Penceunant Isaf, near Llanberis

Penceunant Isaf, near Llanberis

This café building, beside the popular Llanberis Path to Snowdon summit, is thought to date from the late 18th century. It was built by the Vaynol Estate, the major owner of land on this side of Snowdon, as a home for one of its foresters.

Penceunant describes this area near the head of Ceunant Mawr waterfall. The area is named as Pen-y-ceunant on Victorian maps. Pen is Welsh for “head”. Ceunant means gorge or ravine. Isaf denotes that this house is lower than nearby Penceunant Uchaf (also built by the Vaynol Estate)

Forester William Griffith lived here from 1840. He had a dog named Prince, which he'd adopted after it followed him to the pub one night. He died in 1861, aged 52.

A later forester here was Owen Williams. His body was found below the waterfall in November 1887. Rumours of foul play quickly spread, but a police sergeant told the inquest there were no marks of a scuffle at the scene. Owen’s hat had been found between the house and the river. The jury concluded that he fell accidentally to his death having left the road in the darkness; it suggested his hat may have blown off and he went in search of it.

The estate sold the house in 1958. It was a holiday home until it was gutted by fire in the 1980s. It was more than 200 Welsh properties set on fire from 1979 to 1991 by the secretive Meibion Glyndŵr (“Sons of Glyndŵr”) campaign. Meibion Glyndŵr protested at the impact that large numbers of holiday homes in rural communities could have on local life and the Welsh language, with young people unable to stay in their native areas because housing was too expensive.

Postcode: LL55 4UW    View Location Map

Website of Penceunant Isaf café