After the last leg, this section is a doddle. Broad forestry tracks take the Trail down to Roman Bridge, after which the road is followed to Conwy Falls Café. A pleasant track passes the Fairy Glen before a minor road, followed by a short woodland walk, leads to bustling Betws y Coed.
The short climb along a lane from Penmachno will take you to the forestry tracks running high above the Afon Machno. When you reach the road, turn right to Penmachno Mill. Keep your eyes open for Roman Bridge over the river on the left, and turn left to Conwy Falls Café. Walk along the recently constructed permissive path out of the car park and then follow the good track through the woods, above the Conwy river, past the Fairy Glen and on to the A470. Cross the River Conwy and follow the minor road on the right towards Betws y Coed.
Watch out for the footpath sign on the right which takes you into the grounds of the Waterloo Hotel, near Waterloo Bridge. Turn left along the main road into the village centre.
Natural Resources Wales are about to undertake forest operations in the Fedw Deg forest block of Gwydir Forest.
Part of the haulage route is near/on the Trail as it leaves the forestry above Penmachno and reaches the road near Roman Bridge, before Conwy Falls.
The work is proposed to start from 1st June 2023 and will last for approximately 4 months. The contractor resource will be putting in place Health and Safety signage; please take note of these signs and obey all warnings. There will be no haulage of timber between the hours 00:00 to 07:00 and 18:00 and 00:00, Monday to Friday and no haulage of timber on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and public holidays.
Along the way
The looms of the mill were once driven by the waters of the Machno River but were updated to run on electricity. The building has been empty for many years but still contains the equipment and artefacts, abandoned and frozen in time.
Roman Bridge isn’t Roman at all, but this ancient packhorse bridge over the River Machno is worth seeing. It is a very picturesque moss and grass-covered structure which sits just below the existing road bridge. Who knows why it is called Roman!
Conwy Falls Café
Conwy Falls Café provides a well-deserved refreshment stop. The building was designed by Clough Williams Ellis, the architect of Portmeirion, and is painted in the colours of the Brondanw estate, encountered back along the Trail in the Croesor valley.
Worth a visit, after heavy rain, is the Conwy Falls, with its Victorian fish ladder. Salmon now reach the upper reached of the Conwy river through a modern fish tunnel.
The Fairy Glen is a privately owned visitor attraction, close to the Trail. Entry is by a nominal payment at the nearby farm, and where the poet, Wuhelmina Stitch(1888-1936) wrote that she, “waits and waits, to see the fairy men”.
Waterloo Bridge is a Grade I listed cast iron bridge, spanning the river, built by Thomas Telford. An inscription on the arch records that it was constructed in the year of the Battle of Waterloo, but although construction started in 1815, it was not completed until the following year.