Follow the accessible riverside walk on the north side of the river, making sure you look at the Cannon Rocks immediately over the bridge near the toilets. At Miners’ Bridge, branch off right uphill through the woods and turn left along the narrow lane. Soon, follow signs for Swallow Falls where a narrow but safe path clings to the cliffs above the swirling torrent. Enjoy the view of these spectacular falls before continuing alongside the river.
At The Ugly House, walk up the steep lane before turning left into the forest. Follow the marked route until you reach open moorland. Walk along the engineered path with a wonderful mountain panorama ahead. Soon you will reach Capel Curig.
Along the way
Cannon Rocks are boulders drilled with holes and carved with channels to hold gunpowder. When lit, a series of small explosions, like fireworks, resulted. This Victorian traditional way of celebrating high days and holidays was peculiar to the slate areas of Snowdonia.
These rocks lie next to the river at Pont y Pair, Betws y Coed.
Another good example can be found in Rhiwbach quarry, Cwm Penmachno.
Miners’ Bridge is an interesting structure which climbs steeply over the Afon Llugwy, originally built to provide access to the many mines, slate, lead and other minerals, which existed on either side of the river.
Swallow Falls is a major tourist attraction in the area. Originally called Rhaeadr Ewynnol (Foaming Falls), it gradually became known as Rhaeadr y Wennol (Swallow Falls). The Welsh name has now reverted to the original.
The Ugly House, (Ty Hyll), is what is termed Ty Unnos (One-night house). 17th and 18th century tradition has it that if one could build the four walls and a chimney, and have smoke coming out of that chimney, within 24 hours, the builder would be given the house. The builder would then throw an axe as far as he could, and would then claim the land within that perimeter.
The building is now owned by the Snowdonia Society.
Capel Curig takes its name from the little Saint Julitta’s Church in the ancient graveyard by the river bridge on the Llanberis road. This confusingly has been known for over 100 years as St. Julitta’s Church and has been restored by the “Friends of Saint Julitta”. Tradition claims this chapel to be the 6th century foundation of St. Curig, a Celtic bishop. Centuries later, probably when the present ancient church was built, the name appears to have been Latinised as Cyricus, which is the name of a 4th-century child martyr whose mother was Julitta. They are usually named together as Saints Quiricus and Julietta.
The names Capel Kiryg and Capel Kerig were recorded in 1536 and 1578 respectively.