Holidays|
Walking Holidays and Luggage Transfer
Guided walks Abergavenny to Llandovery based at Brecon House
Guided and Self-guided Walking Holidays in Wales
|Useful Cambrian Way Links - Other Walks near Cambrian Way|
Close to the Cambrian Way in the Black Mountains near Capel-y-ffin
Crosses the Cambrian Way at Beddgelert and Ogden
|Useful Cambrian Way Links - National Parks - Activites and Amenities|
Walks, Events, Footpath Problems
Activities, Conservation, Planning, Study, Jobs
|Useful Cambrian Way Links - Other Environmental & Mountain Safety Organisations|
Weather Conditions & Mountain Safety in Wales
Conservation Work and Volunteers
Environmental Protection in Mid-Wales
Development Initiatives in the Cambrian Mountains
Wilderness First Aid Basics
|Useful Cambrian Way Links - Ordnance Survey Maps|
Cambrian Way Home Page - Personal Accounts
|Personal Accounts - of Walking the Cambrian Way|
Four diaries of the walk by George Tod
Includes Video of Snowdon Ascent
Walking the Cambrian Way 2008
Cambrian Way - An 11 Day Schedule
Cambrian Way Revisited - An 18 Day Schedule
Cambrian Way from 2013 to 2015
Cambrian Way - A 32 Day Schedule
Cambrian Way 2013 & 2014, Backpacking
Cambrian Way 2021
Cambrian Way 2021
21 days - mainly Camping
Cambrian Way 2021
Part 1 - 14 days - mainly B&B
Cambrian Way Home Page - Walk Completions
|Cambrian Way Completions - They Made it to Conwy!|
Extracts from postcards of Conwy Castle which Tony Drake received and more recent comments sent by Email.
Please now send comments by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
'What a fantastic walk on the Cambrian Way - thanks.' - Nigel Phillips
'A wet but enjoyable walk. Thanks for the fantastic route, truly a mountain connoisseur's dream come true, especially practising navigation in mist on virtually half the mountain ranges, unfortunately. Definitely one to recommend.' - Jackie the goat
'I finished it. It was really good fun. Rhinogau were tough.' - Janet Street Porter
'A wonderful way to see Wales.' - Anne Alderson
'Until now managed to find the right track. Only just now missed top of Conwy Mt. Thanks for the practical guide.' - Anne-Marie, Belgium
'Truly splendid route - thank you very much - excellent wild camping plus campsites YH, & B&B. It is certainly a tough route if cloud is down and it's wet, windy and cold.
'Thanks for devising the route. It has give us many hours of pleasure (not to mention the pain) !' - Bronwen, Noel and Rod Williams
'Congratulations to you for devising such an interesting and challenging walk through parts of Wales which were certainly new to us, and will visit again. Fortunately we were blessed with excellent weather, which made the walk possible. Our major problem was of course the Rhinogau which were somewhat excessive.' - Michael Ewelt
'Excellent walk, done in adverse weather for much of the way: nevertheless we visited every checkpoint and kept to schedule.' - F. Tennent
'It has taken us + 2 children 4 summer holidays to complete. Thank you for devising such a varied and scenic route.' - Jill and Mike Adams
'A fantastic trip in all weathers - thanks.' - Robbie Brookes (Glos.)
'Holland certainly is flatter." - B. & F. van Mock
'Have just completed Cambrian Way in 20 days. Congratulations on putting together such a magnificent route taking in some of the finest mountain scenery in Wales, although it has been hard going in places it has been worth the effort.' - George Tod (see website account of doing the walk four times. www.gtleisure.co.uk/walks/walkindex.htm)
'We made it ! Congratulations on a wonderful route. Hope to do it all in one next time.' - J & S. Dodwell, Cheltenham
'Completed Cambrian Way today. What a challenge ! Letter to follow.' - Jos (62) & Jenny (61)
'Cambrian Way Completed, 10/08/2014 in just over three separate one week stages. An amazing adventure over wonderful mountain scenery. Many thanks to those involved in the original development of the walk and to George Tod for continuing to oversee the official website. Fantastic!' - Malcolm Griffiths(63), Macclesfield
'Brilliant experience all round, wonderful route and a proper challenge, only sad that more people don't take it on.' - Matthew Hand, Rhandirmwyn (read account of walk)
'Finished the Cambrian Way in July, doing five days from middle of the Rhinogau and staying at Youth Hostels. What a wonderful experience which has stretched over two years. One of the best walks I have done over the last 50 years. It is a tough one needing a lot of stamina and good route finding skills. Not for the faint hearted. A real Challenge. Great Website too! - Richard Tyler, Cambrian Way Trust
'Finished the Northern Section of the Cambrian Way on Saturday 9th June. Completed the Southern and Central Section in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Great Challenging walk and we really enjoyed it although my right big toe nail is about to come off due to repeated stubbing in the Rhinogau!' - Steve Swann & Dave Morrison (Macclesfield)
'With some trepidation I set off to complete the way in one trip, intending to camp as I went and completing in one go. In the end it took four trips and 18 days to complete. I left the tent at home for the last 2 days due to the risk of heat stroke. The work of knowledgeable people, lovingly plotted, faint at times, it shows the best of Wales' uplands!' - Neale Bland
'Following in our fathers footsteps we discovered the beauty of Wales by walking the Cambrian Way in three annual visits, with the great help of George Tod's extremely useful website. A wonderful and sometimes painful adventure and quite a challenge since we had no prior experience at all.' - Maarten van Buuren & Thomas van Buuren, The Netherlands
Cambrian Way Home Page - Contacting Cambrian Way Trust
|Contacting Us - The Cambrian Way Trust and Webmaster|
Please Note: Tony Drake passed away aged 89 on 7th March 2012 - View his Obituary.
At last, four years after Tony Drake's death, the Cambrian Way Trust was formed to manage publication and updates to the Cambrian Way Guidebook and Website as bequested in Tony Drake's will. The Trustees are:
- Richard Tyler (Chairman)
- Jess Tyler (Secretary)
- Geoffrey Williams (Treasurer)
- George Tod (Website and Guidebook)
- Will Renwick (Social Media)
Reports from readers who walk the Cambrian Way as to where they have stayed or camped and any difficulties encountered would still be greatly appreciated, as it is not possible to spend as much time as Tony did on checking out sections of the route.
Any correspondence to the e-mail address below will be forwarded automatically to the Trustees. Whoever is best able to address your feedback or query will respond as soon as possible.
Feedback on Website
For any problems encountered with the website or any other comments regarding its construction, please contact the webmaster George Tod at: