If you have young children in tow, and have a couple of hours to spare, why not take a trip to Llwyngwril (LL37 2) to check-out what the yarn bombers have crocheted-up this year. What you will find is a trail littered with all manner of knitted creations including Gwril the Giant (the River Gwril runs through Llwyngwril), dragons & mermaids. Pick-up a map from Riverside Stores (£1) and see how many you can track down.
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.
The Cambrian Coast Line is probably the UK’s prettiest railway line running through the Snowdonia National Park and operating between Aberystwyth in the south and Pwllheli in the north.
Discover medieval castles, sandy beaches, nature reserves, steam railways, museums and art galleries all without the hassle of finding a car parking spot when the rest of the world appear to be attempting the exact same thing. For a stress free trip, take the train and hop on and off when and where you fancy.
At the end of the 13th century Edward I invaded Wales determined that the locals would submit to his divine right to rule. He achieved this with stone building a mighty ‘iron ring’ of fortresses with which he encircled the rebellious Welsh princes in their Snowdonian stronghold. This iron ring consisted of Harlech, in the south, and Caernarfon, Colwyn, and a little later, Beaumaris in the north and east.
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.
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.
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.
In the first blog in this series, we got you to Tywyn. In the second, we visited the historic Harlech Castle. In the third, we spent a day with the Talyllyn Railway and in the fourth, we visited the mysterious Portmeirion village and gardens. Our penultimate blog saw us visit the Centre for Alternative Technology. In this final blog, we are going on a beach-walk to Aberdyfi.