Dinas Mawddwy to Barmouth
Rivers, lakes, coastline: this route has water, water everywhere
Follow the route - Dinas Mawddwy to Barmouth
> From Dinas Mawddwy continue along the A470 and then left on the A487 for 14 miles (23km) to Corris.
Corris is an old slate mining village with a craft centre, where tourists can watch traditional craftsmen at work. There is also a Railway Museum and, to the south, at the disused Llwyngwern Quarry, is the Centre for Alternative Technology, the world renowned eco centre.
Places to stay near Corris
> Drive southwards along the unclassified road on the eastern side of the river through Esgairgeiliog. Turn right on to the B4404, join the A487 for a short distance, then turn right on the A493 to Aberdyfi.
Sailing boats have now replaced the cargo ships that once traded at this harbour on the sheltered Dyfi Estuary. There is a fine sandy beach along the coast, and you can take a ferry trip across to Ynyslas, with its vast expanse of sand dunes and marshland. The town achieved fame in the song The Bells of Aberdyfi; ghostly church bells are said to ring from an ancient town which was completely flooded by the sea.
Places to stay in Aberdyfi
> Drive north along the A493 for 5 miles (8km) to Tywyn.
There are miles of golden sandy beaches at this popular seaside resort which is excellent for surfing and sailing. St Cadfan’s Church dates back to Norman times and houses St Cadfan’s Stone, a 7-foot (2m) monument some 1300 years old. The inscriptions on it are thought to be the oldest known writing in Welsh. Tywyn is famous for the Talyllyn Railway, which runs inland for 7 miles (11km).
Places to stay in Tywyn
> Leave Tywyn on the A493, but turn inland along the B4405 to Abergynolwyn.
Two miles (3km) west of Abergynolwyn, along an unclassified road, is the romantic ruin of Castell y Bere, built by Llywelyn the Great in the 13th century. Further still is Craig yr Aderyn (Bird Rock), thought to be the only inland nesting place of cormorants in Britain, but also the home for choughs, kestrels and feral goats.
Places to stay near Abergynolwyn
> Take an unclassified road heading westwards through Llanegryn back towards the coast, then the A493 to Fairbourne.
Fairbourne is a popular holiday base with a sandy beach and miles of safe swimming, where windsurfing is a great attraction. So, too, is the Fairbourne Railway which was built in the 1890s as a horse-drawn tramway. It was later converted to steam and now runs 2 miles (3.2km) from Fairbourne to the end of the peninsula at Barmouth Ferry. The main line Cambrian coast railway also runs through here.
Places to stay near Fairbourne
> Rejoin and continue along the A493 to Dolgellau.
Dolgellau has always been a major route centre and is still an important regional capital and market centre. Tourism has replaced its main industry, flannel-weaving, and all that remains of this former occupation are the ruins of the fulling mills on the banks of the River Aran. Every July the town hosts a folk festival based around Eldon Square. Walking is popular, and there are strenuous walks up to the summit of Cader Idris, as well as gentle strolls. A delightful route nearby is the Torrent Walk, from Brithdir to the falls of the Afon Clywedog.
Places to stay in Dolgellau
> Join the A470 to Llanelltyd, then turn left on to the A496 back to Barmouth.
In summer, this Victorian seaside resort is heavily infiltrated by those seeking sun, sand and fun. Dodgem cars, funfair rides and chip shops all come alive to cater for its visitors – a Welsh Blackpool in miniature, if you like (though without the stomach-churning rollercoasters).