Category Archives: History

The Mawddach Trail

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Mawddach Trail

The Mawddach Trail is a 9-mile sign-posted trail along the river estuary between Dolgellau and Barmouth.   The trail follows the route of a disused Great Western railway line and is suitable for walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs and pushchairs.  If you don’t fancy the entire trail, or if your visit is short, there are plenty of free car parking places along route (e.g. A493/A470 junction). If you are a keen bird watcher, then the estuary is a real magnet for migratory birds and the trail takes you through RSPB protected areas. 
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The Church of St. Cadfan

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St. Cadfan's Church

The Church of St. Cadfan is the oldest building in Tywyn with parts dating back to the 12th century although there are records indicating that a church settlement, or clas, was founded around 516 AD by Cadfan, a missionary from Brittany, centred around the nearby well.  Cadfan’s church became the mother church for all churches in the region with the monks at Tywyn establishing an ecclesiastical college (the street that runs alongside the church is still called College Green).
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Machynlleth

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Machynlleth Wednesday Market

Machynlleth is a market town to the south of Tywyn that has special significance in the history of Wales because of its connection with Owain Glyndŵr. Owain led the campaign for Welsh independence between 1400 and 1415 and Machynlleth is the site for the first Welsh Parliament held in 1404. This Parliament was held in the Parliament buildings which are still open to the public today. The earliest written reference to Machynlleth relates to a Royal charter granted by Edward I to Owen de la Pole, Lord of Powys, in 1291, giving him the right to hold “a market at Machynlleth every Wednesday for ever and two fairs every year”. This Wednesday market is still a busy and popular day in Machynlleth 700 years later.
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Fairbourne’s Blue Lake

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The Blue Lake

**** UPDATE  21/05/2019 The entrance to the Blue Lake has been blocked – the dragon’s nostrils.  You can still do the climb but you cannot now swim in the lake. ****

The Blue Lake occupies high ground in the old Goleuwern Slate Quarry above Fairbourne and is one of Snowdonia’s secret gems. Whilst most of our attractions are well sign-posted, the Blue Lake is hidden away without even a sign at the start of the path which leads to the lake.  All you get is a fairly nondescript public right-of-way sign; that’s it.  I know people who have been coming to this part of Wales for 20-years and did not even know it existed.  It’s not surprising that the Blue Lake has found its way on to the BBC’s Secret Britain, especially when the Welsh tourist board merely hint at its existence.  Have a look for yourself at how VisitWales leave you hanging.
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Tonfanau Army Base

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Tonfanau

Tonfanau (pronounced ton-van-eye) is an old military camp, just half a mile from Tywyn, used during the Second World War as an anti-aircraft training facility; a row of gunning placements pointing out to sea still runs along the shore. The trainees were supplied with targets by the nearby RAF Tywyn who riskily towed disposable gliders(the targets) using Hawker Henleys. There is one story of a Henley towing a target for the camp when the Royal Artillery were operating a new radar system and the gunners did not bother waiting for the second blip before letting fly. As rounds exploded around him, the pilot hastily radioed down to the Army saying “that they were towing the target; not pushing it”. Not surprisingly, the preferred aircraft for artillery training was the remote-controlled Queen Bee which was an unmanned version of the Tiger Moth.

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More Pictures of Tywyn’s Petrified Forest

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Peat-bed

We popped-down to the beach again this weekend and took the opportunity to snap a few more pictures of the ancient uncovered forest. Depending on which report you read, the tree stumps and trunks that you find are between 3,500 and 6,000 years’ old.

The beach is proving to be a real tourist attraction! If you fancy popping down yourself, the submerged forest is clearly visible at low tide. Get yourself to the promenade, turn to face the sea, and then turn left. Walk for a couple of hundred metres down on to the beach and there it is.

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Tywyn’s Petrified Forest & The Welsh Atlantis

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Peat-bed

The storms that hit the Welsh coastline in January 2014 caused thousands of pounds of damage to coastal defences and buildings but did have a silver lining as they uncovered 4-miles of ancient woodland stretching between Tywyn and Aberdyfi that had previously been submerged beneath the sand and shingle.  Whilst it is not uncommon for storms to reveal parts of Tywyn’s Petrified Forest it has been many years since such a large area has been revealed.

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Snowdonia Car-free Holiday – Harlech Castle – Day One

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Harlech Castle

If you are planning a holiday in Snowdonia, then you really must find time to visit one of our historic castles. Harlech Castle is a world heritage site which towers above Cardigan Bay atop a spur of rock. The castle was built by Edward I in the 13th century as part of his formidable ‘iron ring’ of fortresses designed to keep a watchful eye over the troublesome Welsh. The other iron ring castles, at Conwy, Caernarfon, and Beaumaris, are within a day’s marching distance of each other and can be similarly supplied from the sea.

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