Coed Ganllwyd Nature Reserve

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MAPS : LR 124; Leisure Map 23; grid ref : SH 715245

The reserve at Coed Ganllwyd includes a steep wooded gorge with high tumbling waterfalls. The main attraction for many are the spectacular Black Falls or Rhaeadr Ddu on the Afon Gamlan.

The woodland forms part of a larger Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is part of the Coedydd Derw a Safleoedd Ystlumod Meirion/ Meirionnydd Oak woods and Bat Sites Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The wet climate that feeds the falls also provides the moist conditions in the gorge to make this the richest site for mosses and liveworts in north west Europe. The rocks and treetrunks are festooned with the green and grey growths of these lowly plants.

The trees largely escaped the fellings through two world wars and survive as an excellent example of the ancient oak woodland of this part of Wales. But it was used and managed woodland nonethless, with the large trees once being favoured for ship and house building, while the smaller coppiced poles found a multitude of agricultural uses or were burnt for charcoal. Oak bark was harvested for tanning on a large scale.

These old trees and their descendants are home each summer to that most distinctive of Welsh woodland migrants, the pied flycatcher and a host of other woodland birds. This reflects a plentiful food supply, particularly of insects, though jays are partial to acorns. The uncommon brimstone butterfly is found on the Dolmelynllyn estate in association with its food plant, the alder buckthorn.


A network of paths on the reserve mean you can choose from circular walks of 100 metres up to more demanding routes that stretch over two kilometres. The terrain is a mixture of tarmac, grassy paths (may be muddy), rocky slopes. Dogs welcome, under close control in woodland and on short leads on farmland.

The paths on the reserve are steep and rough with gates, stiles and a few steps leading up to a footbridge. The route to the Rhaeadr Ddu (eng. Black Falls) waterfall viewpoint is particularly steep. There are two waterfalls which cascade over 60ft (18m).


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Map & Directions

Road Directions

By bike: NCN Route 82 goes close by, see Sustrans for details By bus: Bus stops in Ganllwyd, routes between Dolgellau and Blaenau Ffestiniog, see Traveline-Cymru for details By train: Station at Barmouth 10 miles (16km), see Traveline-Cymru for detailsBy car: A470 to Ganllwyd, car park in village. Post code LL40 2TF

The nearest railway station is Barmouth, which is 10 miles away.

Coed Ganllwyd Nature Reserve

Type:Nature Reserve

Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 2TG

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Tel01341 440238

Opening Times

* Open during daylight hours along waymarked routes.


Rhaeadr Ddu & Coed Ganllwyd | Walking Trails, DolgellauA network of paths on the Coed Ganllwyd reserve mean you can choose from circular walks of 100 metres up to more demanding routes that stretch over two kilometres.

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