Walks Around Beddgelert Des Marshall
Beddgelert, Gelert's Grave, is one of the most beautiful villages in North Wales and is reputed to be named after the legendary hound Gelert. However, the village possibly came by its name after an early Christian missionary and leader called Celert, or Cilert, settled here in the 8thC. The earliest record of Beddgelert appears in 1258 when it was recorded as Bekelert, whilst in 1269 it is recorded as Bedkelerd. The Church of St Mary was originally the chapel of a Benedictine monastery and parts of the building date back to the 12thC. Standing at the confluence of the Afon Glaslyn and the Afon Colwyn the village is situated in a pretty valley. Moel Hebog is the dominant mountain to the west of the village. Caernarfon is 13 miles to the north and Porthmadog is 8 miles to the south. It is also within easy reach of Betws y Coed just 14 miles away.
The central point of the village is the old, arched bridge just upstream of the confluence. The original bridge was destroyed by a catastrophic flood in 1799 and was badly damaged again in the early part of the 20thC. Beddgelert was once a thriving port before The Cob at Porthmadog was built by William Maddocks in 1811. Ships docked at the village of Aberglaslyn (Aber), a small port just below Pont Aberglaslyn, where the tidal river ended.
The dramatic Aberglaslyn Gorge is very close to the village, where the often tumultuous Afon Glaslyn, with its many cataracts, is channeled between the steep wooded and craggy sides of the gorge, which is very pretty in May with a clothing of the pink blossom of rhododendron. The restored Welsh Highland Railway runs between Porthmadog and Caernarfon, passing through the village. The line was formally opened on the 20th April 2011.
Almost half of the walks described start from the main car park in the Beddgelert. If you are staying at one of the many B&Bs in the village this has the great advantage of avoiding having to drive to the start of a walk. However, all the other walks can be reached within a few minutes’ drive from the village or, better still, by either bus or train. Directions to reach these starts are given in each walk.
This is a wide variety of walks, some with history, some in the valley and some that are certainly wild mountain excursions. In fact there is a walk for everyone in these pages.
Illustrated by Morag Perrott
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