Posts Tagged ‘woodland’

Close to the lovely Rhaeadr du, in the late 18th century an unknown person cut into a rock lines from Thomas Gray’s Alcaic Ode.

The original carving is barely visible now, but next to the rock is a slate tablet with the original Latin verse and an English translation carved into it.

The stone containing original Latin carving.

The stone containing original Latin carving.

The slate tablet containing both Latin and English translation.

The slate tablet containing both Latin and English translation.

The lines from the Ode are so wonderful that I thought that by way of a change I’d reproduce them here, accompanied by some photos taken at and around the falls.

Alcaic Ode  by Thomas Gray.

O thou! the spirit mid these scenes abiding,

Whate’er the name by which thy power be known

Truly no mean divinity presiding

These native streams, these ancient forests own

And here on pathless rock or mountain height,

Rhaeadr du.

Rhaeadr du.

Amid the torrents ever-echoing road


Afon Gamlan, below the falls.

Afon gamlan rushes through the broad-leaved woodland.

Afon Gamlan rushes through the broad-leaved woodland.

The headlong cliff, the woods eternal light

We feel the godhead’s awful presence more

Than if resplendent neath the cedar beam,

By Phidins wrought his golden image rose

If meet the homage of thy votry seem

Grant to my youth – my wearied youth – repose.

For any Latin scholars out there here is the original Latin version, and please don’t blame me for the translation. I am most definitely not a scholar of the classics.

O tui, severi religio loci,

Quocunque gaudes nomine non leve

Nativa nam certe fluenta

Numen habet veteresque silums,

Presentiorum et conspicimus Deum

Rhaeadr du.

Rhaeadr du.

Per invias rupes fera per juga,

Clivosque praeruptos sonantes

Inter aquas, memorumque noctem

Quam si repostus sub trabe citrea

Afon Gamlan

Afon Gamlan

Fulgeret auro el Phidiaca manu

Salve convanti rite fesso et

Da placidam juveni quitem.

Afon Gamlan

Afon Gamlan

This is a lovely wooded valley which is maintained by the National Trust. Not only did it inspire the unknown person to engrave the melancholic ode, but it also inspired artists such as Turner and Gainsborough.

Visit it yourself and be inspired.


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Today I was starting in Betws-y-Coed (pronounced “bet us i co ed”). This lovely village is a popular with tourists to Snowdonia, the name means Prayer house (Betws) in the woods (y Coed).

My walk started behind St Marys church, a forestry track leading up the steep wooded hillside.

A stream tumbled down the hillside by the track until I came to a little wooden bridge and started up a narrow steep path.


This path wound up the hillside through the lush, dense woodland. The higher I climbed the more the path became like a stream. It’s quite a climb, going up to about 700ft above sea level.





Once at the top of the climb the small lake called Llyn Elsi comes into view. Nestled in amongst woodland with little islands it’s a picturesque, but little known lake.

The photo is taken from the small monument erected to commemorate the Town Council being allowed to take water from the lake in 1914.

My walk took me around the near side of the lake through the lovely woodland, arounf the northern end and then up through the mainly conifer woods on the far side.

As I came to the top of the hill at the far side I should have had good views of the mountains of Snowdonia and the wooded Llugwy valley, but the cloud was too low today.


I eventually came to a gate at the side of the forestry track I was on and turned off down this path.

It may look like just another path but this is Sarn Helen, a Roman road. Originally this roadway was about 160 miles long, running from Aberconwy to Carmarthen.


It’s a lovely walk down here through the Oak, Beech and Sycamore woods.




This stream runs alongside the path, but today there were parts of the path that were like a stream too.






The Roman road eventually led me to the main A5 road running between Betws-y-Coed and Capel Curig. I crossed the road and dropped down to Afon Llugwy and the miners bridge.

The bridge is more of a steep staircase across the river and was built in the 18th century for the miners in the local lead mines.


Although it’s August the river is swollen with all the rain we’ve had, and it was roaring through the narrow gorge under the miners bridge.


Now I crossed the bridge and took a path alongside the river and back towards Betws-y-Coed.



As I got back to Betws-y-Coed I came to Pont-y-Pair. The bridge was built in 1468 and the name means “Bridge of the cauldron”.






It’s easy to see why it got the name as Afon Llugwy boils underneath it.

But now it was time to return home.

It was a wonderful walk in woodlands and with lots of streams, rivers and a lovely lake. The only problem today was that most of the paths were like streams or deep in mud. Those that weren’t were wet and slippery.

If anyone were thinking of doing this walk I would definitely suggest they wait until we’ve had a dry spell. I had to spend a lot of time looking down rather than at the scenery.

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