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Pont y Pair, Betws-y-Coed

A choice of peaceful forest walks away from the tourist bustle

Two people with a dog look over a lake at Pont y Pair

What's here

Dogs welcome
Orienteering route
Parking (charge)
Walking trail
Due to ongoing engineering work on several reservoirs in Gwydir Forest, there is an increase in heavy traffic on some of the forest roads.


Gwydir Forest Park

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.

Since Victorian times, generations of visitors have walked the woodland paths and fished the clear waters of the rivers here.

Today, waymarked walking trails allow visitors to explore this landscape of lakes, forests and mountains and to learn about its mining history.

There is also a mountain bike trail (which is graded red as it is only suitable for proficient riders), a forest garden and a waymarked walk to the famous Swallow Falls.

History of Gwydir Forest

Between 1850 and 1919, lead and zinc mining dominated the area. The legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.

Nearly all of the lakes in the forest were created to serve the mines.

Several of the most important mines have been partially restored and made safe for visitors.

Nowadays, as you explore the extensive, rolling upland of wooded knolls, lakes and pastures, you will find it difficult to imagine that this was once a derelict industrial landscape.

Visiting Gwydir Forest Park

Gwydir Forest Park covers an area of over 72 square kilometres (28 square miles) and it encircles the village of Betws-y-Coed.

Waymarked walks start from the following parts of Gwydir Forest Park:

The Marin Trail, a red graded mountain bike trail with big climbs and singletrack only descents, starts from Sawbench.

Pont y Pair 

Pont y Pair is in the centre of Betws-y-Coed, one of the most popular villages in the Snowdonia National Park.

Much of Betws-y-Coed was built in Victorian times and Gwydir Forest Park encircles this pretty village.

Walking trails from Betws-y-Coed

There is an easy boardwalk and footpath from the Pont y Pair car park in the centre of the village through some of the giant Douglas fir trees, planted in the 1920s, and along the banks of the Afon Llugwy.

There are also four waymarked trails from Betws-y-Coed which go up into the peaceful forested hillsides that surround the village.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Walking trails

All of the walking trails are waymarked from the Pont y Pair car park (apart from the Llyn Elsi Trail).

The Llyn Elsi Trail starts behind St Mary’s Church.

Coed Tan Dinas Trail

½ mile, 0.6 kilometres

Follow the boardwalk and wide path alongside the river on this short walk through very tall trees. Look at the majestic Douglas fir trees which are up to 100 years old.

Cyrau Trail

1.4 miles, 2.4 kilometres

The Cyrau Trail climbs through some majestic Douglas firs to give a stunning view over Betws-y-Coed. The path returns to the village along an avenue-like forest road with trees growing either side. Download more info about the trail.

Pen yr Allt Trail

4.3 miles, 7 kilometres

The Pen yr Allt Trail is a circular route through shady fir forests and upland meadows.  The path passes abandoned mines and offers breathtaking views of the ever dominant Moel Siabod and the Conwy Valley. It returns along the River Llugwy (if there has been a lot of rain, the river may flood part of this path and you should follow the diversion).

Llyn Parc Trail

6 miles, 10 kilometres 

The Llyn Parc Trail sets off along an old miners' path and goes past the ruins of Aberllyn Mine. After reaching the lake, it continues along the shore before passing a small waterfall on its way back to the village.

Llyn Elsi Trail

4 miles, 6.2 kilometres  

The Llyn Elsi Trail starts on the forest road behind St Mary’s Church in Betws-y-Coed. Follows this road to woodland where the route is then waymarked to Llyn Elsi. The path goes around the lake with views of the island that supports nesting seagulls and geese.

Animal puzzle trail

A woodland trail for budding detectives. Download more info about the trail.

Orienteering in Gwydir Forest Park

Test your map-reading skills by navigating between wooden marker posts on one of the two permanent orienteering courses in Gwydir Forest Park.

Both courses begin just outside Betws-y-Coed and finish in the centre of the village.

More information about orienteering in Gwydir Forest Park

How to get here

Pont y Pair is in the centre of the village of Betws-y-Coed which is at the junction of the A5 and the A470.

Pont y Pair car park is operated by Conwy County Borough Council. There is a parking charge.


Pont y Pair car park is at the junction of the B5106 and the A5 in Betws y Coed over a narrow bridge.

Ordnance Survey map

Pont y Pair is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 791 567.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Betws y Coed. For details of public transport visit

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000



Related document downloads

Cyrau Walk guide PDF [292.9 KB]
Pen yr Allt Walk guide PDF [1.6 MB]
Llyn Parc Walk guide PDF [614.6 KB]
Llyn Elsi Walk guide PDF [430.5 KB]

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