Just 15 minutes drive from Graig Wen you will find the ancient Nannau estate, perched on a hill overlooking Dolgellau. Since the 12th century, Nannau has been home to two of the most powerful and influential families in the county. Although the house itself is largely abandoned and off limits, the owners allow the public to explore areas of the beautiful estate on various paths.
History and Folklore
The best known of these is the Precipice Walk, which includes breathtaking views down the Mawddach Estuary and of the principal mountain ranges of Snowdonia. You also pass a lake at the bottom of which is rumoured to be a fairy marble palace, which only one human being has ever been privileged to see….
The whole area is steeped in folklore and fascinating historical ruins and relics. The most famous tale involves a haunted tree, the notorious “strangling oak”. Although this sinister oak no longer exists – some say it was struck by lightning, others that it was cut down and burnt – there are plenty more ancient trees to fire the imagination on these atmospheric walks.
Foel Offrwm and the Precipice Walk
This year, a new path has been opened up on the estate around Foel Offrwm or “The Hill of Sacrifice”. It’s a fairly easy hour and a half circular walk and the mountain views are panoramic. To the north are Snowdon and the Moelwynion, to the west are the Rhinogs, immediately south is the long scarp of Cader Idris, while to the east lies the Aran and Arenig.
Both are well signposted contour walks that roughly follow the level of the 800ft contour line, so there is not much climbing or descending involved and are ideal walks for the whole family. You will need walking boots or sturdy footwear and please ensure dogs are kept on a lead. The start is from the free car park with loos which is also the start for the Precipice Walk.
We walked around Foel Offrwm on a Sunday and finished off with a roast dinner at The Torrent Walk pub just 3 miles down the road in Dolgellau – a friendly, cosy pub that’s a favourite with locals. Or you could build up an appetite for one of Meg’s wondrous cakes at T.H. Roberts cafe in Dolgellau.
You can read much more about the story and folklore of the Nannau estate here and download detailed walking guides from the Snowdonia National Park site here: