In 2013, I and my partner, Joan, completed the C2C.  As many will know, between the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors is a 23-mile slog through flat agricultural land, punctuated only by the occasional village, one of which is Danby Wiske. It is not a special place, but the pub is thriving, providing food, shelter and basic supplies.  A number of B&Bs exist and there the local farmer provides camping facilities.

I was doing a Masters in Community Development at the time and lived in Cwm Penmachno, a similarly isolated, village in Snowdonia. Its population has reduced from about 500 to 60 since the local slate mine closed in 1962.  It has no shop, no pub or post office, no mobile signal. And I though a walking trail through the village might bring economic benefit to my village and other similar villages around Snowdonia.

Slate Mine WalkThen began five years or planning and fundraising to create my own Trail

The Snowdonia Slate Trail is a fully way-marked 83-mile trail through the UK`s latest World Heritage Site which starts at Porth Penrhyn near Bangor, passing through the villages of Llanllechid, Bethesda, Llanberis, Waunfawr, Nantlle, Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert, Croesor, Ffestiniog, Penmachno, Capel Curig, Betws-y-Coed and back to Bethesda.

It also connects a number of social enterprises and community run facilities such as Antur Waunfawr, the Coed y Brenin Café in Bethesda run for and by disadvantaged people and the community Pengwern Inn in Llan Ffestiniog.

In addition, for those who enjoy the Little Trains of Wales, the Trail passes Penrhyn and Padarn Railways, Snowdon Mountain Railway, as well as the Welsh Highland and the Ffestiniog Railways.

This Trail through the World Heritage Site gives a taste of  impact of the slate industry on the landscape, life and culture of the area and its influence on the development of the UK.

The Trail is a greatly varied experience, and passes along ancient lanes and tracks, over wild moors and through dark forest, past wonderful waterfalls and gorges and through historical abandoned slate workings and villages.

Accommodation is available to facilitate a 7-day walk, but many do it in longer, although the record is just short of 21 hours!

The Trail is becoming more well-known as time goes on and recent achievements include features on Countryfile and Weatherman Walking, as well as inclusion of the route on the online OS maps.

The guidebook, written by the Trail developer, Aled Owen, is available from the Shop page of the website, www.snowdoniaslatetrail.org with all profit going to Trail maintenance and development.

The website provides comprehensive information about what to see along the Trail, as well as downloads of the maps and directions, and details of our passport scheme

For information, email info@snowdoniaslatetrail.org

 

 

Author:
Aled Owen