Fairy Glen - Betws-y-Coed

By Dan | Jun 28th, 2020 - 8:21pm

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At a glance

Key stats

Difficulty icon Difficulty: Intermediate
Distance icon Distance: 0.5 miles
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This is a point-to-point route, so the distance assumes you will retrace your footsteps

Brief Overview

This walk begins as an easy stroll through woodland before you arrive at the stairs to the Glen itself. The stairs are the only real challenge, very slippery when wet and steep in parts - you may need to use your hands in parts to descend safely.

Navigation

Navigate to: Fairy Glen, Betws-y-Coed, LL24 0SL
Latitude/Longitude: 53.075179, -3.794559
what3words: darker.punch.hardback

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Difficulty

Difficulty Icon

A rough estimate of difficulty, this does not factor in distance and is only based on the conditions of the route followed. A 20 mile walk on paved roads will be marked as beginner, whereas a 1 mile scramble up a mountain will be Advanced/Expert. Please consider both distance and difficulty when choosing a walk.

Beginner

Clearly marked routes that are easy going with smooth surfaces, little to no inclines or declines. Should be accessible to all.

Intermediate

May include some minor sections of uphill or downhill that could be a little challenging. Some surfaces may be loose or otherwise be difficult to pass. The vast majority of people should be able to tackle this walk, but good hiking shoes are absolutely recommended.

Advanced

Walks may be almost completely comprised of difficult terrain, be it up/downhill or difficult surfaces that are slippery or muddy. Some may struggle on this walk, hiking shoes and possibly hiking sticks are a must.

Expert

A very difficult walk, may require scrambling or climbing in parts. Appropriate preparation should be made before attempting these walks, as they may require additional equipment. These are very much for experienced walkers only and it may be worth having a guide who knows the area with you.


Length

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A rounded estimation for the distance of the route shown, remember to factor in the return journey! Obviously, circular routes will end with you where you started, but any point-to-point walks have been doubled assuming you are going to retrace your footsteps. If the articles includes any suggestions for extra walks they will not be included in this value.


Route

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The map displays a downloadable .GPX file that can be used in Satellite Navigation devices or apps. Walks shown will typically be the simplest route described in the article. Routes are for reference only, always remain on paths and be aware of your surroundings.


Navigation

We offer links to either copy or navigate to the destination, the navigate link should work on most modern platforms (If all else fails you can manually copy the text above the buttons!). It is recommended you use Latitude/Longitude rather than address whenever possible as it will be much more accurate and consistent across different navigation tools, but we understand that sometimes address is the only supported option so we include that too where applicable. Unfortunately, if your destination is in the middle of the countryside you may struggle to navigate by address.



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Just a stone's throw south from the town of Betws-y-Coed, this sensational spot sees you delving deep into a sheer gorge where once you reach the bottom you find yourself in a place of wonderment and serenity. One gorgeous location formed by a lazy river carving its way between the harsh stone to form the rough walls around you. Easy to access via a private car park just off a major route through Snowdonia, this is a quick walk with a mildly challenging descent that is well worth tackling if you ever find yourself in the area! Pack some grippy shoes and delve into a spot of pure bliss and magic...

Arriving at Fairy Glen is easy as long as you know what to look for. Travellers who are used to exploring around Snowdonia are more than experienced with the A470, the road that winds its way north from Dolgellau, through many little towns including the impressive slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog before arriving at our destination, just before merging with the A5 at Betws-y-Coed. Depending on the speed of the approach and the direction you arrive from the turning for Fairy Glen can be difficult to spot, with those travelling from the south having the bridge for reference, those coming from the north will want to use the hotel building as a landmark, the turning will be just after the building itself but do not turn on to the hotel's car park, head straight up the lane. Your turning point is here, check out Google's Street View so you're well prepared for the journey. Turn up the lane past the hotel and head to the designated car park; be sure to pay the toll at the honesty box when you arrive!

This walk is a nice and short one, starting with an effortless trek via the paths between farmers fields and through trees. Initially, the walk should offer not much in the way of a challenge but you cannot complain about the beautiful surroundings, hopefully with the added bonus of a skittish greeting from the local sheep (we visited on a gloriously sunny day where the sheep were sleeping in the slithers of shade available, and as we approached we damn near scared the fleece off of them!). Once you reach the descent down the stairs the walk unquestionably becomes a bit more strenuous, but if you take your time this should not stop the vast majority of walkers. The stairs themselves are very roughly cut into the side of the gorge, varying massively in size and uniformity so try to find your footing on one step before tackling the next. The issue can be further exacerbated if you are visiting in wet weather, as the stone will become slick and treacherous so do take care and make sure your shoes are up to the job - get your hands down to help you if you need it. I feel I am overselling the difficulty of the descent a little bit, but I would rather over-hype it so you can come away feeling you worried for nothing.

Wet stones and puddles



Once at the bottom the majority of the ground is uneven and sometimes loose stone but nothing that should cause you too much bother, with the photo above being an example of the worst of it. Tread carefully and make sure you have good footing as you go around - those mossy stones can really catch you out! Hopefully, the views more than compensate for any difficulty faced on the way down...

The view upstream

Hopefully, once you have overcome the trials of the descent, you have this spot all to yourself because it cannot be overstated just how peaceful Fairy Glen can feel and that is really emphasised if you are alone here. The rugged and sheer faces of the gorge combined with the sound of rushing water and birds merrily singing is one to cherish. The area around the river is full of small rock pools and channels that the river rushes into - this entire area is interesting to explore around to see what you find. You are a little trapped off by difficult terrain here and you may struggle to move beyond the bend in the river, but looking upstream from anywhere at the bottom, you will have a beautiful view of the main attraction at Fairy Glen. This narrow channel through which the river rushes its way through has been a favourite of many a photographer, with my particular highlights either being in the height of summer or late evening/sunset when there is a golden hue to the sky and that magic feeling truly starts to shine. Get your camera mounted on a tripod, lower your shutter as lazy as it will go and capture those silken waves in all of their glory!

Water wisping between rocks - slow shutter goodness

All you need do now is retrace your steps back up the side, follow the paths to the car park and you will have seen the main attraction of Fairy Glen. One quick stop off on your way through Snowdonia national park that is well worth the small time investment, and your reward is a charming scene full of mysticism that you will likely be able to enjoy in solitude. I always like to draw attention to smaller spots like this, because some of my favourite things to do when travelling involves chaining together half hour landmarks into a full day's travel - combine this with some of the other local attractions, such as Swallow Falls, Dolwyddelan castle or the town of Betws-y-Coed itself, and you can tack on an extra little bit of excitement in between your massive adventures! Or make a day of the area, being so central to Snowdonia means there is plenty to see and do here, pick a public footpath and branch out - who knows what you may find down those hidden pathways...

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