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Berwyn range

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Subject: Corwen, Denbighshire, National nature reserves in Wales, Moel Sych, Cadair Bronwen
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Berwyn range

Berwyn range is located in the United Kingdom
Berwyn range
Location of Berwyn Mountains, Wales.
Cadair Berwyn, with Llyn Lluncaws in the foreground
summit of Moel Sych
Summit of Cadair Bronwen, looking towards Cadair Berwyn

The Berwyn range (Welsh: Y Berwyn or Mynydd y Berwyn) is an isolated and sparsely populated area of moorland located in the northeast of Wales, roughly bounded by Llangollen in the northeast, Corwen in the northwest, Bala in the southwest, and Oswestry in the southeast.


  • Description 1
  • History 2
  • Supposed UFO crash 3
  • Ecology 4
  • Etymology 5
  • Peaks 6
  • References 7


The area is wild and largely vegetated by heather about one metre thick, with some acidic grassland and bracken. It is not very popular for hill-walking or scrambling since the peaks are lower than those in nearby Snowdonia. However, the topmost peaks are rugged and have a distinctive character well worth exploring. Nearby towns include Llangollen and Corwen, which are popular tourist destinations.

The main summits are Cadair Berwyn at 830 metres (2,723 ft) above sea level, Moel Sych at 827 metres (2,713 ft) and Cadair Bronwen at 784 metres (2,572 ft) above sea level. The Berwyn range is crossed to the south-west by the B4391 Milltir Cerrig mountain pass at an altitude of 486 metres (1,594 ft).

Cadair Berwyn is the highest point in the Berwyn range, and the highest significant summit in Wales outside the National Parks. Cadair Bronwyn and Cyrniau Nod to the west are the two Marilyns that form the Berwyn range.

The mountain lies on main ridge of the Berwyn range which runs north–south. The eastern side of the ridge is characterised by steep drops and crags including Craig Berwyn north of the summit and Craig y Llyn to the south. Craig y Llyn forms the headwall of a cwm, and it is to this that the word cadair (chair in Welsh) presumably refers. Further north along the ridge is Cadair Bronwen, whilst to south the ridge continues to Moel Sych (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈmɔil ˈsɨːx], meaning 'dry hill').

It is often reported that Moel Sych, 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) along the ridge, is of equal height, but Cadair Berwyn's spot height on the Ordnance Survey maps, where the trig point stands, is not the true summit. Cadair Berwyn's summit, 200 metres (219 yd) south of the trig point, is three metres taller than Moel Sych. This summit is listed as Cadair Berwyn New Top on the Nuttall list.

Several other summits in the area are listed as Hewitts or Nuttalls, including Foel Wen ([ˈvɔil ˈwɛn], Welsh for white hill) and Mynydd Tarw ([ˈmɐnɨð ˈtæɾu], bull mountain).

The summit lies on the border between Powys and Denbighshire, and is the highest point in Denbighshire. The northern end of Craig Berwyn is the highest point in Wrexham county borough.


There is a standing stone in the area, located near the summit between Cadair Berwyn and Tomle. This was re-erected in June 2008 by High Sports. The standing stone can be found at SJ080337[2].

The Berwyn range also played its part in causing King Henry II of England to turn back during his invasion of Gwynedd in 1165. Rather than taking the usual route along the northern coastal plain, his army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyns. The English invasion faced an alliance of Welsh princes led by King Owain Gwynedd, but there was little fighting – endless days of heavy rain forced the English to retreat.

Supposed UFO crash

At 8.38 pm on 23 January 1974, an earthquake of magnitude 3.5 was felt over a wide area of north Wales and as far as Liverpool. Since earthquakes are uncommon in the UK, it was not generally recognized for what it was, and since a number of unusual lights in the sky had been observed the same evening, it was considered possible that an aircraft had crashed, or a meteorite had impacted. Further confusion was caused by lights seen on the Berwyn Mountains, which subsequently turned out to have belonged to poachers.[1]


The area supports substantial populations of upland birds including raptors, such as the hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), merlin (Falco columbarius), and peregrine (Falco peregrinus) (about 14–18 breeding pairs of each species, 1%–2% of the total British population),[2] and for this reason it is a Special Protection Area classified in accordance with the European Union's Birds Directive. Much of the area is also designated a national nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest and forms part of the Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains Special Area of Conservation.[3] Other wildlife include short-eared owl, raven, buzzard, polecat and golden plover.


The scholar T. Gwynn Jones suggested that a possible origin of the term "Berwyn" was "Bryn(iau) Gwyn (ap Nudd)", where the Middle Welsh word "bre" (hill) had mutated to Ber + Gwyn, Gwyn ap Nudd being the mythological King of the Tylwyth teg (Fair Folk, or fairies).[4] A more likely etymology is "bar" (summit, crest) + "gwyn" (white).[5]


Bala, Gwynedd to Welshpool
Between Bala, Gwynedd and Welshpool
Name of Peak OS coordinates Geographical coordinates
Allt y Gader 52.749°N, 3.262°W
Allt y Main 52.727°N, 3.242°W
Bryn Du 52.914°N, 3.272°W
Bryn Gwyn 52.854°N, 3.424°W
Bryn-llus 52.956°N, 3.363°W
Cadair Berwyn 52.880°N, 3.381°W
Cadair Berwyn (N top) 52.883°N, 3.380°W
Cadair Bronwen 52.900°N, 3.373°W
Cadair Bronwen (NE top) 52.906°N, 3.358°W
Carnedd Das Eithin 52.803°N, 3.409°W
Cefn Coch 52.826°N, 3.599°W
Cefn Gwyntog 52.826°N, 3.521°W
Cefn Gwyntog (N top) 52.834°N, 3.522°W
Cerrig Coediog 52.937°N, 3.321°W
Craig Berwyn 52.891°N, 3.373°W
Craig Rhiwarth 52.833°N, 3.405°W
Croes y Forwyn 52.777°N, 3.440°W
Cyrniau 52.815°N, 3.393°W
Cyrniau Nod 52.839°N, 3.503°W
Cyrniau y Llyn 52.807°N, 3.484°W
Ffordd Gefn (Bryn Gwyn) 52.804°N, 3.435°W
Foel Cwm Siân Llwyd 52.869°N, 3.494°W
Foel Dugoed 52.704°N, 3.639°W
Foel Figenau 52.842°N, 3.610°W
Foel Goch (Berwyn) 52.848°N, 3.570°W
Foel Tyn-y-fron 52.817°N, 3.606°W
Foel Wen 52.889°N, 3.340°W
Foel Wen (S peak) 52.886°N, 3.336°W
Foel y Geifr 52.834°N, 3.579°W
Gallt y Goedhwch 52.733°N, 3.279°W
Glan Hafon 52.834°N, 3.367°W
Godor 52.866°N, 3.347°W
Godor (N top) 52.869°N, 3.354°W
Gyrn Moelfre 52.854°N, 3.213°W
Jericho Hill 52.772°N, 3.243°W
Llanymynech Hill 52.791°N, 3.094°W
Lledwyn Mawr 52.844°N, 3.627°W
Moel Bentyrch 52.674°N, 3.399°W
Moel Cae-howel 52.884°N, 3.520°W
Moel Fferna 52.947°N, 3.317°W
Moel Hen-fache 52.843°N, 3.324°W
Moel Poethion 52.865°N, 3.365°W
Moel Sych 52.875°N, 3.389°W
Moel y Fronllwyd 52.748°N, 3.303°W
Moel y Gwelltyn 52.840°N, 3.233°W
Moel yr Ewig 52.874°N, 3.368°W
Moel yr Henfaes 52.935°N, 3.374°W
Moel yr Henfaes (Pen Bwlch Llandrillo peak) 52.921°N, 3.356°W
Moel yr Henfaes (W peak) 52.926°N, 3.341°W
Mynydd Feifod 52.950°N, 3.238°W
Mynydd Mawr 52.847°N, 3.290°W
Mynydd Mynyllod 52.943°N, 3.486°W
Mynydd Tarw 52.881°N, 3.321°W
Mynydd y Bryn 52.833°N, 3.163°W
Mynydd y Glyn 52.790°N, 3.257°W
Mynydd-y-briw 52.825°N, 3.227°W
Pen y Berth 52.704°N, 3.361°W
Pen y Boncyn Trefeilw 52.842°N, 3.542°W
Pen y Cerrig Duon 52.840°N, 3.555°W
Pen-y-coed 52.964°N, 3.153°W
Post Gwyn 52.852°N, 3.415°W
Rhialgwm 52.779°N, 3.402°W
Rhiwaedog-uwch-afon 52.868°N, 3.579°W
Rhos 52.881°N, 3.301°W
Rhwng y Ddwynant 52.811°N, 3.517°W
Stac Rhos 52.838°N, 3.532°W
Tir Rhiwiog 52.732°N, 3.587°W
Tomle 52.891°N, 3.361°W
Trum y Gwrgedd 52.842°N, 3.573°W
Y Golfa 52.654°N, 3.210°W
Y Groes Fagl 52.848°N, 3.504°W
Yr Allt 52.684°N, 3.122°W


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ T. Gwynn Jones, Welsh Folklore and Folk-Custom (1930; new edition 1979). Several other place names in the area also include the element 'Gwyn'.
  5. ^ D. Geraint Lewis, Y Llyfr Enwau – Enwau'r Wlad: A check-list of Welsh Place Names (2007).

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