Hafod Estate, near Aberystwyth

What's here

Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust have signed a lease agreement transferring the management of Hafod to the National Trust.

 

The National Trust now cares for 200 hectares at Hafod, including its extensive grounds, restored historic gardens and walking trails.

 

This web page gives an overview about visiting the Hafod and it will remain live for a limited time.

 

Welcome

The Hafod Estate was designed in the late eighteenth century by Thomas Johnes and it soon became an essential destination for visitors touring Wales in search of “wild nature”.

The walking trails explore this historic landscape which varies widely in character from grazed parkland and different types of woodland to the River Ystwyth gorge with its bridges and waterfalls.

Johnes built a new house in this remote location and laid out its grounds in the Picturesque style which was fashionable at the time.

He designed the walks so that visitors could enjoy the landscape as an ever-changing sequence of views.

Today the mansion has gone and Hafod lies within a working forest.

Visiting the Hafod Estate

The National Trust now cares for 200 hectares at Hafod, including its extensive grounds, restored historic gardens and walking trails.

There are five walking trails of varying length and difficulty waymarked from the main car park.

They include the two classic circular routes created by Thomas Johnes in his first years at Hafod - the strenuous Gentleman’s Walk and the gentler Lady’s Walk.

These two historic trails take you past Picturesque features like the Cavern Cascade, Rustic Bridge, Tunnel and Mossy Seat Falls.

You can also visit the church, Eglwys Newydd, built by Johnes in 1803 and the only substantial structure surviving from that time. Today it is home to an exhibition about the history of the estate.

There are picnic areas in the main car park and by the river on the Lady’s Walk and portable toilets in the main car park.

For the latest information about visiting the Hafod Estate go to the National Trust website.

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from the main Hafod car park.

Please read the trail descriptions to make sure you pick a walk that is suitable for you.

Please note:

  • The starting point for some walking trails is not at the car park and so you may need to follow part of another trail or a link route to reach the starting point of your chosen route
  • The distances given below show the length of the trail itself and the total distance from the car park and back (for those trails that do not start at the car park)
  • There are stiles, steep ground and steps on all of the waymarked walking trails

The walks guide contains a map and description of all the walks.

Download a PDF of the walks guide from the bottom of this page.

Bedford Monument Walk

  • Distance: 1 mile/1.6 kilometres
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Trail description: This circular route is the shortest walk from the car park. The trail does a circuit of Cefn Creigiau ridge and avoids the steep descent to the valley floor. 

This is not one of Johnes’ historical circuits, but it goes to a moment erected in 1805 to commemorate the fifth Duke of Bedford.

Take in the views over Hafod and beyond from the obelisk viewpoint.

Coed Hafod Walk

  • Distance: ¾ mile/1.2 kilometres one way (1½ miles/2.4 kilometres there and back via suggested return route)
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Trail description: A linear (one way) walk through the woodland. You need to choose a return route using other walks or estate drives (a suggested return route is marked on the map).

The Coed Hafod Walk passes through different types of woodland that are home to a great variety of wildlife.

In spring the woodlands are colourful with bluebells and yellow azaleas.

There are views to the river, the mansion fields and pond, and distant hills.

Ystwyth Gorge Walk

  • Distance: 1 mile/1.6 kilometres (2 miles/3.2 kilometres total distance from car park and back via Lady’s Walk to starting point)
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Trail description: The quickest way to access the Ystwyth Gorge Walk is to follow the Lady’s Walk clockwise past the church to where its starting point is signposted. Despite the dramatic scenery along the walk, the gradients are for the most part fairly gentle, but there are steep drops beside the path.

Experience the dramatic River Ystwyth gorge from the Chain Bridge, especially after heavy rain.

This spectacular route takes you on a long, narrow loop up one side of the Ystwyth gorge and down the other.

Lady’s Walk (includes the Garden Walk)

  • Distance: 2¼ miles/3.6 kilometres
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Trail description: The Lady’s Walk is one of the two classic circular routes created by Thomas Johnes in his first years at Hafod and described by many early visitors.  

Follow this historical route past a waterfall and key features of Thomas Johnes’s estate.

It takes in scenery that varies widely in character, contrasting the undulating landscape of grazed parkland with narrow wooded valleys and rushing streams.

Along the route, there is a choice between the Garden Walk – a narrow but fairly level woodland path that passes through the Flower Garden – or the meadow path that continues along the riverside.

Gentleman’s Walk

  • Distance: 3¾ miles/6 kilometres (5¾ miles/9 kilometres total distance from car park and back via Lady’s Walk to starting point)
  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Trail description: To reach the starting point, you need to follow the Lady’s Walk anticlockwise. The Gentleman’s Walk is the most strenuous of the Hafod Walks, and you should be reasonably fit with footwear suitable for steep and uneven ground. Please note that the Cavern Cascade cave is closed for safety reasons. 

Marvel at Picturesque features like the Rustic Bridge, Tunnel and Mossy Seat Falls on this historic trail.

The Gentleman’s Walk is the second Picturesque circuit created by Johnes and passes through wilder scenery and steeper ground than the other walks at Hafod.

Accessibility information

There is disabled only parking at Mrs Johnes Flower Garden.

From here, you can access a gentle walk around the garden with views over the river Ystwyth and a riverside picnic site.

There is an accessible portable toilet in the main car park (next to the church).

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

How to get here

Location

The Hafod Estate is 15 miles south east of Aberystwyth. 

It is in the county of Ceredigion.

Directions

Take the A4120 from Aberystwyth towards Devil's Bridge.

Follow the brown and white signs from Devil’s Bridge via the B4574 to the car park.

Ordnance Survey (OS) map

The Hafod Estate is on OS Explorer map 213.

The OS grid reference is SN 768 736.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is Aberystwyth.

For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.

Contact details

Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust have signed a lease agreement transferring the management of Hafod to the National Trust.

The National Trust now cares for 200 hectares at Hafod, including its extensive grounds, restored historic gardens and walking trails.

For the latest information about the Hafod go to the National Trust website.

Related document downloads

Other places in Mid Wales

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