Rhyd Ddu is a small village in Snowdonia.
The name of this village, translated from the Welsh, means "Black Ford", and the village would originally have grown up around this crossing point on the Afon Gwyrfai river. Since the 19th century Rhyd Ddu has been a popular starting point for climbers ascending Snowdon, the village is also the main centre from which to climb Moel Hebog and the Nantlle Ridge to the west.
Rhyd Ddu lies on the A4085 road between Beddgelert and Caernarfon, at the junction with the B4418 Nantlle Valley road. It is served by the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon and Porthmadog , and by Bws Gwynedd and Snowdon Sherpa bus services.
Most visitors to Rhyd Ddu are here to climb Snowdon. As you might guess the Rhyd Ddu Path starts from the village itself, while the Snowdon Ranger Path starts just under a mile to the north of the village, from the eponymous youth hostel and railway station.
While most walkers and climbers head east from the village up the Snowdon paths, those seeking a more solitary experience should head west for the underrated Nantlle Ridge, the westernmost of Snowdonia's mountain ranges, which offers marvellous views of Snowdon itself to the east, and the Lleyn peninsula and Tremadog Bay to the south and west.
The famous Dorothea Quarry is located 9km to the west of the village, in the Nantlle Valley. Dorothea is a flooded disused quarry, which is now a popular (unofficial) training site for divers from across Wales and central and north-west England. It has acquired a bit of a bad name due to a number of accidents and fatalities. Parts of the quarry are up to 100m (300ft) deep, and it seems that some divers are tempted to push the limits too far.
There is no shop in Rhyd Ddu, soft drinks, snacks and fruit can be purchased from the tea rooms. There are a number of shops in Beddgelert, 5km to the south.
- Ty Mawr B&B and Tea Room, Rhyd Ddu, LL54 6TL, ☎ +44 1766 890837. Tea room open 09.30-17.30, closed Tuesdays. Cosy little cafe serving teas and coffees, all day breakfast, sandwiches, snacks etc. As the name suggests, they also offer B&B accommodation.
- The Cwellyn Arms, Rhyd Ddu, LL54 6TL, ☎ +44 1766 890321, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. has several cask ales on tap. CAMRA 2000 Award for best pub on display. This pub also owns the campsite mentioned in the camping section below. The owner is welcoming and will give advice on how to tackle Snowdon and other activities. The pub is a jumble of bygone artifacts with real log fire.
- Snowdon Ranger YHA (Just under a mile to the north of the village, on the shore of Llyn Cwellyn (you can swim in the lake)), ☎ +44 845 371 9659, fax: +44 1286 650093, e-mail: email@example.com. This YHA hostel is open all year. The popular Snowdon Ranger path to the summit of Snowdon begins at the rear at the rear of the hostel. Conveniently, the WHR has a station here so you won't have to walk from Rhyd Ddu if arriving by train. The hostel is situated next to the road - ask for a room to the rear if possible.
- Cwellyn Arms Campsite (Off the main road, to the north of the village on the shore of Llyn Cwellyn), ☎ +44 1766 890321. Owned by the Cwellyn Arms pub in the village, this is set in an exquisite location on the edge of a lake and forest. Dips in the lake are madness, but great fun (v. clear water) and facilities are good. Only downside is that logs for a fire are dear at £3 for a bag that will last you an afternoon. Fires (in fire pits) and dogs allowed. The pub has a good and informative website (see Drink section). The campsite is a good base for the Snowdon Ranger walk and has hot showers and good washing/drying facilities. The slightly eccentric owner makes jokes regarding bears in the woods and crocodiles in the lake however the humour soon flies out the window should you light a fire in the wrong area. Adults £6-8 per night. Under 12s £4-5 per night.