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Alwen, near Denbigh

Walk or cycle around this huge upland reservoir

Alwen dam

What's here

Dogs welcome
Mountain biking
Walking trail


The first thing you notice on arriving at the Alwen car park is the huge dam which sits astride the reservoir.

The dam is the starting point for a seven mile trail around Alwen reservoir that can be followed by walkers and cyclists.

The trail goes through forest and moorland and there are far-reaching views over the reservoir.

Cyclists and walkers can follow a link route from Alwen reservoir to Llyn Brenig where there is a visitor centre with café and toilets.

This area used to be dotted with sheep farms until the reservoir and dam were constructed in the early 20th century to provide water for the growing port of Birkenhead.

Conifer forests were later planted to replenish timber supplies following the First World War and the conifer woodlands around the reservoir form part of Hiraethog Forest.

Walking trail

Man and woman walking on Alwen TrailThe walking trail is waymarked and starts from the Alwen car park.

It is a shared use trail and may be used by walkers and cyclists.

It must be followed clockwise on foot – look out for the waymarkers.

Alwen Trail

7 miles/11.5 kilometres, moderate

The Alwen Trail runs through forest, moorland and along the water’s edge on surfaced paths and forestry tracks.

Along the way there are ever-changing views across the reservoir and to the mountains of Snowdonia.

Illustrated panels at the side of the path explore the wildlife, culture and folk tales of this historic upland landscape.

Look out for wildlife ranging from hen harriers to black grouse, and cuckoos to crossbills - you may even be lucky enough to see a red squirrel or osprey.

Mountain biking trail

The mountain biking trail is waymarked and starts from the Alwen car park.

It is a shared use trails and may be used by walkers and cyclists.

It must be followed anti clockwise by bike – look out for the waymarkers.

See our mountain biking page for a list of all our mountain bike trails and information about grading to make sure you pick a trail that is right for you.

Please also read the relevant onsite information before setting off on your ride.

Alwen Trail

11.5 kilometres, grade blue

The trail links forest roads with purpose built, often singletrack, trail sections weaving in and out of the forest around the reservoir.

It has great variety for such a short trail with some sheltered forest and open moorland.

The climb up from the bridge over the reservoir is taxing but can be pushed up.

The highpoint of the trail beyond the bridge is very exposed to the elements and you should be prepared for any change in weather.

This shared use trail must be followed anti clockwise by bike – look out for the waymarkers and please give way to walkers.

Llyn Brenig visitor centre

Man and child fishing at Llyn BrenigThe entrance to Llyn Brenig car park is off the B4501, one mile from the entrance to the Natural Resources Wales Alwen car park.

The Llyn Brenig visitor centre is managed by Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water.

It has a café, toilets, fishing shop, play area and bike hire.

The Brenig Trail (9½ miles/15kilometres) sets off from the visitor centre car park and makes its way around Brenig reservoir – this trail can be followed by walkers and cyclists.

Cyclists and walkers can follow a link route between the car parks at Alwen reservoir and Llyn Brenig.

The Llyn Brenig reservoir was constructed in the 1970s and it helps to regulate the water supply to the River Dee.

It is also one of the premier fly fisheries in the UK and it hosts international competitions.

Tickets for fishing in the Alwen and Brenig reservoirs are available from the visitor centre.

For more information see the Llyn Brenig website 

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

How to get here

Alwen is 10 miles south west of Denbigh.

Car parking at Alwen is free of charge.

Download the location map.


From the south: take the B4501 from Cerrigydrudion towards Denbigh, following the brown and white signs to Llyn Brenig. After three miles, turn left down a stoned track to the Alwen Natural Resources Wales car park.

From the north: Take the B4501 from Denbigh towards Cerrigydrudion. After 11 miles, go past the Llyn Brenig Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water visitor centre car park. After one mile the turning to the Alwen car park is on the right. Follow this stoned track to the Natural Resources Wales car park. 

Ordnance Survey map

Alwen is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 264.

The OS grid reference for the car park is SH 956 529.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Rhyl.

For details of public transport visit

Contact details

Natural Resources Wales

0300 065 3000 

Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre (Welsh Water)

01490 420463.


Related document downloads

Alwen location map PDF [999.9 KB]
Alwen - Brenig leaflet PDF [6.0 MB]
Alwen trails information PDF [806.2 KB]

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