The forgotten village – Rhiwddolion

So I got lost. Well not really, I knew where I was but had missed the start of my circular walk to the ‘forgotten village’ (so named by the Daily Post a couple of years ago) of Rhiwddolion.


See, I knew exactly where I was, I just wasn’t supposed to be there.

Instead I was blessed with a lovely walk through some mysterious looking woods on my detour and I had all this bliss to myself.


It felt like stepping into a fairytale.


Not a soul in sight.


Maybe it’s for the water spirits? After all I’m in the land of Myrddin Emrys (Merlin).

I had read about Rhiwddolion in an old newspaper article and got curious. Situated in a remote upland above Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, it was once a thriving quarrying community of about 150 inhabitants with its own chapel, school and accommodation for the quarrymen.


‘Sarn Helen’, the old Roman road, was the main way in and out of the village. Makes your breath just go that little bit harder.


In the north the route is believed to follow the western bank of the river Conwy.

The cottages were built on the Roman road ‘Sarn Helen’, which once ran for 160 mi (260 km) on a meandering course through central Wales, connecting Aberconwy in the north with Carmarthen in the west. The road was named after Saint Elen, a Celtic saint, whose story is told in the The Dream of Macsen Wledig part of the Welsh Mabinogion and who is said to have ordered the construction of roads in Wales during the late 4th century.

Rhiwddolion1Rhiwddolion2 Rhiwddolion3 Rhiwddolion4 Rhiwddolion5 Rhiwddolion4b Rhiwddolion9 Rhiwddolion8 Rhiwddolion7 Rhiwddolion6 Rhiwddolion10 Rhiwddolion11 Rhiwddolion12 Rhiwddolion16 Rhiwddolion14

Three cottages have been renovated and are now let as holiday cottages and managed by The Landmark Trust. To this day you can’t get there by car and have to walk the last stretch of your journey.


Ty Coch, meaning ‘Red House’, is one of three Landmark houses. Ty Uchaf stands further up the hill at the head of the valley.


Ty Capel was a school-cum chapel in the days of the slate quarry and sits beside the stream that flows down the valley.

Afterwards I explored the area and paid a visit to Llyn Elsi. It is a reservoir providing water for the village and was once two lakes before a dam was built.

Llyn-Elsi1 Llyn-Elsi2

On my way down to Betws-y-Coed I came across another ruin which was just marked as ‘Garden’ on my OS map but I’m still none the wiser as there seems to be no information about it.


Back in Betws-y-Coed.


2 thoughts on “The forgotten village – Rhiwddolion

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