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Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

Sydney
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Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

Hello again,

Not quite sure this is the best place for this post - and I did also put it up in the Snowdonia forum - but here goes:

Would appreciate advice re. plotting a route from Libanus in the Brecon Beacons National Park to Nant Gwynant (near Penn y Pass) in Snowdonia.

I was thinking of basically sticking to the A470 and taking roads that go through Builth Wells, Rhayader, Llangurig, Llanbrynmair, Dolgellau, continuing inland with the A470 and eventually making my way to Beddgelert.

Google maps has this route as taking just over 3 hours. How accurate would this be for August?

We have no intention of rushing this trip and fully intend on spending most of the day en route.

What would be especially scenic/historical places along this route in which to stop over for a bit of a walk?

Is this a pretty drive? Would you recommend alternative routes?

Any guidance appreciated,

CP

Suffolk, United...
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for Cephalonia
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1. Re: Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

Hi again,

The route you suggest is quite pleasant and the timings are not far out depending on which day of the week, time of day etc. From Rhayder there is a nice diversion to the Elan Valley reservoirs and visitor centre.

http://www.elanvalley.org.uk/

However, I have another suggestion "as I would prefer to be lost in the hills than found in a town".

From Brecon take B4520 then B4519 north to Garth. A483 west for a mile or so to Beulah. Next the unlabelled road west through Abergwesyn to Tregaron. This is a fantastic piece of road through one of the quietest bits of Wales. Have a coffee in Tregaron in the cafe next to the bespoke goldsmith shop then take B4343 to Devil's Bridge perhaps stopping at Strata Florida Abbey

…wales.gov.uk/daysout/stratafloridaabbey/… .

From here take the A44 east to LLangurig wher you can pick up the A470 again although at LLandiloes you could take the B4518 to Tafolwern and the A470 again.

This route will take longer but be more fun!

Bob

Edinburgh, Scotland
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2. Re: Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

Libanus to Pen-y-Pass .. now there's a route that was bound to attract my attention!

But Bob's got there before me. His suggestion is exactly the route I would recommend. It's excellent, a;though it will take a while. Once you are on the B4518, it's also possible to descend to Machynlleth rather than Tafolwern. Either that route, or via the A470, it's possible to pick up the A487 and spend a little time in Tal-y-llyn, and since Pen-y-pass is your ultimate destination, the coast road through Harlech, the curious toll road to Penrhyndeudraeth, and the drive up Aberglaslyn to Beddgelert should round off the day very nicely.

It would be hard to find a better day's driving anywhere, but it will be a longish day even though the distance covered is modest.

Milford, New Jersey
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3. Re: Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

And I too can find no fault with the suggestions already provided (especially Abergwesyn Pass, Strata Florida, etc.). However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that if you still are on the A470 north of Machynlleth you'll drive by Dinas Mawddwy and one of my favorite Welsh road diversions - the Bwlch y Groes Pass.

Taking the minor road along the Afon (River) Dovey, this road climbs until you reach the high point of the pass around 1800 ft (supposedly the highest public road mountain pass in Wales). Not Snowdon of course, but great views from the top on the flanks of the Aran Fawddwy (only a few hundred feet lower than Snowden itself). Continue on down the other side until you reach Llyn Tegid (the largest natural lake in Wales) and Bala. Depending on how late it is - you could head back on the A494 towards the Dolgellau and continue on with John's coastal suggestions - or head north and just cut across to the A5 and approach Llanberis through Betws-y-Coed and the A4086 at Capel Curig (a particularly magnificent view of Snowden from that direction).

Also, if you are in Machynlleth and decide to head north on the A487, I'd strongly recommend a short diversion to Castel-y-Bere - one of the most evocative castle ruins in Wales, in a lonely valley in the shadow of the Cader Idris. Not far from Tal-y-llyn (mentioned above) - take the side road from the village of Abergynolwyn (castle route well marked).

BTW, depending on how much time you're going to spend in Pen y Pass, also make sure you take a look at the next valley north - the Nant Francon Pass. Since it's wider than the Llanberis Pass you get a much better perspective on the mountains from the road - especially Tryfan. Great walks through here as well.

One thing is for sure, you're not going to have any problems finding worthwhile routes in Wales, just great difficulty in selecting which ones to use in your available time!

Enjoy.

Sydney
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4. Re: Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

Many thanks guys. This is fantastic advice! Exactly the type of infomation for which I was looking.

1.) We will have another two days in Snowdonia after we arrive (though one of those days will probably be consumed by climbing Mt. Snowdon, weather permitting) and will try and spend one of those days driving through the western areas of Snowdonia (Harlech etc.) so the idea of including the Dinas Mawddwy - Bala road to your suggested route is appealing.

Would heading from Bala on the A4212 to Trawsfynydd and then making our way north to Beddgelert and 'home' to Nanat Gwynant make the whole journey from Libanus an ordeal in which we do little but drive from morning till dusk or can it be done relatively comfortably with short breaks to take in some of the suggested sites?

2.) The Nant Fracon Pass road from which there are nice views is the A5 north of Capel Curig, right?

I'll probably have more specific questions as our travel plans become more definite.

Again, thanks for your help thus far,

CP

Edinburgh, Scotland
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5. Re: Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

The obvious route along the A470 is about 120 miles according to Google, and, by Welsh standards, it's a fast road on which average speeds of even 40-50 mph are feasible. 3 hours or so of actual driving time, plus stops.

The side-routes we are now discussing add relatively little to the total length - Google reckons only 60 miles all told - but they are almost all on narrow winding roads over hilly terrain. This really drags the average speed down, as 20mph is often a more reasonable pace. If you take all of the minor roads, and depending on your driving style on those minor roads, you could spend as much as 8 hours driving. In fine weather, with a really early start, that would be a glorious and highly memorable day, but in poor weather it would make sense to skip the high-ground sections (most obviously Bwlch-y-Groes - I expect NJXJ would agree - and perhaps heading for Tregaron via Llandovery and Lampeter rather than Beulah). This is one of those things best left to decision on the day.

I don't recall ever driving the road from Bala to Trawsfynydd - Google streetview shows that it's one of the better A roads in mid-Wales and looks like an easy drive that won't add much stress to your journey. It's likely to be more scenic than the stretch of the A5 through Cerrigydrudion. There's also a direct single-track road over the hills from Llanuwchllyn to Trawsfynydd, if Bwlch-y-Groes hasn't sated your appetite for such conditions.

Yes, the classic views of Nant Ffrancon are on the A5 just north of Ogwen Cottage.

6. Re: Route from Libanus to Snowdonia (Pen y Pass area)

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