Post image for Wales Coast Path: Eglwys Fach to Machynlleth

Wales Coast Path: Eglwys Fach to Machynlleth

January 5, 2014 · 18 comments

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 countryside@ceredigion.gov.uk

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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. 

London House, Eglwys Fach, photographed by Charles Hawes

I can’t understand why Anne is not waving me goodbye from her bedroom window!

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.

Mine working above Eglwys Fach photographed by Chjarles Hawes

I wasn’t able to find a specific reference to this mine

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.

I think you can just make out the workings inside the mill

I think you can just make out the workings inside the mill

The little brook that drove it is called the Afon Melindwr.

Afon Melindwr above Eglwys fach, Ceredigion, photographed by Charles Hawes

We ought to be able to harness the power of these little streams in mini hydro schemes.

 The Wales Coast path re-joined me here and to celebrate being back on track, I took a pic of some sheep.

Sheep! As you know. We, like sheep.....

Sheep! As you know. We, like 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.

Not The Wales Coast Path

Not The Wales Coast Path

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.

Forestry track in Garreg wood, Ceredgion, photographed by Charles Hawes

This was one of the more solid bits

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.

Forestry working in Carreg Wood photographed by Charles Hawes

I could see the A487 at this point. Which I didn’t want to be on but it meant that I could locate myself again.

From this spot I had a good view over the Dovey and the railway bridge at Dovey Junction.

View over Dovey Junction from Garreg Woods in Ceredgion, photgraphed by Charles Hawes

I was to be walking though those woods the next day!

 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.

Wizard stuck into a tree in the Llyfnant Valley, photogrpahed from The wales Coast path in Ceredgion by Charles Hawes

Its odd, but this did have some effect on my mood!

The valley narrows quickly and the path follows the little river Llyfnant, joined by several tributaries.

Tributary of the river Llyfnant, Ceredigion, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

All this rushing water makes for an exciting soundscape in the valley

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.

Mined tunnel in the Llyfnant Valley in Ceredigion, photographed from The wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

No bad eh? Is that a pick in the pool or am I imagining things?

 I was rather pleased with the results!

The path climbs away from the river and enters a plantation of  conifers.

Conifer plantation in the Llyfnant Valley, Ceredigion, photographed from The wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

A dense plantation makes for tricky photography

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.

Woods in the Llyfnant Valley, Ceredigion, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Definitely fuzzy!

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.

Woodland in the Llayfnant Valley, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Just before the forest finished two abandoned 4 feet long metal hoops looked like giant staples.  Part of the mining? Or some agricultural relic?

Anne thought they resembled a Giant's hairpins

Anne thought they resembled a Giant’s hairpins

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.

View from The Wales Coast Path appoarching Macyynlleth from the south, photographed by Charles Hawes

Where’s the sheep?

It is as if some land artist had been given trees as their palette and had created an abstract collage.

Mixed woodland near Machynlleth photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Someone definitely thought about that arrangement of the conifers.

 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. 

Finger Post where The Wales Coast Path joins Glyndwr's Way near Machynlleth

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.

View to Machynlleth  appoaching it from the south on The wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

Machynlleth – one of Wales’ better market towns

 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.

This one is of the Wales Coast Path

This one is of the Wales Coast Path

Time for tea!

 

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wareham January 5, 2014 at 9:51 am

I could have given you a picture of our tea.

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Charles January 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Do send me it- I’ll add it in.
x

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Paul Steer January 5, 2014 at 10:19 am

Great pics again, you are getting increasingly arty. Melindwr means watermill.

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Charles January 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Diolch yn fawr

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Neil January 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Sounds and looks like a lovely walk, and not too long. The pic / view of the pastel trees looks lovely, and the mines look intriguing…. And love the idea of someone just placing wizards around the place. Perhaps I should start the same, but with Smurfs :)

Not sure why you’re so agin sheep, though…

Xxx

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Charles January 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Yes, really enjoyed it. Quite a little adventure. Would love to have explored the flooded mine with waders and a torch. I LOVE sheep!

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rob grover January 6, 2014 at 9:49 am

Hi Charles: Happy New Walking Year
A whole blog entry without a sea view and, with these estuary walks, only brief glimpses of the river
It’s all part of the great variety of the WCP
Not too much to offend your eyes this time and lots of therapeutic vistas
It’d great that a small town like Machynlleth has a MOMA, up there with the big boys, as long as it survives the Council cuts
I’ve read and heard that Tenby has a great little Museum/Gallery with a cafe: we will be there on Thursday and do like a good walk followed by a good cafe

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Charles January 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Happy New Year, Rob. Yes, it made a nice change in a way. I wonder what damage I’ll find when I next return to the coast. That sea front at Aberystwyth has been savaged! Do go the Tenby museum- it’s once of the nicest little museums I’ve even been in.

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Nigel January 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Once again, a delightful read/view. (The only answer I can give to yr question about the pick in the pool is that it is not a pig in a poke).
These photographic blogs of yrs are immeasurably worth doing and must give great pleasure to yr many followers.

Nigel

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Charles January 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Thank you. This was one of the least exciting walks and certainly one of the shortest but there’s nothing like getting lost to add spice to the day.

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John January 6, 2014 at 7:26 pm

A little question: you indicate that you have walked 488 miles along the Wales Coast Path so far. Is that the official distance that you would have walked had you actually stayed on the path (ISTR you cheated in a car once apart from regularly getting lost), the actual distance you have actually walked on the path when you haven’t got lost or the actual distance you have actually walked in total, including unnecessary diversions, retracing your steps to find the right route etc?

Apart from that, we need to carefully consider whether the Coast Path is joined by Glyndwr’s Way or, conversely, joins it. Given that it was there first, I would expect it more correct to used the latter expression of the conjunction.

Unusual sparsity of sheep given the location but maybe they were warned you were coming or, perhaps, were meeting to discuss charging appearance fees. Usual high quality pics though we can’t just make out the workings inside the mill from that photo – only you might stand a chance. I look forward to next week’s forestry photography.

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Charles January 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

As you thought, this is the “official” mileage that I have started putting up now. And as you rightly point out, I am a deviant. As far as I know there is no book to sign or badge to claim if I get to the end of the path, though if a book gets opened or a badge minted I know that I am compromised. We all have crosses to bear and I shall just have to live with the knowledge that at the end you would not feel that I had really “done” the WCP. *sighs*
I think the point about the joining thing is that because the WCP is the far longer path the Glyndwr way can reasonable be said to join the WCP at that point. But I accept that this may not seem a reasonable point of view to others. I would not go to the stake on the point.
I don’t want to over-sheep the blog but will certainly continue to acknowledge their presence. But I am sorry to say that the next post will be next week now, not this coming sunday. I hope that my warning you now gives you time to plan your weekend around this gap.

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rob grover January 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I think that we know, and respect that it’s the Charles Hawes Welsh Coastal Route, with thanks and acknowledgements to the Wales Coastal Path

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Charles January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

Nicely put!

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Neil January 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Charles did actually crouch in the back of my car, and galloped like mad as I drove him through that titchy bit he missed… He is a purist, after all…

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Charles January 7, 2014 at 11:46 am

Thank you Neil, but I think I have a duty of honesty to my readers. Lets admit that you had me tied up and ambushed and were only prepared to release me once we had got to that point. You are the Watson to my Sherlock.

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Iain Robinson April 23, 2014 at 12:22 pm

A very interesting post. The exposure of the mine adit is excellent…and the submerged thing is probably the remains of a metal cable for winching trolleys/drams out. I have no idea what the mysterious metal things are, although they are made properly from lightweight mine rail…they look like collars for horses, although obviously not…fascinating. I haven’t explored this area properly and looking at these two adits makes me think I will have a closer look – thanks!

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Charles April 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Thanks a lot Iain. Your blog is fab, too. I love all this industrial stuff one comes across. A mate and I had a great weekend in Blaenau a couple of years back, exploring the slate mines there. Re the pic- this is where flash comes in useful sometimes. The camera saw more than I did.

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