In its Victorian heyday, Barmouth’s Panorama Walk was a must do to the extent that there was a tea room and an admission charge. Those days are long gone and your average visitor is unlikely to be aware that there is a walk never mind be able to summon up the reserves of energy required to attempt the climb. However, with the advent of modern technology, i.e. the car, you can whittle the walk down to manageable proportions by cutting out the trudge of the road walk.
Craig yr Aderyn (Bird Rock) is a rocky outcrop given its name by the nesting cormorants and choughs that make it their home. Typically, cormorants nest near the sea and not 6-miles’ from it! This answer to this riddle is that the Irish Sea, 400-500 years ago, inundated the valley and lapped at the foot of Craig yr Aderyn before it started its inexorable retreat back to Cardigan Bay. The cormorants, being creatures of habit, mortgaged to the hilt, and hit by the late medieval property slump, saw no reason to relocate.
The Torrent Walk is probably one of the most popular low-level circular walks in Snowdonia and takes you through the striking gorge formed by the river Clywedog. The path was commissioned by Baron Richards of the mansion Plas Caerynwch and built by Thomas Payne and his son. The path is now maintained by the Snowdonia National Park. Being 2-3 Km you can rush the walk in an hour or take your time, as we did, and spend most of the morning.
When you think of Barmouth, what images spring to mind? Whatever your age there’s a good chance that they’ll include donkey rides, deckchairs, candy floss, wind brakes, sandcastles, crabbing, ice-cream and the dodgems. When we visited in August Barmouth had all that together with yapping dogs, running kids, stressed mums and dive-bombing seagulls.
Snowdonia is blessed with spectacular scenery but to appreciate it fully you need to get out there with your walking boots on. With nearly 1,500 miles of public footpaths there is something to suit all abilities – you have no excuses.
Being neither fit nor agile we were on the look-out for a walk that wasn’t too demanding but still offered plenty to see and admire. Googling we came across something called the Precipice Walk which appeared to fit the bill.
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.
Nant Gwernol is a rocky river gorge high above the Talyllyn Valley and offers a couple of walks steeped in the history of the Welsh slate industry. The Cascade Trail is a one mile circular walk starting at the Nant Gwernol Station which follows the riverside and offers picturesque views of a series of falls and the surrounding forest.
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.