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Llyn Crafnant is a lake that lies in a beautiful valley in North Wales where the northern edge of the Gwydir Forest meets the lower slopes of the Carneddau mountains and, more specifically, the ridge of Cefn Cyfarwydd. The head of the valley offers a profile of crags which are silhouetted at sunset, and many people regard the lake as one of the most beautiful spots in North Wales. Indeed, the Forest Park guide (2002) states that "the (view along Llyn Crafnant) is one of the most breathtaking views in all Snowdonia". At 63 acres (250,000 m2) it is the best part of a mile long, although it was clearly once much longer - its southern end shows the evidence of centuries of silting. Jehu’s survey (see references) recorded a maximum depth of 71 ft (22 m).
Crafnant takes its name from “craf”, an old Welsh word for garlic, and “nant”, a stream or valley. Even today the Crafnant valley smells of wild garlic when it flowers.
The lake can be reached by car only from Trefriw in the Conwy valley, though many visitors walk there from the village or from the neighbouring lake of Llyn Geirionydd, which runs parallel to it, but a mile distant, the two being separated by Mynydd Deulyn – “mountain of the two lakes”. The lake can also be reached on foot Capel Curig.
There is a Forestry Commission car park with toilets, which is reached just before the lake itself, and the lakeside cafe offering parking for patrons. The lake is a popular fishing spot, and is kept stocked with brown trout and rainbow trout. From the cafe it is possible to hire boats for fishing or for pleasure. Private boating and swimming is not permitted.
The lake is a reservoir, and was dammed at its northern end in 1874, but the dam itself is barely visible as the outflow plunges down steeply from it. By the outflow is an obelisk, erected in 1896 by the inhabitants of Llanrwst which commemorates "the gift to that town of this lake with 19 acres (77,000 m2) of land" by Richard James. The fact that the lake no longer serves this purpose means that the inhabitants of Llanrwst and Trefriw have nowadays to pay for their water like everyone else. The lake is leased to the owners of what is now the cafe.
In the upper part of the valley there is no mains water connection and during the particularly dry summer of 2006 many properties were without water.
The River Crafnant ("Afon Crafnant" in Welsh) joins the River Conwy at Trefriw, but not before some of it has been diverted to pass through the woollen mills to generate hydro-electricity for the mill.
Cornel, a large property in 25 acres (100,000 m2) on the southern banks of the lake, is owned and operated by the Welsh Scout Council.
Areas around the lake have been used for location shots in Hollyoaks, Tomb Raider II, the 1981 fantasy movie Dragonslayer, and the lake also appeared briefly in the 1966 film Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment.
October 21st, 2013
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