Ty'n y Groes is a part of Coed-y-Brenin forest park that has a handful of unique walks that offer many beautiful sights with the added perk of often being quieter than the main visitors centre. It is an often overlooked part of this stunning landscape and is a perfect option for someone who wants to walk in peace and quiet. Following the lane into Ty'n Y Groes will take you to the Glasdir Copper Trail; this trail combines all of the best woodland ambiences with a handful of different streams and rivers all framing the remnants of the old copper works. Not only will you find yourself surrounded by a dense canvas of gorgeous greens and the occasional wildflower bloom, but you will get an opportunity to explore some of Wales' industrial history and soak in some spectacular views of the surrounding area. This is an excellent option for walkers who want a fairly easy-going adventure that won't take too long, but also has plenty of optional extra routes should they want a bigger days trip.
Getting to the walk is fairly straightforward, although you will have to deal with Ty'n y Groes narrow approach lane that will require you to be cautious in parts as not only is it often just wide enough for one car, but it also undulates making visibility difficult as you crest small hills. Luckily, passing points are plentiful so don't let this put you off visiting. The entrance to Ty'n y Groes is just off of the A470 and marked by a brown sign, only a stone's throw south from the town of Ganllwyd and a short drive north of Dolgellau. The lane will immediately take you across a narrow bridge and over a cattle-grid with the first car park on your left but you will want to head right and further into the woodlands. For the most part, you will only have one route to follow but before long you will arrive at a T-junction where you should continue forwards (you have priority, the joining road on your left has give-way lines) which will sweep downhill and over the bridge where the gravel car park entrance will be just on the right. Park up and follow the car park around to the end (or leave out the car park entrance right and follow the road), if you want to see the information board for the upcoming walk it is available at the far end of the car park.
This walk takes you along the Afon Babi, which Natural Resources Wales states the name is derived from folklore: the story goes a fairy stole a witches baby and replaced him with a changeling child. I love these little details and tried to find out more but after spending time going down a Google Scholar rabbit hole, my research came up with nothing - probably one of those stories lost to the ages. Regardless of the name's folklore origins, it is important to note the river may be labelled differently based on where you look; other resources identify it as Afon Lâs, or simply Afon Mawddach as an unnamed tributary so if you happen to be navigating this area via paper maps you will be safer using grid references rather than relying on names.
Starting from the previously mentioned information board you will cut across the corner of the road and pass through a gate to begin the walk. You will immediately be greeted by a fairly steep grass hill that leads down to a picnic bench, however, the correct route will see you immediately turn left. Follow the path through the fields with a handful of Keyhole Markers (carved wooden statues - pictured above) and a BBQ pit available to the public. The fields quickly get replaced by woodlands and before you know it you are on nature trails following the river that will gradually lead down and circle back to that same picnic table you saw previously. Admittedly we got turned around on our first walk, walking straight past the path marker we headed down the grassy hill to the picnic table and followed the first part of the walk backwards. This actually had a hidden bonus, because it meant we had the perfect approach to enjoy the waterfall off in the distance upstream - it may have been just occluded enough by trees that we could have missed it had we not committed our tiny navigational faux pas, and if you follow the walk the correct direction you should keep an eye out for this charming falls out in the distance.
The second section of the walk sees you leave this little picnic area and very briefly join the road, crossing a bridge before finding a new natural path up the hillside, on our visit the entrance was marked by an impressive wood carving that is hard to miss. The paths from here are mostly dirt and small loose stones, with uphill slopes occasionally giving way to sections of stairs plus shallow little streams to cross. There is nothing here that should pose too great a challenge, you ascend the hillside in an easy-going manner that will gradually build up the views over the valley until you eventually reach the remains of the old copper works. The buildings here date back to at least the mid-1800s, this terraced structure would have formed the main processing buildings at the mine but nature has been working hard to reclaim this area so you may find getting around a little thorny. Beyond exploring the old footings jutting out from the hillside like a giant's staircase, this spot also has one of the best views over the woodlands and if you were lucky like we were you may even get a couple of fly-bys from the RAF - two jets gave a couple of laps while we were enjoying the views.
The rest of the walk is just a peaceful stroll around lively woodlands, your route will snake around again following smooth loose paths until you reach the highest tier of the copper works ruins, then the trail will take you on a scenic path back to the start. Paths through here may be waterlogged or bisected by streams in parts, but the walking is easy enough and the sounds and sights of nature make for a perfect ending to this walk. Take your time to really enjoy these wonderful woodlands and before long you will rejoin the road and cross back over the bridge you passed by in the beginning - feel free to follow the road directly back to the car park or circle back through the first section of the walk if, like us, you want to get a second look at the waterfall.
With your final climb to the car park, you have reached the end of this walk but there are a couple of options in the immediate vicinity you can tack onto this walk if you fancy the extra steps. After rejoining the main road we turned right and headed uphill to explore a little; take a short stroll and look to your right to have a great view of the ruins you just climbed, then we joined a footpath on the left to double back on ourselves, walking with the car park on our left. Instead of following the footpath for this section, you can just follow the road back downhill and past the car park, but the path is at least a bit greener and fresher! The path runs parallel to the road until you reach the bridge over another tributary of the Afon Mawddach seen below, you can descend down to the river's edge and enjoy the wonderful rushing torrents beneath a rustic and charming old bridge - an all-around excellent spot to unwind.
Obviously, Ty'n y Groes has a multitude of options for walks that can extend miles within the Coed-y-Brenin range and even beyond, so if you want more adventure there are plenty of options around here whether you just want to keep walking or drive to one of the other car parks to get you started. But otherwise, I hope this little cross-section of woodlands and rivers filled your need for a quick walk in the beautiful scenery. There is nothing better than packing a day full of varied landmarks and activities so you should absolutely add this to your roster, maybe you can combine this with the waterfalls and mines near Ganllwyd, explore the river at the torrent walk or take in the stunning views all around the precipice walk - so many wonderful options all within a small area. Plus, if you want more information there is the option of using the audio provided by Natural Resource Wales; a good portion of their walks offer extra information via their apps so you can make the most of these wonderful walks around Wales.