The Arch, near Aberystwyth

What's here

The car park, trails and surrounding woodland will be closed from 5pm Friday 12th April and all day Saturday 13th April. Go to our map of places to visit to find another woodland or National Nature Reserve to visit.

Welcome

The Arch car park and picnic area is named after a spectacular old masonry arch which sits by the side of the road and was once the gateway to the nearby Hafod Estate.

The three short walking trails all lead through huge beech trees planted over 200 years ago by Thomas Johnes who designed the Hafod mansion and grounds.

The viewpoint from the Panorama Walk has far-reaching views.

There are picnic tables on the grassy slope by the car park overlooking the arch.

The arch was built in 1810 to mark the Golden Jubilee of King George III and the road used to run through it!

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Ancient Beech Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: ½ mile/0.7 kilometres
  • Time: ¾ hour
  • Trail information: A moderate walk with one steep climb. The surface is generally good but may be wet in places. Walking shoes with a good grip recommended. You need a reasonable level of fitness for this walk.

See huge 200 year-old beech trees planted by Hafod Estate designer, Thomas Johnes, on this short trail.

Arch Woodland Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile/1.5 kilometres
  • Climb: 65 feet/20 metres
  • Trail information: A moderate walk with one steep climb. The surface is generally good but may be wet in places. Walking shoes with a good grip recommended. You need a reasonable level of fitness for this walk.

The Arch Woodland Trail winds its way uphill, passing through several areas of broadleaved trees.

It has views to the surrounding hills, especially in the areas where trees have been felled recently.

Panorama Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1¼ miles/2.1 kilometres
  • Time: 1¼ hours
  • Trail information: A moderate walk with a long climb and steep descent. The surface will be rough and possibly wet in places. Walking shoes with a good grip recommended. You need a good level of fitness for this walk.

After a short but steep climb through heather and bilberry, you’ll reach the viewpoint with bench and panoramic views over the surrounding hills - on a clear day you can see Cadair Idris many miles away in Snowdonia National Park.

The trail continues down a steep slope and returns to the car park through areas of huge beech trees.

The Cambrian Way

This long distance trail crosses some of the highest and wildest parts of Wales on its journey from the coast at Cardiff to Conwy.

The section between Cwmystwyth and Devil's Bridge goes through the woodland here.

Find out more about The Cambrian Way.

Dark Sky Discovery Site

The Arch has been designated as a Dark Sky Discovery Site as it is one of the best local places to see the stars.

It is located in the Cambrian Mountains which have some of the darkest night skies in Europe.

Dark Sky Discovery Sites are places that:

  • are away from the worst of any local light pollution
  • provide good sightlines of the sky
  • have good public access, including firm ground for wheelchairs, and are generally freely accessible at all times

Get tips for enjoying the night sky on the UK Dark Sky Discovery Partnership website

Photo: Dafydd Wyn Morgan

National Forest for Wales

The Arch forms part of the National Forest for Wales.

The National Forest will:

  • create areas of new woodland
  • enhance existing woodlands
  • restore Wales’ irreplaceable ancient woodlands

It will form a connected ecological network running throughout Wales, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits.

Parts of the network will eventually form a trail running the length and breadth of Wales, so anyone can access it wherever they live.

For more information go to the National Forest for Wales website.

Visiting safely

We want you to return home safely after your visit here.

You are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of any children and animals with you during your visit.

For advice and tips to help you plan your visit here go to Visiting our places safely.

Changes to visitor facilities

See the top of this webpage for details of any planned closures or other changes to visitor facilities here.

For your safety, always follow instructions from staff and signs including those for trail diversions or closures.

We may divert or close trails whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations and we may need to close other visitor facilities temporarily.

In extreme weather, we may close facilities at short notice due to the risk of injury to visitors and staff.

How to get here

Location

The Arch car park is 13 miles south east of Aberystwyth.

It is in the county of Ceredigion.

Ordnance Survey map

The Arch is on Ordnance Survey (OS) Explorer map 213.

The OS grid reference is SN 765 756.

Directions

Take the A4120 from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge, then follow the B4574 for Cwmystwyth.

After 2 miles, pass a stone arch and the car park is on the left.

Public transport

For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.

Parking

Parking is free of charge.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Contact details

There are no staff at this location.

Contact our customer team for general enquiries during office hours, Monday to Friday.

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