Gwydir Forest Park - Sawbench, near Llanrwst

Two mountain bike trails and historical walk with valley views

What's here

Coronavirus update

 

Our sites and most visitor facilities are open but, under the current coronavirus restrictions in Wales, this is intended only for the use of people who live locally.

 

You are strongly advised – in line with current Welsh Government regulations – not to drive to any of our sites to exercise unless you have specific health or mobility issues.

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

Welcome

Sawbench is the starting point for a short walking trail and two mountain bike trails.

The walking trail takes in historical features and has views over the Conwy Valley and Llanrwst.

The mountain bike trails include the classic Gwydir Mawr and a shorter, bitesize option Gwydir Bach.

Walking trail

The walking trail is waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trail.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Lady Mary’s Walk

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1¼ miles/2.1 kilometres
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Trail information: The trail is on a mixture of wide forest roads and a path with an unmade uneven surface where you can expect some mud, rocks and tree roots. There is a chicane at the start of the trail, and at the top of the first hill, with a gap of around 60 cm to walk through. You will pass through another chicane, following a rough unmade path to rejoin the forest road where you'll follow the route to the Tudor Bowling Green, with a picnic table and a bench with a final vista down the Conwy valley en route to the car park.

This short historical walk has several viewpoints giving glimpses of the old market town of Llanrwst.

The walk is named after one of two Lady Marys from the Wynn family who bought the land and built up the historic Gwydir Estate.

The walk takes in two sculptures by local artists, one of which is a memorial to the old Llanrwst Town Hall.

Listen to the story of Llanrwst and the famous Wynns of Gwydir on our mp3 audio trail.​

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Mountain bike trails

All our mountain bike trails are waymarked from start to finish and have been graded for difficulty.

At the start of the trails there is an information panel – please read this before setting off.

Find out about mountain bike trail grades.

Read our introduction to mountain biking.

Gwydir Bach

  • Grade: Red
  • Distance: 9.1 kilometres
  • Total climb: 350 metres
  • Time: 45 minutes-1½ hours

Gwydir Bach is the little sister to its bigger brother, Gwydir Mawr.

Two big climbs earn you arguably the best descents of the whole trail, all wrapped up in one easy to digest, bitesize chunk.

Gwydir Mawr

  • Grade: Red
  • Distance: 24.8 kilometres
  • Total climb: 800 metres
  • Time: 2-4 hours

Gwydir Mawr is one of the original mountain bike trails and is a true classic.

Big climbs, big descents, brilliant singletrack and truly awesome scenery make this a trail to remember.

Now including a brand new two kilometre section with a mix of traditional hand dug trail and modern flow trail features.

You can also start Gwydir Mawr from Hafna car park.​

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Gwydir Forest Park

Sawbench is in Gwydir Forest Park.

Gwydir Forest Park lies in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park and encircles the village of Betws-y-coed.

Lead and zinc mining once dominated the area and the legacy of old engine-houses, waste tips and reservoirs are characteristic features of the forest landscape today.

Several of the most important mines have been partially restored and made safe for visitors.

Waymarked walks start from several Natural Resources Wales car parks in Gwydir Forest Park.

Two red graded mountain bike trails, Gwydir Mawr and Gwydir Bach, start from the car parks at Sawbench and Hafna.

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • 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 on site and any temporary diversion signs. 

How to get here

Location

Sawbench is 1 mile west of Llanrwst. 

It is in the county of Conwy.

Ordnance Survey map

Sawbench is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 17.

The OS grid reference is SH 790 609.

Directions

Take the B5106 from Llanrwst towards Betws-y-coed.

After turning left at the brown and white sign for Gwydir Castle, turn immediately right onto a minor road.

Take the first forest road on the left signposted Sawbench/Mainc Llifio.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Llanrwst.

For details of public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website.

Parking

Car parking is free of charge.

Contact details

0300 065 3000

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk 

Related document downloads

Lady Mary’s Walk guide PDF [530.0 KB]

Other places in North West Wales

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