Cwmystradllyn, Dolbenmaen, Gwynedd


Best at / for: summer sunset.

Best avoided: no sunrises as valley is steep sided.

Parking: free parking at foot of the dam.

Access: extended easy walking required for best vantage points.

Notes: good hiking / wild camping opportunities nearby.


At first glance, Cwmystradllyn 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.

Within very close proximity are a magnificent derelict 18th century slate working mill – possibly one of the finest examples in Snowdonia. A scenic upland reservoir, a derelict slate-workers village, galleried slate quarry workings, high ridges, and a south west facing valley with great sunset potential.

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 whole valley is often completely deserted. Even in mid-summer.

And walking up onto the ridges also offers panoramas of the Snowdon, the Moelwyns and down to the coast at Porthmadog.