Aber Falls from Bont Newydd

Aber Falls

This is a very short and easy walk to one of Wales's most beautiful waterfalls. The Aber Falls waterfall is situated just off the main A55 trunk road behind the quiet village of Abergwyngregyn. Although this is an easy and short walk do not underestimate its potential. The valley of the Coedydd National Nature Reserve is a hidden gem with an abundance of wildlife and stunning woodland and mountain scenery. Like most waterfalls they are best seen either after heavy rainfall or during cold winter months when ice forms. You can extend the walk by returning via the North Wales Path, which takes a route round the head of the valley, before returning towards Abergwyngregyn above the western side of the valley. This route is also accessible by those with prams or off road disability vehicles if you do a linear route using the main track to and from the waterfalls.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the Bont Newydd bridge at grid reference SH 662 720. To reach the Bont Newydd bridge come off the main A55 trunk road at junction thirteen for Abergwyngregyn and follow the minor road south east through the village. After half a mile you will reach the beautiful stone bridge.
  2. There is layby parking at Bont Newydd bridge and a larger car park on the other side of the bridge, reached by following the road to the right. If the car parks are full, simply park in Abergwyngregyn and carefully walk down the minor road to reach Bont Newydd bridge.
  3. In the recent past Abergwyngregyn has found itself lacking the economic benefits of being in an area of such outstanding beauty and popularity, mainly due to people avoiding the village and heading straight for the Bont Newydd bridge car parks. So if you can, try and help the friendly people of Abergwyngregyn by using their facilities including the Caffi yr Hen Felin cafe.
  4. Bont Newydd bridge is a magnificent stone bridge that crosses the Afon Rhaedr Fawr. Bont Newydd translates in Welsh as New Bridge. From the bridge there are two paths, one on the other side of the bridge which is more of a clear track and one on on the near side that's slightly more adventurous. Both paths eventually meet up and continue onwards into the valley on a very clear and well laid track.
  5. After about half a kilometre you will pass under some power lines. Then, after another hundred and fifty metres at a right bend in the track, you will see the forestry path going off to the left. Take this path, passing behind the visitor centre barns and skirting the edge of the forest. (If you have a pram or disability vehicle do not take this path and instead carry on along the main track to reach the falls.)
  6. The path skirts the forestry plantation for around seven hundred metres then enters the enchanting forest. The smell that hits you is wonderful and the pine needle carpeted floor silences your surroundings. If you are lucky and experience the forest on a sunny day you will be treated to sun rays beaming through the tall pine trees.
  7. The original Abergwyngregyn forest was huge and stretched across almost the entire valley. The forest was an amazing place with many rare and foreign species. Its biggest downfall was its ease of access which meant it was eventually cleared after years of industrial logging which provided work for the local area and an economical boom for Abergwyngregyn.
  8. The valley's rare species still exist but only due to the efforts of the Coedydd Aber Nature Reserve and other authorities who have now preserved the valley. The full story of the industrial past of Abergwyngregyn and the Afon Rhaedr Fawr valley can be read about in the Nature Reserves Visitor Centre on the return journey towards the end of the walk.
  9. After the short walk through the forest the path finally comes to the forest edge at a wooden stile. Here you will be presented with a panoramic view across the head of the valley with both the falls of Rhaedr Fawr and Rhaeadr-bach in view. Rhaedr Fawr is the Welsh name for Aber Falls. This is a great view point with the screes of Marian Rhaeadr-fawr to the left, the valley to the right, and the sudden bulk of the Carneddau mountain range from where the waters fall.
  10. The Aber Valley is said to be very valuable geologically with exposure of Ordovician and Cambrian rocks. A huge dyke of hard wearing Granophyre at the end of the valley is the cause of the beautiful waterfalls, the water that run off the Carneddau mountains has never been able to erode through the tough rock.
  11. Follow the path down towards the falls from the plantation, crossing a few stiles until it eventually joins the more popular valley floor track you left earlier. Turn left to reach the falls.
  12. Standing at the path underneath the falls is a must do experience; the power of the one hundred and fifteen foot tall waterfall will blow you away. The rocks under the falls can be slippery and the spray can soak you quite unexpectedly so do take care, especially of your camera when taking photos. If you cross the bridge below the falls there is another great vantage point of the fall from the other side of the river.
  13. If you want to extend the walk and take a more adventurous route back to Bont Newydd bridge you can continue along this path on the other side of the river. It will take a route west crossing Afon Gam and the head of the valley before swinging right rising on to its western edge. The route then continues north above the forest to the hills above Abergwyngregyn. From there simply turn right and descend towards the village and back to the start.
  14. If choosing the easier and more popular valley floor track back to Bont Newydd bridge, simply head back down the main path that heads north from the falls. The path soon turns back in to the familiar wide track you saw earlier.
  15. It is impossible to go wrong here as the path is a wide track. Although this is the busier route you won't be disappointed, for the path winds through meadows that are surrounded by many ancient woodlands. The reserve has many species such as oak, alder, ash, sycamore, poplar, willow, beech, birch, and hazel among others.
  16. These woodlands are a haven for all kinds of wildlife that can be seen at any time of the day. Squirrels, bats, badgers, foxes and many other animals can be seen in the valley and even pine martins have been recorded here. One of the most common sites in the valley however are its many bird species which thrive in the area. With many common species populating the area there are also wood warbler, pied flycatcher, woodpecker, redstart, owls and dippers to be spotted on the waters.
  17. After a kilometre, and just before the power lines, the track reaches the converted barns at Nant where you can read about the valleys fascinating diverse past. After the visitor centre, head north again along the track, passing under the power lines and eventually back to Bont Newydd bridge; the start of the walk. If the visitor centre is closed I would highly recommend reading the Collin's Ramblers Guide to Snowdonia and North Wales which details the history of the valley.
  18. On your way home have a look around Abergwyngregyn village, and if it is open you can get food and drinks from the Caffi yr Hen Felin cafe. Or if Abergwyngregyn shops are closed, why not take a short detour to Conwy for what I consider Britain's best fish and chips. I believe the old Aber Falls Tavern closed a few years ago unfortunately.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL17 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 115 Map Click to buy Harvey Super Walker Glyderau & Carneddau Map Click to buy Collins Ramblers Guides Snowdonia & North Wales

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.