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Elfyn Evans launches Mawddwy walking routes in time for Year of Trails in Wales

Elfyn Evans (right) with Cwmni Nod Glas Cyf directors, partners and supporters at the launch of Llwybrau Cerdded - Mawddwy - Walking Paths.

World Rally Championship star Elfyn Evans this week launched a series of walking routes in his home village which offer spectacular views of the famous UNESCO Dyfi Biosphere in Mid Wales.

The Llwybrau Cerdded – Mawddwy – Walking Paths are based in Dinas Mawddwy, an unspoilt, hidden area between Machynlleth and Dolgellau which is steeped in history.

The paths comprise eight, waymarked, circular walking routes, ranging from one-and-a-half to 12 miles, covering a total distance of 46 miles. They have been developed by Cwmni Nod Glas Cyf, a social enterprise formed by an industrious group of volunteers.

This area has the second highest road in Wales, which takes travellers over the famous Bwlch y Groes pass between Dinas Mawddwy and Llanuwchllyn. It’s also where the infamous Red Bandits – y Gwylliaid Cochion – roamed in the 16th century.

Cwmni Nod Glas Cyf was established by a group of volunteers in 2012 to create opportunities for social, economic and the environment in the Mawddwy area.

Directors, partners and local supporters were joined by Elfyn at the Red Lion in Dinas Mawddwy on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the launch a leaflet and website promoting the walking routes, which are perfectly timed for the Year of Trails, the 2023 campaign theme adopted by Visit Wales. Visit dinasmawddwy.co.uk for more information about the walks.

Elfyn said: “The Mawddwy area is a very special place for me, as someone who grew up here and the paths here have been important to me in my career and personal life.

“These circular routes are a great way to get to know the area and its people and an opportunity for me to also bring my own family to appreciate them.

“Thank you, Cwmni Nod Glas for putting the Dinas Mawddwy area on the map and I hope they will benefit the local economy.”

The launch marks the culmination of five years’ work, interrupted by the pandemic. Cwmni Nod Glas Cyf’s secretary Arfon Hughes explained: “Most of the tourism providers in the area realised that there was a lot of interest in walking by those staying who needed to better understand where they could go without trespassing.

“These businesses wanted to find ways of attracting more visitors to the area and encouraging them to stay for longer. Since the pandemic, people have wanted to get outdoors a lot more and we feel that we are sitting on a little goldmine here with interesting valleys, views and history.”

The walking routes take in spectacular mountains, deep valleys, waterfalls, footbridges, moor and grazing land where farmers have carved a living for generations and magnificent views.

Five of the routes start and finish in Dinas Mawddwy, while the others finish in Llanymawddwy, Mallwyd and Aberangell. All the walks follow public rights of way and are suitable for reasonably fit people.

Sites of interest along the routes include St Tydecho churches in Mallwyd and Llanymawddwy, Pont Minllyn Bridge, Melin Meirion Mill, Buckley Arms and Llew Coch / Red Lion, the medieval Ffynnon Cae Gwyn Well, Y Plas (mansion) bell, slate quarries in Dinas Mawddwy, former drovers’ accommodation at Foty Fach ruin, Afon Clywedog, Dolobran Mill and Cerist, to name but a few.

The project was funded with grants form Europe, the Welsh Government, UK Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund and partners include Snowdonia National Park, Gwynedd County Council, National Trust and NRW.

The walks are the latest venture to regenerate the area by Cwmni Nod Glas Cyf, which has already secured grants to buy and renovate an old shop in the centre of Dinas Mawddwy – Yr Hen Siop. A cafe offers refreshments and flats provide accommodation for local people at a fair price.

The social enterprise is also leasing a woodland at Lawnt y Plas, the site of the former Plas – a 365-paned Victorian gothic style mansion – which is where most of the circular walking routes start from.

Cwmni Nod Glas Cyf is a member of MWT Cymru, the independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys, Ceredigion Gwynedd and Southern Eryri./ Snowdonia.

MWT Cymru’s chief executive Val Hawkins said: “The development of the Mawddwy Walking Paths is a great addition to Southern Eryri / Snowdonia as a walking destination and the timing is perfect ahead of the Year of Trails in 2023.

“It’s great to see the local community coming together to promote this unspoilt area.”