Dinas Mawddwy

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Bwlch y Groes (Pass of the Cross) is one of the highest public road mountain passes in Wales. The views from the top of Bwlch y Groes are stunning  with views across the Dyfi valley and Cadair Idris. This 17 mile breathtaking route lies on minor roads linking Dinas Mawddwy and Llanuwchllyn in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park and Lake Vyrnwy.

The route was part of the pilgrim's route from North West Wales to St David's in South Wales. A cross, which is humble in appearance, is not on a map. It can be found just below the summit at the junction of the road that leads down from Lake Vyrnwy. It was placed on the route as a symbol of faith and strength comforting travellers since medieval times.

Cycling the route is definitely not for the faint hearted! The southern ascent of the Bwlch y Groes is approximately 1.7 miles (2.7 km) long with severe gradients throughout (steepest 1 in 4). In the 1970s and 80s this was the most challenging climb used in the Milk Race round-Britain cycle race. The ascent is included among the hundred greatest cycling climbs in Britain, being a remorseless ascent of 350 metres over a distance of just over 2 miles.

Bwlch y Groes was used between and after the wars by the Austin Motor Company and the Standard Triumph Motor Company to test prototype cars and their performance during hillclimbing.

The British Motorcycle industry which was world beating before the wars also used the pass for testing. In 1926 BSA undertook a continual test resulting in the company being awarded by the Auto-Cycle Union the Maudes Trophy for 60 ascents of the pass. BSA won the award again in 1938 in relation to rides that took place including the Bwlch y Groes.

Dark Skies / Stargazing

Bwlch y Groes lies on the minor road linking Dinas Mawddwy and Llanuwchllyn, and is one of the highest tarmacked passes in Wales. The location given is special mention as a great stargazing location on the Snowdonia National Park website.


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  • Free Parking


  • Description of route - Dinas mawddy - Llanuchllyn - Lake Vyrnwy
  • Length of route (miles) - 17

Map & Directions

Road Directions

A458 from Welshpool; right at Mallwyd onto the A470 Dolgellau road.

Public Transport Directions

Machynlleth station is 13 miles away.

Bwlch y Groes Mountain Pass | Scenic Drive

Type:Car Trail

Dinas Mawddwy, Gwynedd, LL49 9LP

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Dinas MawddwyDinas Mawddwy, Dinas MawddwyNorth-east of Machynlleth and south-east of Dolgellau, the village of Dinas Mawddwy is just to the side of the A470 at the junction with the mountain road to Lake Vyrnwy and Bala.

Llwybrau Mawddwy PathsLlwybrau Mawddwy Paths, Dinas MawddwyThe Llwybrau Cerdded - Mawddwy - Walking Paths are based in Dinas Mawddwy, an unspoilt, hidden area of southern Snowdonia between Machynlleth and Dolgellau which is steeped in history.

Waen-oer Ridge Mountain Walk, Dinas-MawddwyThe Waun-oer Ridge Walk climbs from the village of Dinas Mawddwy over the bare mountains of Maesglase, Craig Portas, Cribin Fawr and Waun-oer and then down the slopes of Mynydd Ceiswyn to Bwlch Llyn Bach pass, Tal-y-llyn.

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