Grid Reference: SH 579613 IR
The nearest international airports are in Liverpool (just under two hours away) and Manchester (just over two hours). There are train services from both airports to Bangor, but you may have to change twice. Birmingham airport is about three hours away.
The nearest train station is Bangor (Gwynedd). There is a good service to Bangor from Euston, London, which can take as little as three and a half hours. It takes about 25 minutes to drive from Bangor to Cae Mabon. Taxis cost between £20 and £25. Some groups can arrange pick up. If a member of the Cae Mabon team is available to pick you up we normally ask £5 to cover fuel costs.
Check http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ for train times.
There are regular bus services from Bangor to Llanberis (85 and 86) and Caernarfon to Llanberis (88). Cae Mabon is half an hour’s walk from Llanberis round the lake, past the old Quarry Hospital and through the Padarn Country Park.
A few hardy souls come to Cae Mabon by bike. There are Sustrans bicycle paths in the area but from the Bangor station you will have to follow directions as outlined in ‘By Road from the West’ below. It will take about an hour and a half. The Fachwen Lane is a bit of a killer hill! Others have taken the train from Machynlleth to Penrhyndeudraeth and cycled from there through the mountains. If you’re really fit it can be done in two hours.
Note: a SatNav will get you to the top of the track but not to the car park, so please look closely at where the four directions come together.
Please consider car sharing to reduce carbon impact.
By Road from the North
Follow the A55 expressway past Chester and Conwy towards Bangor. Turn off at the Bangor/Bethesda exit, taking first left then first right onto the B4366 towards Llanberis. After about three miles come to a roundabout and turn left onto the B4547, again towards Llanberis. After another three miles (about a mile after a Texaco petrol station on the left) notice a sign to the left for Brynrefail. Keep going. A few hundred yards later look out for another sign to the left marked Brynrefail and Fachwen (the Fachwen sign may be missing). Turn left. Within 50 yards come to a T-junction and turn right. After another 100 yards there is a turning to the left to Fachwen. This is near an old bridge at the foot of Llyn Padarn. Pause here (if it’s light) to admire one of the best views in Wales!
By Road from the East
Head for the M54 towards Telford and Shrewsbury. This turns into the A5 going past Oswestry, across the border into Wales and through Llangollen, Corwen, Betws y Coed and Capel Curig. At Capel Curig turn left on the A4086 (signposted Llanberis and Beddgelert) and drive five miles through the mountains (very beautiful) till you come to the Pen y Gwryd hotel. Turn right (still on the A4086) and go up over the Llanberis Pass and down the valley. This will be the most spectacular part of your journey. Bypass Llanberis driving along the edge of the lake. The road becomes bendy but after two miles straightens out. You come to a main junction. Turn right onto the B4547 towards Bangor, but within 100 yards turn right again (opposite the sign indicating you are entering Brynrefail). The road bears left over an old bridge, then you turn right onto the Fachwen Lane. Pause here to admire the view!
By Road from the South
If you are coming from South Wales there are several routes. You may go all the way up the A470 through Ffestiniog to Betws y Coed, where you turn left onto the A5 and follow the directions above. Others prefer the scenic route through the mountains and turn right off the A487 at Penrhyndeudraeth (on the A4085) towards Beddgelert. From Beddgelert take the A498 towards Capel Curig till you come to Pen y Gwryd Hotel. Turn left and follow the directions as above. Probably the quickest and easiest route to drive is to follow the A487 through Porthmadog and towards Caernarfon. About three miles before Caernarfon you come to the small village of Bontnewydd. Here turn right towards Llanberis. After a couple of miles go past a roundabout and continue till you come to T-Junction. Turn right onto the A4086 and carry on through Llanrug, past Cwm y Glo till you come to a straight stretch and a major junction. Turn left onto the B4547 towards Bangor, but within 100 yards turn right again (opposite the sign indicating you are entering Brynrefail). The road bears left over an old bridge, then you turn right onto the Fachwen Lane. Pause here to admire the view!
By Road from the West
If you are coming from Ireland you will land in Holyhead and take the A55 expressway across the Ynys Môn (the Island of Anglesey) towards Bangor. After crossing the Menai Strait over the Britannia Bridge take the first exit to a large roundabout and head to the right on the A487 following signs to Caernarfon. Go under the expressway, past another large roundabout and carry on down the hill to a third roundabout. Take the third exit – B4547 towards Felinheli – then, after about half a mile, turn left following signs to Llanberis. Go up the hill two or three miles till you come to another roundabout. Go straight over and carry on another three miles (about a mile after a Texaco petrol station on the left) notice a sign to the left for Brynrefail. Keep going. A few hundred yards later look out for another sign to the left marked Brynrefail and Fachwen (the Fachwen sign may be missing). Turn left. Within 50 yards come to a T-junction and turn right. After another 100 yards there is a turning to the left to Fachwen. This is near an old bridge at the foot of Llyn Padarn.
By now there should be quite a party going on with everybody stopped on the bridge to enjoy the view! It’s only another mile and a half from here so you might as well go together.
All Four Directions Come Together Here
Head on up the Fachwen Lane. The road leads up the hill beneath granite boulders and tall larch and pine trees over looking the lake. After passing a couple of dozen houses about a mile up you’ll come to a telephone box on your left. A hundred yards later on the right under a lamppost is a small, faded gold and green sign saying ‘Cae Mabon’ with an arrow pointing down the hill. Here you need to do a sharp (possibly three-point turn) and head down the track on your right.
It’s steepish at first and there’s a sharpish left bend near the top. But be bold and proceed steadily in low gear. After a third of a mile the track levels out and goes past a cluster of buildings on the right, another recently renovated cottage on the left. Carry on under an old disused bridge for another two hundred yards. After passing an unusual collection of old vehicles and stuff on the right you’ll go through an open gate and ahead you’ll see a sign for the ‘Cae Mabon Car Park’. To the right is a large open space and turning circle (affectionately known as ‘the helipad’). The track itself continues straight ahead. The entrance to the car park is between these two.
Drive into the car park and park on the lower level if it has space. Then, following the signs, go under the Green Man arch, over the little bridge, down the steps, along the mossy wall and through the old iron gate. The path leads down to the centre of Cae Mabon. It’s about 250 yards from the car park, a relatively easy downhill walk. Don’t forget to take your torch.