LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY LOCATION GUIDES:
Cwm Pennant, Dolbenmaen, Gwynedd
Best at / for: winter sunset.
Best avoided: no sunrises as valley is steep sided.
Parking: free parking at head of the valley.
Access: extended easy walking required for best vantage points.
Notes: good hiking / wild camping opportunities nearby.
Cwm Pennant is a narrow valley accessed from the A487 between Caernarfon and Porthmadog, from the hamlet of Dolbenmaen in Snowdonia. It runs for about 3 miles in a north easterly direction cutting into the Eifionydd range alongside Moel Hebog and ends is a glacial corrie under the southern flank of the Nantlle Ridge.
The access is almost entirely a narrow single track road, with several gates which must be opened and closed behind you after proceeding. At the northernmost end of the valley there is a small parking area along side a stone bothy.
At first glance, Cwm Pennant might appear to be a rather unassuming location and isn’t really well known in wider landscape photography circles. But it is a highly recommended location for a full day out, although there are no services of any kind so you will need to carry your own refreshments!
There are crags and mountain passes to explore, and an easy path over the ridge to Beddgelert forest and Rhyd Ddu in the ajoining valley. The top of the ridges gives great views across the Snowden massif.
It’s the sort of area which encourages easily strolling for many hours enjoying the tranquility, and pointing your lens at all sorts of interesting compositions.
One of it’s main attractions for me, is that being so little known, the valley is often very quiet.