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Standard of path
1. From the car park entrance, follow the main road to the left until you see a gate and public footpath sign on the opposite side.
2. Go through the gate (take care crossing the road) and follow the public footpath to the right towards a hillock. Near the hillock you will join another public right of way. Follow the path to the left in the direction of Llyn Morwynion lake until you join a track. Follow the track until you reach Llyn Morwynion.
Two myths are attributed to this lake.
They say that at one time, very few women lived in the hundredth of Ardudwy and that the men of Ardudwy decided to travel to the Vale of Clwyd, to try and attract some of the local women to Ardudwy. They arrived in Clwyd in the dead of night, and by daybreak the next day, they were on their way back over Mynydd Hiraethog, having kidnapped several local woman. The men of the Vale of Clwyd were livid and they caught the men of Ardudwy on the Migneint. A terrible battle was fought and each of the men of Ardudwy was killed. They were buried near Sarn Helen, the Roman road which lies near the lake. Another version of the myth claims that three young men from Ardudwy kidnapped three maidens from Dyffryn Clwyd and that they were killed by the maidens’ fathers and brothers at Bwlch y Wae (near Ty Nant y Beddau). It is said that the maidens jumped to the lake and drowned due to their shame at accepting their new husbands without considering their families.
The second legend attributed to the lake is that of Math Fab Mathonwy (of the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi). Lleu Llaw Gyffes was married to Blodeuwedd, a woman created from flowers, who was in love with Gronw Pebr, lord of Penllyn. Gronw and Blodeuwedd plotted to kill Lleu. This wasn’t an easy task, but when the conditions were correct, Gronw struck Lleu with a spear. Lleu turned into an eagle, gave a terrifying scream and flew away. Gwydion, the wizard and uncle of Lleu went in search of Blodeuwedd, to take revenge on her for her disgrace. Blodeuwedd had escaped with her maidens, who were constantly looking back over their shoulders and every one of them, except Blodeuwedd, fell into the lake and drowned. Gwydion then turned Blodeuwedd into an owl, so that she could never again show her face during daytime.
3. Walk along the dam and along the path which crosses a small stream. Follow the sign that leads you through an iron gate.
4. Follow the path down to the left from the gate – you will skirt around a small crag on your right hand side, with the remains of the Bryn-glas slate quarry on your left.
5. From this point follow the public footpath which leads straight down following the wall on your left (don’t go over the stile at the bottom). Follow the wall to the right of the stile until you reach a high stile to the south east of Garreglwyd. This part of the walk leads over very wet and boggy terrain where you will need to cross a stream.
6. Once you are over the high stile follow the public footpath straight ahead, keeping the fence on your left hand side, until you reach a stile above Garreglwyd farmhouse. Go over the stile and follow the path leading to the right around the farmhouse’s yard.
7. Follow the public footpath which leads over the field. In front of you, you will see a horizontal stone wall. With your eye – follow the wall from the building on the left (Water Works) to the right until there is a drop in the wall’s level. Aim for that spot - there is a stile there.
8. Go over the stile and join the grass track – follow it up to your right. Bear right when the grass track fork.
9. In around 200m you will see a gate across an old quarry track in front of you, and a little hillock on your left – this is Bryn y Castell. Walk around the hillock in an anticlockwise direction until you see the remains of an old roundhouse. Up the hill from this spot you can enter the old hillfort.
Take a little time to take in the magnificent views from here – the valley of the river Dwyryd flowing out to sea to the south-west, the Moelwynion mountains to the west, Manod Mawr mountain to the north-west, and the moorland and woodlands of Cwm Penamnen and Cwm Penmachno to the north-east.
Bryn y Castell is located in an area of vast historic interest: near the Sarn Helen Roman road and the traditional site of Beddau Gwŷr Ardudwy. It is also suggested that this is the location of the ‘court on the mountain’ in the legend of Math Fab Mathonwy, from the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi.
Between 1979 and 1985, the Bryn y Castell site was excavated and around a tonne of slag waste, smelting furnaces, hearths, stone anvils, several sharpening and polishing stones, decorated glass bangles and game boards were found at the site.
Experiments prove that around 100kg of charcoal or a tonne of wood and 25 days of work by one man would be required to produce one bar of iron in the pre-historic period. This proves that iron was a very valuable metal at the time.
It’s possible that the fort originally had a timber structure, with several building inside. Originally, it had an entrance with a width of around 2 metres but this was closed and moved to the western side of the fort. Inside Bryn y Castell, is a snail shaped structure, which was used to purify the cast iron. It appears that this snail shape was of assistance to improve ventilation in the building. While excavating the site, two iron working areas were found.
One of the most important discoveries made during the excavation at Bryn y Castell was that of first two round huts to be found in Snowdonia, but since then, similar buildings have been found at Crawcwell, Trawsfynydd, suggesting that this type of building was more common in Snowdonia than was originally thought.
10. From the roundhouse at the bottom of the hillfort – go straight ahead and go over the stile near the gate. From the stile walk upwards to your right until you join the track which leads to the old Drum slate quarry.
11. Follow the quarry track until you reach a slate tip. Follow the tip keeping it on your left hand side, then follow the fence which encloses the old mine shaft.
12. Once you have reached the top of the mine shaft on your left and Llyn y Drum lake on your right, climb the little hill and you will see Llyn Morwynion lake in front of you. Cross over the open country down towards the lake – keeping the crags on your right hand side.
13. On reaching Llyn Morwynion, follow the public footpath to the right along the edge of the lake. Once you have reached the end of the lake, go through the iron gate on your left.
14. From this point onwards you will walk back to the car park along the same path as on the beginning of the walk – cross the stream, along the dam, up the track and then along the public right of way until you reach the gate with the public footpath sign near the main road. Follow the main road to the left until you arrive back at the car park, and remember to take care when crossing the road.