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Photo: Rhinog Fach and Rhinog Fawr from Y Llethr      

Guidebook of the Cambrian Way

Walking The Cambrian Way - published by Cicerone July 2019

Cicerone Guide

The guide is now available through bookshops and online retailers with a cover price of £14.95. Orders can be placed on the Cicerone website at a discounted price with free UK delivery (£2 delivery to Europe, £3 Worldwide) at:

This guide is a complete rewrite of the original guide and is published by Cicerone who are renowned throughout the world for their guide books of walks, paticularly mountain walks. The guide is written as a step by step description of the route stages and alternatives and is illustrated with sections of 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps in full colour, as well as photographs and a great deal of practical information and historical facts about Wales, its language, culture and geology.

Before producing this guide, volunteer groups from Ramblers Cymru surveyed all of the route and, in the process of doing so, made a number of changes. These include avoiding some sections of road walking or taking more scenic or interesting paths in places. At the same time some of the optional routes for accommodation have been modified to reflect the current availability of facilities.

What will happen to the Current Guidebook?

Our agreement with Cicerone does not allow continued publication of the current A.J. Drake guide so, as the already depleted stocks run out, no more will be printed, though there may still be some available through book sellers who have remaining stock.

Although the information on this website will be aimed to complement the new guidebook, it is our intention to continue to give support to those with copies of the A.J Drake guide. Hence the News Items and Downloads will still be available under A.J.Drake Updates on the History page in addition to those that are available for the Cicerone guide under Cambrian Way News on the Home page.

Updates to the Cicerone Guide and GPX files - where to find them

Updates to the new guide will be posted under the main Cambrian Way News on the Home page. Updates relating to the A.J. Drake guide are listed under A.J.Drake Updates on the History page.

GPX files for the Cicerone Route (New Route) are available below and GPX files for the A.J. Drake guides are available from GPX Files (Old Route) on the History page.

Cambrian Way Guide - GPX files for Cicerone Route (New Route)

GPX files for Cicerone Route - download GPX files

These files correspond to Cicerone guidebook. There have been a number of route changes since the previous guidebook and any Cambrian Way trail marking encountered reflects these new routes. The Stages correspond to the Stages in the Cicerone guidebook rather than the arbitrary 'Sections' that were used for the old guidebook.

Walking time is given using Naismith's Rule of 3mph plus 30mins per 1000ft of ascent. The second figure is for 2.5mph plus 45mins per 1000ft of ascent, which is more likely with a heavy pack and/or rough terrain. Rest breaks are not included in these. This is not an exact science and measurements have been rounded off.

The following files can be downloaded and imported into the Ordnance Survey's OS Maps Service or into any other mapping software or GPS unit that supports this format. To download these files, just click each link. Internet Explorer may offer options to Open or Save but other browsers may just save the file. Files are normally saved in your Downloads folder unless another folder has been selected.

GPX Files for Cicerone Guidebook
Stage No. Route Download File (.gpx) Updated
1 Cardiff to Machen CW Stage 1 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 15.2ml (24.4km) - Total Ascent: 1570ft (480m) - Total Descent: 1440ft (440m) - Time: 6-7¼hr
2 Machen - Pontypool CW Stage 2 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 11.6ml (18.7km) - Total Ascent: 2720ft (830m) - Total Descent: 2520ft (770m) - Time: 5¾-6¾hr
3 Pontypool - Abergavenny CW Stage 3 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 12.3ml (19.8km) - Total Ascent: 1890ft (580m) - Total Descent: 2080ft (640m) - Time: 5-6¼hr
3A Gentler Descent of Blorenge CW Stage 3A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Optional Route
Distance: 1.6ml (2.6km) - Total Ascent: 170ft (50m) - Total Descent: 800ft (240m) - Time: ½-¾hr
4 Abergavenny - Capel-y-ffin CW Stage 4 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 13.3ml (21.4km) - Total Ascent: 3700ft (1130m) - Total Descent: 2850ft (870m) - Time: 6¼-8hr
4A Bal Bach - Llanthony - Capel-y-ffin CW Stage 4A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Llanthony
Distance: 4.7ml (7.6km) - Total Ascent: 620ft (190m) - Total Descent: 1250ft (380m) - Time: 2-2¼hr
5 Capel-y-ffin - Crickhowell CW Stage 5 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 16.5ml (26.5km) - Total Ascent: 3110ft (950m) - Total Descent: 3860ft (1180m) - Time: 7-9hr
5A Y Das - Pengenffordd - Pen y Manllwyn CW Stage 5A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Pengenffordd
To Pengenffordd: Distance: 3.2ml (5.2km) - Total Ascent: 230ft (70m) - Total Descent: 1450ft (440m) - Time: 1¼-1½hr
From Pengenffordd: Distance: 2.8ml (4.4km) - Total Ascent:  1580ft (480m) - Total Descent: 130ft (40m) - Time: 1¾;-2¼hr
6 Crickhowell - Storey Arms CW Stage 6 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 20.8ml (33.5km) - Total Ascent: 5630ft (1720m) - Total Descent: 4490ft 1370m) - Time: 9¾-12½hr
6A Blaen-dyffryn Crawnon - Talybont on Usk - Craig Chwareli CW Stage 6A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Talybont on Usk
To Talybont: Distance: 5.6ml (9km) - Total Ascent: 400ft (120m) - Total Descent: 1450ft (440m) - Time: 2-2½hr
From Talybont: Distance: 5.8ml (9.4km) - Total Ascent: 2660ft (810m) - Total Descent: 720ft (220m) - Time: 3-4hr
6B Blaen-dyffryn Crawnon - Danywenallt - Craig Chwareli CW Stage 6B GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Danywenallt
To Danywenallt: Distance: 4.1ml (6.7km) - Total Ascent: 330ft (100m) - Total Descent: 1190ft (360m) - Time: 1½-2hr
From Danywenallt: Distance: 5.6ml (8.9km) - Total Ascent: 2460ft (750m) - Total Descent: 710ft (220m) - Time: 3¼-4¼hr
6C Blaen-dyffryn Crawnon - Abercynafon - Torpantau Pass CW Stage 6C GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Abercynafon
To Abercynafon: Distance: 3.5ml (5.6km) - Total Ascent: 360ft (110m) - Total Descent: 1110ft (340m) - Time: 1¾-2½hr
From Abercynafon: Distance: 2.1ml (3.4km) - Total Ascent: 940ft (290m) - Total Descent: 40ft (10m) - Time: 1½-1¾hr
7 Storey Arms - Glyntawe CW Stage 7 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance:11.8ml (18.9km) - Total Ascent: 2250ft (690m) - Total Descent: 3040ft (930m) - Time: 5-6¼hr
7A Storey Arms - Brecon YH - Rhos Dringarth CW Stage 7A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Brecon YH
To Brecon YH: Distance: 1.7ml (2.8km) - Total Ascent: 110ft (30m) - Total Descent: 560ft (170m) - Time: 2-2¼hr
From Brecon YH: Distance: 2.3ml (3.6km) - Total Ascent: 1020ft (310m) - Total Descent: 40ft (10m) - Time: 1¼-1¾hr
7B Fan Gyhirych - Bwlch Giedd CW Stage 7B GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Direct Route Omitting Glyntawe
Distance: 4.4ml (7.1km) - Total Ascent: 1720ft (520m) - Total Descent: 1730ft (530m) - Time: 2¼-3hr
8 Glyntawe - Llandovery CW Stage 8 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 18.4ml (29.7km) - Total Ascent: 4460ft (1360m) - Total Descent: 4930ft (1500m) - Time: 8¼-10¾hr
8A Llyn y Fan Fach - Llanddeusant CW Stage 8A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Low Level Road Route to Llanddeusant
Distance: 2.5ml (4.1km) - Total Ascent: 40ft (10m) - Total Descent: 1240ft (380m) - Time: ¾-1hr
9 Llandovery - Ty'n-y-cornel CW Stage 9 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 16.1ml (26km) - Total Ascent: 2850ft (870m) - Total Descent: 2030ft (620m) - Time: 6¾-8½hr
9A Nant Lluest-fach - Soar  y Mynydd - Nantymaen Junction CW Stage 9A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Road Option avoiding Boggy Moor
Distance: 5.5ml (8.9km) - Total Ascent: 1270ft (390m) - Total Descent: 830ft (250m) - Time: 2½-3¼hr
10 Ty'n-y-cornel to Claerddu CW Stage 10 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 14.6ml (23.4km) - Total Ascent: 2700ft (820m) - Total Descent: 2250ft (690m) - Time: 6¼-7¾hr
10A Garn Gron - Pontrhydfendigaid - Strata Florida CW Stage 10A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Pontrhydfendigaid
To Pontrhydfendigaid: Distance: 3.7ml (6km) - Total Ascent: 180ft (50m) - Total Descent: 1360ft (420m) - Time: ¾-1¼hr
From Pontrhydfendigaid: Distance: 2.3ml (3.6km) - Total Ascent: 1020ft (310m) - Total Descent: 40ft (10m) - Time: 1¼-1¾hr
11 Claerddu to Ponterwyd CW Stage 11 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 14.8ml (23.9km) - Total Ascent: 2970ft (910m) - Total Descent: 3740ft (1140m) - Time: 6½-8¼hr
12 Ponterwyd to Dylife CW Stage 12 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 14.8ml (23.7km) - Total Ascent: 1330ft (920m) - Total Descent: 2550ft (780m) - Time: 6½-8¼hr
13 Dylife to Dinas Mawddwy CW Stage 13 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 23ml (37km) - Total Ascent: 4820ft (1470m) - Total Descent: 5720ft (1740m) - Time: 10-12¾hr
13A Commins Coch - Cemmaes - Wind Farm CW Stage 13A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Cemmaes
To Cemmaes: Distance: 2.1ml (3.4km) - Total Ascent: 390ft (120m) - Total Descent: 510ft (160m) - Time: 1-1¼hr
From Cemmaes: Distance: 2ml (3.2km) - Total Ascent: 1140ft (350m) - Total Descent: 20ft (10m) - Time: 1¼-1¾hr
14 Dinas Mawddwy to Bwlch Llyn Bach CW Stage 14 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 9.6ml (15.4km) - Total Ascent: 3830ft (1170m) - Total Descent: 3210ft (980m) - Time: 5-6¾hr
15 Bwlch Llyn Bach to Barmouth CW Stage 15 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 12.4ml (19.9km) - Total Ascent: 4080ft (1240m) - Total Descent: 4170ft (1240m) - Time: 5¾-7½hr
15A Bwlch Llyn Bach - Minffordd - Penygadair CW Stage 15A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Minffordd
To Minffordd: Distance: 2.1ml (3.3km) - Total Ascent: 0ft (0m) - Total Descent: 580ft (180m) - Time: 1-1¼hr
From Minffordd: Distance: 2.9ml (4.8km) - Total Ascent: 3000ft (920m) - Total Descent: 420ft (130m) - Time: 2½-½hr
15B Rhiw Gwredydd - Kings YH - Llynnau Cregennen CW Stage 15B GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Kings YH
To Kings: Distance: 2.2ml (3.6km) - Total Ascent: 200ft (60m) - Total Descent: 1740ft (530m) - Time: ¾-1hr
From Kings: Distance: 2.2ml (3.6km) - Total Ascent: 640ft (200m) - Total Descent: 170ft (50m) - Time: 1-1½hr
15C Bwlch Llyn Bach - Gau Graig CW Stage 15C GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Gentler Ascent of Cadair Idris Option
Distance: 2ml (3.2km) - Total Ascent: 1450ft (440m) - Total Descent: 170ft (50m) - Time: 1½-2hr
16 Barmouth to Cwm Bychan CW Stage 16 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 14.1ml (22.8km) - Total Ascent: 5530ft (1680m) - Total Descent: 5000ft (1530m) - Time: 8½-10¾hr (including 1hr extra for difficult terrain)
16B Llyn Hywell - Cwm Nantcol - Road near Moelfryn CW Stage 16B GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Note: Stage 16A no longer exists as it has been renamed as Stage 16/17A to match the Guidebook.
Bad Weather Escape Route
Distance: 7.8ml (12.6km) - Total Ascent: 760ft (230m) - Total Descent: 1890ft (580m) - Time: 3-3¾hr
16/17A Bwlch y Rhiwgyr - Road near Moelfryn CW Stage 16-17A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Rhinog Bad Weather Option via Taith Ardudwy Way
Note: this was previously named Stage 16A but has been renamed as Stage 16/17A to match the Guidebook.
Distance: 17.4ml (28km) - Total Ascent: 2720ft (830m) - Total Descent: 3490ft (1060m) - Time: 7¼-8hr
17 Cwm Bychan to Maentwrog CW Stage 17 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 9.8ml (15.8km) - Total Ascent: 2700ft (820m) - Total Descent: 2230ft (980m) - Time: 5½-7hr (including 1hr extra for difficult terrain)
17B Road near Moelfryn - Trawsfynydd - Bryntirion CW Stage 17B GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Trawsfynydd
To Trawsfynydd: Distance: 2.1ml (3.4km) - Total Ascent: 180ft (50m) - Total Descent: 130ft (40m) - Time: 1-1¼hr
From Trawsfynydd: Distance: 4ml (6.5km) - Total Ascent: 250ft (80m) - Total Descent: 420ft (130m) - Time: 1½-1¾hr
18 Maentwrog to Beddgelert CW Stage 18 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 13.7ml (22km) - Total Ascent: 4390ft (1340m) - Total Descent: 4320ft (1320m) - Time: 7-8¾hr
18A S of Tanygrisiau Reservoir - Tanygrisiau - Llyn Stwlan CW Stage 18A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Tanygrisiau
To Tanygrisiau: Distance: 1.1ml (1.8km) - Total Ascent: 200ft (60m) - Total Descent: 170ft (50m) - Time: ½hr
From Trawsfynydd: Distance: 2.7ml (1.7km) - Total Ascent: 750ft (230m) - Total Descent: 0ft (0m) - Time: 1-1¼hr
19 Beddgelert to Pen y Pass CW Stage 19 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 10.8ml (17.3km) - Total Ascent: 4500ft (1370m) - Total Descent: 3440ft (1050m) - Time: 5¾-7¾ hr
19A E of Bryn Dinas - Bryn Gwynant YH - Clogwyn Melyn CW Stage 19A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Bryn Gwynant YH
To Bryn Gwynant: Distance: 1ml (1.6km) - Total Ascent: 180ft (50m) - Total Descent: 130ft (40m) - Time: ½hr
From Bryn Gwynant: Distance: 1.1ml (1.7km) - Total Ascent: 50ft (10m) - Total Descent: 150ft (50m) - Time: ½hr
20 Pen y Pass to Ogwen CW Stage 20 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 5.4ml (8.6km) - Total Ascent: 2670ft (810m) - Total Descent: 2870ft (870m) - Time: 4-5hr (including 1hr extra for difficult terrain)
20A Bwlch Tryfan - Tryfan Summit - Bwlch Tryfan CW Stage 20A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Tryfan Summit Option
To Tryfan Summit: Distance: 0.4ml (0.7km) - Total Ascent: 600ft (180m) - Total Descent: 20ft (10m) - Time: ½-¾hr (allowing for slow progress)
From Tryfan Summit: Distance: 0.4ml (0.7km) - Total Ascent: 50ft (10m) - Total Descent: 600ft (180m) - Time: ¼-½hr (allowing for slow progress)
21 Ogwen to Conwy CW Stage 21 GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Main Route
Distance: 19.0ml (30.5km) - Total Ascent: 5180ft (1580m) - Total Descent: 6120ft (1870m) - Time: 9-11½hr
21A Tal y Fan Ridge - Rowen YH - near Maen Penddu CW Stage 21A GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Accommodation Option Rowen YH
To Rowen YH: Distance: 1.2ml (1.9km) - Total Ascent: 110ft (30m) - Total Descent: 1130ft (350m) - Time: ½hr
From Rowen YH: Distance: 1ml (1.7km) - Total Ascent: 720ft (220m) - Total Descent: 140ft (40m) - Time: ¾-1;hr
Full Cardiff - Conwy CW Full Route GPS RevC1 01/03/2019
Full Main Route
Distance: 298ml (479km) - Total Ascent: 73,010ft (22,250m) - Total Descent: 73,010ft (22,250m) - Time: 136-174hr
Note: This file is too big for many older devices

Cambrian Way Guide - Free Download of O.S. Maps

O.S. 1:25,000 Maps of Route - free download of A4 sheets

Maps of the Cicerone Route with all its main options are available here for free download (MS Word 1997-2003 format has been used for compatibility with older computers as well as new ones). They consist of a set of A4 O.S. 1:25,000 Map sheets that have been split into three similar sized sections. The image jpeg quality has been reduced somewhat to reduce the size of the download files but the legibility has not suffered too much as a result. The mapping has been enhanced to include Main Route Stage Start Markers, Optional Route Identification Markers, Mileage Markers and Checkpoint Markers as well as a few comments.

These are made available courtesy of Ramblers O.S. Licence but this may not be continued indefinitely depending on cost.

See GPX Files (New Route) for details of Stage distances and walking times.

Download O.S. 1:25,000 Maps for Cicerone Guidebook Route
Download File (.doc) Route: From - To Date
Cardiff to Storey Arms
Stage 1 - 6
Wrong coordinates in
Map 4 corrected
Storey Arms to Mallwyd
Stage 7 - 13
Missing route from
Map 28 corrected
Mallwyd to Conwy
Stage 13 - 21

Cambrian Way Guide - List of Checkpoints

41 Checkpoints + 3 Variants - from Cardiff to Conwy

Checkpoints are notional points devised by Tony Drake to confirm completion of the walk in its entirity. A continuous path from start to finish visiting every checkpoint defines completion of the walk (some have alternatives for optional route variants). These checkpoints are mostly mountain summits though some are there to deter walkers from taking paths that suffer from erosion; others define a preferred route between mountains or a significant landmark. There is nothing visible at any of the checkpoints and they may be visited in any order and over any period of time. Whether walkers want follow this rule is entirely up to themselves but it should be remembered that mountain safety is more important than visiting every checkpoint, especially in bad weather. Even if checkpoints are missed, completion of the walk is still an achievement to be justly proud of.

Note the what3words references (see Help (?) for information about using them) in the blue boxes are considerably more accurate than the O.S. grid references.

List of Cambrian Way Checkpoints
No. Description Location No. Description Location
1 Cardiff Castle ST 180 765
/// tight.


2 Castell Coch ST 131 826
/// supper.


3 Mynydd Machen ST 224 900
/// torches.


4 Twmbarlwm ST 242 926
/// snowy.


5 Blorenge SO 270 119
/// postings.


6 Sugar Loaf SO 272 188
/// sues.


7 Capel-y-ffin SO 255 315
/// typical.


8 Twmpa SO 225 351
/// resting.


9 Waun Fach SO 216 299
/// rosette.


10 Pen Allt-mawr SO 207 243
/// surround.


11 Eglwys Faen SO 193 156
/// motorist.


12 Pen-y-fan SO 012 216
/// fists.


13a Fan Gihirych or SN 881 191
/// solder.


13b Blaen Nedd Isaf Junction SN 908 144
/// lions.


14 Fan Brycheiniog SN 825 218
/// oaks.


15 Rhandirmwyn Bridge SN 767 447
/// muffin.


16 Garn Gron SN 740 610
/// refuse.


17 Domen Milwyn SN 808 720
/// storeroom.


18 Pontbren Pwlca SN 727 782
/// turned.


19 Plynlimon SN 790 869
/// table.


20 Dylife SN 861 940
/// random.


21a Minllyn Quarry or SH853140
/// drill.


21b Dinas Mawddwy SH 859 149
/// devoured.


22 Bwlch Siglen SH 837 137
/// pretty.


23 Cadair Idris SH 711 130
/// handyman.


24 Barmouth Bridge SH 617 156
/// including.


25 Y Llethr SH 661 258
/// ribs.


26 Rhinog Fach SH 665 270
/// really.


27 Rhinog Fawr SH 657 290
/// alpha.


28 Moel Ysgyfarnogod SH 658 346
/// deriving.


29 Moelfryn (road junction) SH 684 358
/// apprehend.


30 Moelwyn Mawr SH 658 449
/// response.


31 Cnicht SH 645 466
/// checked.


32a Pont Aberglaslyn or SH 594 462
/// holds.


32b Bryn Gwynant YH SH 640 514
/// event.


33 Snowdon SH 610 544
/// folders.


34 Glyder Fawr SH 643 579
/// dangerously.


35 Glyder Fach SH 657 583
/// alley.


36 Tal-y-llyn Ogwen SH 666 608
/// width.


37 Carnedd Dafydd SH 663 630
/// hourglass.


38 Carnedd Llewelyn SH 684 644
/// seashell.


39 Tal-y-fan SH 729 726
/// bikes.


40 Conwy Mountain SH 760 778
/// chase.


41 Conwy Castle SH 783 775
/// states.