Ffynnon Saint, Rhiw

with

Eifion & Viv Williams

This circular walk is a varied one, with wide-open sea views, forest trails, walks across fields, alongside banks and hedgerows full of wild flowers (depending on the time of year).  There are two or three steep climbs so it’s a good work–out. The well occurs at around the half waypoint and is a real piece of Pen Llyn history. We suggest that you wear strong footwear and allow between 2 and a half and three hours for it.  If you like bird spotting, take your binoculars as there will be plenty to see.

1.  The walk begins at the main crossroads in Rhiw.  Take the road that is signed ‘Plas yn Rhiw’.  Walk down the steep hill that takes you to the road to Plas yn Rhiw.  (Don’t turn into the Plas yn Rhiw road).

We have seen green woodpeckers whilst walking down the lower part of this hill.  They seem to roost in trees over on the right.

 

 

2. Pass the end of the road to Plas yn Rhiw.  Continue on the road until you reach the commemorative plaque for the opening of the new stretch of road.  Turn right through the gate and follow the old road.
Pass a small cottage on your left.  This is Plas y Sarn a former home of RS Thomas a former vicar of Aberdaron  and distinguished poet.

‘I inhabit a house

whose stone is the language

of its builders. Here

 

by the sea they said little.

But their message to the future

Was: Build well.’

(From Sarn Rhiw by R.S Thomas)

 

 

3.Continue on this road, passing a farm ‘Tre Heli’ on your left with a caravan and camping site on your right.  Stay on the old road. Pass a small car park on your left.

 

4.At the junction with the new road cross over to join a track signed ‘Tyn y Parc’. In the far distance you can see the mountain ‘Garn Fadryn’ Stay on this track which goes along the edge of a beech wood, (occupied in January by a large and noisy community of long tailed tits).
 

5.Stay on this track, which takes you past a house ‘Tyn y Parc’ and through two gateways.  (It was at the second gateway that we once saw an adder and a few seconds later, a slow worm). Pass forestry sheds. The trees are now pine.

 

At the next little clearing look left into the forest and see two very large eucalyptus trees.  They are quite distinctive with peeling bark.  We’ve looked and looked but have not yet managed to spot any koala bears eating the leaves.

 

6. Stay on this track which soon follows a sharp left bend and takes you up a very steep hill. Climb up to the top of this hill.

 

7. At the top of the hill a stonewall is facing you. Turn left up some stone steps. Walk just a few feet with the wall on your right.  Go through a small wooden gate in the wall. You have reached the Holy Well – Ffynnon Saint. 
 

This is part of the history of the Pilgrim’s Way on the Llyn Peninsula. In the middle ages, pilgrims made their way to Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) a holy place. Three visits to Ynys Enlli equalled one pilgrimage to Rome. The area is full of churches and wells where pilgrims stopped to rest on their journeys and this well is one of them. We always make this a coffee stop on our walk, though it has to be said it isn’t a particularly warm spot as the pine trees keep the sun off it. Nevertheless it seems like a good spot to take a break, not least because of the hill you’ve just climbed up.

8.When you are ready to move on, stay on the well side of the little gate. Turn left following the wall, which is on your right. When you reach the large wooden gate turn left up the stoney track.

 

9. After about thirty yards look for steps up to a path on your right. Follow this path until it joins another path. Turn left. Keep the forest edge on your left. Do not go into the woods. Stay on this path till you reach a stonewall.

 

 

 

 

10.Climb over wall using special stones set into it. Follow path ahead, passing in front of small cottage on your right.  Keep walking in this direction with open views to the sea on your left and a stonewall to your right. Pass another small cottage on your right.

11. Go through (left) metal gate and turn right up a narrow track. Pass cottage ‘Fron Oleu’ and another ‘Tan y Garn’.

There is an optional picnic site just over a stile near Tan y Garn. A field with big stones and spectacular views makes a good spot. Come back over the stile to continue the walk.

12 At the top of the hill join a road. Turn left and walk along this road. Stay on it until just before it drops downhill in a left hand bend (beside the Rectory).

 

13. Take a footpath signed to your right (up steps) and over a stile.

 

14.With your back to the sea walk up and straight across the field. Climb over wall and turn left.

 

 

 

15.Walk on this path to the next wall and climb over. Cross this field by following a vague path upwards, diagonally to the corner of a wall.  There is a footpath signpost there.

16 Turn left when you reach a substantial track (which is the drive to the house Tan y Craig). Pass a house on left with large black gates.  Keep on this track.

17. Pass two cottages on your right.  The second one is called ‘Conion Ganol’.

18. Go through a metal gate and follow the track passing a white house ‘Conion’ on your left.

19. The track meets a road, turn left. Follow this road around the bend into the village of Rhiw. Continue past the Village Hall, the old school and the telephone kiosk – all on your right. Then arrive at the Rhiw crossroads where you began this walk.

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Many thanks to Eifion and Viv, for this walk.

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