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Snowdonia Slate Trail

The abandoned Rhiw bach Slate Quarry near Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales opened in 1812 closed in 1952 one of many forgot…
Duration: 10 nights
Type: Guided Trails
Walking Grade: 4

Experience the unique slate heritage of North Wales and enjoy the wonders of the Snowdonia National Park. Visit some of the less-frequented but beautiful parts of Snowdonia, passing through all the major mountain ranges, offering a range of experiences from mountain to forest, lake to river, from the valley to the sea. All along the trail are fascinating things to be seen and experienced. From small sleepy villages to the honeypots of Llanberis and Betws y Coed, this trail provides a wealth of variety.

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy this spectacular National Park from a fresh perspective; from the sea at Bangor to the heart of the mountains
  • Generally easy to moderate gradients with some steeper ascents out of the valleys. Sometimes rough and unimproved paths.
  • Snowdonia’s people and past brought to life
  • A joy for narrow gauge railway fans, visiting the Penrhyn Quarry Railway, Llanberis Lake Railway, Snowdon Mountain Railway, the Welsh Highland Light Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway.

What’s included

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our Country House
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • 9 days guided walking
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

83 miles with 4 to 14½ miles and up to 2850 feet of ascent in a day.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

From the fine University City of Bangor on the Menai Strait, the fabulous mountain landscape draws us into its heart to discover its people and places. Passing within sight of Penrhyn Castle, we walk steadily south with a super panoramic view of Bethesda and its quarries before crossing high moorland to descend to the National Slate Museum of Wales.

11 ½ miles (18 ½ km) with 1,950 feet (600m) of ascent 


We continue our journey from where left off yesterday, using a mixture of country lanes, high open moorland and (probably) occasionally boggy paths as well as broad farm tracks to reach Y Fron, with fine views of the Nantlle ridge across the valley.

10 miles (16 km) with 1,900 feet (580m) of ascent

A tougher but exhilarating day with a steep ascent out of the Nantlle valley, impressive views of the coast and mountains, followed by level walking (we’ll have the delightful Welsh Highland railway right by us, for occasional company) to Beddgelert.

13 miles (21 km) with 1,350 feet (400m) of ascent (plus 2,100 feet of descent)

This day includes a variety of terrain from the gorgeous Aberglasyn Gorge and its riverside paths, to country lanes and mountain tracks. A tough day but with some long easy ascents.

10.5 miles (17 km) with 2,560 feet (780m) of ascent

Towering cascades of blue slate provide a backdrop to our walk at times, with the landscape full of pointers to the past. Included today is a must-do visit to the Sygun Copper Mines.

5.5 miles (8½ km) with 980 feet (300m) of ascent.

Another day where uphill effort gains huge rewards after the occasional steep climb. We walk through the spectacular gorge and by the waterfalls of Afon Cynfal and experience real wilderness, passing by the remote ruined village of Rhiwbach.

10 miles (16 km) with 2,200 feet (660m) of ascent

A lovely varied section which starts with undulating forest towards Penmachno village before we head for our next destination, the honeypot of Betws-Y-Coed. 

8½ miles (13½ km) with 1,300 feet (400m) of ascent

With superb views of Moel Siabod, the Carnedd and Glyder ranges from the moors above Capel Curig, this will be a day to remember. Mountain tracks and narrow lanes provide easy walking beyond Capel Curig and we will be sure to take our time as view the spectacular Swallow falls, and Ty Hyll.

11½ miles (18½ km) with 2,100 feet (640m) of ascent

Before we complete this fantastic circuit of Snowdonia we’ll start our final day with a walk up into Cwm Idwal to walk around Llyn Idwal at over 1,000 feet above sea level and take a closer look at the cliffs of Devil’s Kitchen. Well worth the detour! The U shaped valley of Nant Ffrancon leads us to Bethesda, where we passed through on our first day and where we can finally celebrate the completion of this fantastic circuit of Snowdonia.

7½ miles (12½ km) with 1,450 feet (440m) of ascent Llyn Ogwen to Bethesda

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 

Craflwyn Hall

In the heart of Snowdonia, Craflwyn Hall at the foot of Mount Snowdon, close to the picturesque village of Beddgelert, is a glorious story of recovery; once a substantial 19th century house in the heart of the Nan Gwynant Valley, the property was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair before being acquired by the National Trust and painstakingly restored. Now a walkers’ mountain retreat in a picture-perfect spot, it’s the ideal base for exploring northern Snowdonia. As well as places to stay in the main house, the stable block has been imaginatively converted into bedrooms too. Comfy lounges and a snug bar provide other creature comforts. The countryside on the doorstep provides the ultimate attraction though. Wake up early and enjoy the views if the cloud is up, then grab your walking boots and head out on to one of the trails up Snowdon. Or you could go further afield to the Glydrs, Moel Siabod, Cricht and Moel Hebog, as well as the pretty town of Betws Y Coed.

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.


Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house or in one of the handful of bedrooms in the converted stables behind the house. With 22 rooms, Craflwyn Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Ask for Room 1, a large corner space with great green views, or Room 8, for its giant square picture window.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.


Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day rambling over the slopes of Snowdon or summiting a cracking peak, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Sit out in the grounds with a coffee or great local Welsh ale or take a chance to relax in the small conservatory. If the weather’s not so favourable retire to the lounge and sink into one of the squashy leather sofas in front of the fireplace. The snug bar provides a great space to swap stories of mountain days too.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Craflwyn Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Kick off your day with a ‘Miner’s Breakfast’. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of regional flavours. Look out for highlights including Glamorgan sausages, braised salt marsh lamb shoulder shepherd’s pie and a Welsh version of Eve’s pudding.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10690_0036 - Craflwyn Hall - Exterior

Getting to Craflwyn Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents
  • Waterproof walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares)
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner
  • Thermos flask for hit drink
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litres)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent and a midge hood is highly recommended for Scotland
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Aled Owen

Aled spent a lot of his childhood visiting Cwmorthin, riding the Ffestiniog Railway or wandering along the Penrhyn Railway, along with exploring the mines and quarries of Cwm Penmachno, meaning that the slate areas are very close to his heart.

Guest Reviews

10 nights
Guided Trails
Walking Grade:

10 nights from 0pp

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