Date walked: 26th November 2013
Distance walked: about 7 miles
Cumulative total of miles walked along The Wales Coast Path: 488
The official website of the Wales Coast path is http://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/default.aspx
OS map required: OL23 - Cadair Idris and Lyn Tegid. I get all my maps from Dash4it. They are well discounted, and delivery is free and fast.
Most of this part of The Wales Coast Path comes within the Ceredigion Council’s area, although machynlleth is in Powys. Ceredigion’s Coastal Access Officers can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
My base for this walk was London House in Eglwys Fach, so I had time for a leisurely bowl of porridge before setting off on a very grey day.
From opposite the cottage a steep little tarmacked No Through Road climbs up the side of Foel Fawr to re-join the Wales Coast Path at a property called Melindwr. On the way I passed a neat hole in the side of the hill – evidence of the extensive mining history of the area.
One of the farm buildings at Melindwr was a mill; its little metal wheel was still intact. I would have loved to have had a look inside.
The little brook that drove it is called the Afon Melindwr.
The Wales Coast path re-joined me here and to celebrate being back on track, I took a pic of some sheep.
On the map the path leaves this little road at some point but I managed to get to the end of it without finding where, so I retraced my steps and headed off on a farm track in what seemed like the right direction.
This track came to and end in a field at the end of which was a stone wall. I climbed over and found myself in the middle of a forestry operation.
The tracks made by the logging machinery were very muddy but I followed them on the basis that they would lead me out of the wood and back down the hill. They did- passing a loading operation; no one seemed bothered by my presence.
From this spot I had a good view over the Dovey and the railway bridge at Dovey Junction.
The track joined the A487 and I only had half a mile to walk along this busy road before another minor road heads up the Llyfnant Valley. Once again I re-found the Wales Coast Path just before it crosses the river and headed due east up the valley.
Tucked into a hole in a tree above me I noticed a figure of a wizard.
The valley narrows quickly and the path follows the little river Llyfnant, joined by several tributaries.
In the solid rock walls by the path I passed another mined cave, this one with a pool of water at its entrance. I could see no further in than a few feet so climbed up to the entrance and tried several exposures using the camera’s flash.
I was rather pleased with the results!
The path climbs away from the river and enters a plantation of conifers.
Taking pictures is problematic in such low light levels. The camera tries to get a decent exposure, which makes the image appear lighter than it is and can only do so by using shutter speeds which I would normally use a tripod with, thus making the images more likely to by a bit “fuzzy” from camera movement and from increased “noise” from it’s sensor.
But to keep the mood of the place I don’t want to “improve” the image too much. What was engaging me was looking out of this dense wood to where the light was; in the canopy or at the edges of the plantation where deciduous trees were still holding their golden leaves.
Just before the forest finished two abandoned 4 feet long metal hoops looked like giant staples. Part of the mining? Or some agricultural relic?
At the top of the valley a pasture marks the presence of a nearby farm. The path rejoins a minor road that heads north towards Machynlleth. Despite the gloomy light, there were fine views to the surrounding hills.
It is as if some land artist had been given trees as their palette and had created an abstract collage.
The path takes a hairpin bend and then crosses a field to join another small road that leads directly to Machynlleth. It rises a little and on the way is joined by Glyndwr’s Way.
I must have been here many years ago as I have walked from Knighton to Machynlleth on this excellent trail. The path then leaves this little road and drops down across the fields to the town.
Anne was meeting in the town in an hour so I had time to pop into the Museum of Modern Art where there were four exhibitions. I very much liked Ian Phillp’s linocuts, could live without Linda Caswells rather fancy porcelain, and was not excited by Ian Jacob’s “Work in Progress”. What I found really engaging, though, were the geometric interpretations of landscapes by Neil Johnson.
Time for tea!