Level - Hard
UK Region: Cambrian Mountains
County: Caredigion Wales
Actual Ascent: 1,318 Ft or 402 Meters from Start Point.
Route Distance: 8 Mile
Grid Ref: 768874 Can use OS Explorer 213
The mountain and source of the Wye is remote but accessible from anywhere in the UK. You can use public transport, which some of us have done. Again see Vaga Story and these links to public transport.
Llandrindod to Rhayader & Llangurig Bus
This service is through to Llanidloes but stops at Rhayader and Llangurig. We have walked through to the source from here. It's a good walk and or hike that lends you an appreciation for the upper Wye. Buses back are from Llangurig or Rhayader.
Llandrindod to Aberystwyth X47
This service is through to Aberystwyth but is not as frequent. It will though take you closer to the source. A series of camps nearer to your hike into the Massif might be a good idea. It will introduce the area to you and be a great night out also.
Of course, bus rides back the other way depart from Aberystwyth. You need to be looking at the X47
General Directions - Click for map
Head for Ponterwyd. Turn right at Ponterwyd. Follow road through to Nant Y Moch Reservoir - keep bearing right and head for the North Eastern fringe of the Reservoir. Look for a slight flat grass verge prior to a cattle grid and fence. Park here. The route up is along the track opposite your car parking space.
Own Route Map & Description
There is a service track leading up to Llyn Llygad reservoir. OS Explorer 213. Grid Ref 768874. It starts as a subtle incline around a bend to the left. Follow the track for 2 miles until you see the reservoir. About 200 meters before the reservoir turn right straight up into the mountain towards a saddle marked on the OS map at 788874. It’s a rocky climb and only for reasonably fit and experienced hill walkers. This one though is for the views and for that close up with the Reservoir. From this vantage point you’ll see the Afon Hyddgen Valley and the Hengwm Valley with Cadair Idris beyond. Spectacular! It’s a bit harder going than other routes to the summit of Plynlimon and the source but worth it for the visual on a good or dramatically stormy day like ours.
Part Visual Guide
Once through the saddle you’ll find a trail around the peak to your left. The trail will lead you around the peak for 150 meters or so and then it drops down to your right before rising steeply towards the summit. This will lead you up to the summit Cairn, which will be on the right of the trail. The trig point is 200 meters South or right at the Cairn.
As described in the Eisteddfa Gurig walk the journey to the source is a short but invigorating one atop the Plynlimon mountain. From the summit trig or rock shelter there look East to the fence in your midst about 15 meters away. Follow it left until you reach the corner about 125 meters. (Grid Ref SN 791871). The remaining fence line that spans the top of the Plateau will lead you directly above the source of the Wye, which is approximately 1KM away along this fence line that actually runs slightly North East. Walking for the length of the fence you will pass a pool to your right and then another 280 meters further on just inside the fence corner (Grid SN 798872). This fence line heads right South East just before a standing stone with the date 1865 inscribed into it. This is a marker. It’s erect and you cannot miss it a few yards straight ahead of the fenced line and indeed worn trail you’ve been following. From here trek alongside the fence until you hit a gate. Climb it, look North-North East along the fence that adjoins it and walk for approximately 150 meters away from it slightly. You’ll discover 3 gullies but you're heading for the furthest gully and longest, which is the official Wye source (Grid SN 803873) see link. Look for a depression in the ground that Robert Gibbins said was 'no bigger than a bowler hat.' Ahead of you is the wide-open space that signifies the embryonic Wye.
Locating the source is easy. Simply descend into the gully and there you will find the channel. Some of you may be fortunate and locate the source straight away, which a small depression in the ground with an acid grass overhang and some rocks. It’s a small hollow with run off and seepage but presents the most beautiful sight and sound, which we can testify to that but it’s not the size that matters it’s the feeling it generates as you sit listening to the trickling water. It clearly speaks of life and as you gaze down into the valley South/South East you are afforded a great expanse of space and a vision of the Wye that invokes an awe and wonder akin to the grandest of landscapes. It’s truly beautiful and you’re motivated to simply explore more what with the rest of the Cambrians looking so inviting in addition.
Gear To Pack
Firstly, weather up here is unpredictable in the latter part of the year specifically. It's the largest watershed in Wales and so it gets wet. So, Pack a good water proof set. That's a jacket and trousers - if in summer a shell. Make sure also you have a good rain cover for your ruck sack (they're not totally waterproof and the lids have been known to drown). Inside pack a good map of the area and a warm insulating layer depending on the time of year.
Additional contents and kit: Water - Warm Drink - Food or Good Energy Snack - Headtorch (You Never Know) - Whistle - First Aid and Mobile Phone. Additional kit may include Camera - batteries - Tripod If Your Big into Home Movie. Youtubers Won't Ever Forget!