Penmachno, the main village in the peaceful, green Machno Valley, lies at the southern edge of Gwydyr Forest. This walk is delightful in spring when crossbills and siskins are busy building their nests, and larches and silver birches are displaying their flowers and first leaves. Primroses, speedwell and forget-me-nots line the lanes and tracks while wood anemones carpet the forest floor.
The village church
Have the church on your right and, when the road bends left to Cwm Penmachno, take the lane ahead and soon turn right. Cross a bridge and follow the track to a left bend, where you climb a stile and head uphill to a path leading to a forest track. Bear right to a 17th-century house, called Benar, then take a left-hand path to another track. Turn left, soon bending right and keep ahead at a junction. Further on, ignore lesser tracks and, after a left bend, pass waymarked paths. Walk down through mixed trees with views of mountains ahead and, when a track is on your left, take a right-hand path heading downhill to a lane.
Waterfalls and wood anemones
Turn right with the rushing River Conwy on your left. Shortly after a viewpoint of the gorge, a path opposite Pandy Mill leads to the little-known cascades and pools of Machno Falls. Continue along the road, passing a medieval packhorse bridge just before the road bridge. You may spot dippers and grey wagtails in the river. To visit Conwy Falls Café cross the bridge and left to the road junction. After refreshments take a walk to the Falls through deciduous woodland speckled with wood anemones in spring, when greater spotted and green woodpeckers can be heard.
Back to Penmachno
Return the same way and, after crossing the bridge, take a signposted path on the left. Walk through trees, looking out for violets and wood avens, to a stile. Further on, cross a stile onto a forest track, where you bear left. Take a footpath on the left to the riverbank, continuing through fields below Benar and towards an old farm. A track and field path returns you back to Penmachno.
HOW TO GET THERE
Leave the A5 south of Betws-y-Coed for the B4406 to Penmachno. Buses run there from Llanrwst and Betws-y-Coed.
FIND OUT MORE
Betws-y-Coed Information Centre
Royal Oak Stables
Betws-y-Coed LL24 0AH
Conwy Falls Café
Betws-y-Coed LL24 0PN
Enjoy homemade food before taking a woodland walk to the falls.
Betws-y-Coed LL24 0PU
Stay in a former rectory or a self-catering coach house.
Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant
Betws-y-Coed LL25 0HJ
Discover a traditional Welsh upland farmhouse. Don’t miss the Bible collection in nearly 100 languages.