Post image for Wales Coast Path: Machynlleth to Aberdovey

Wales Coast Path: Machynlleth to Aberdovey

January 19, 2014 · 16 comments

Date walked: 27th November 2013

Distance walked: about 12 miles

Cumulative total of miles walked along The Wales Coast Path: 500

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.

Once you cross the River Dovey this part of The Wales Coast Path comes within the Gwynedd Council area. To report issues concerning the path, email Llwybrarfordir@gwynedd.gov.uk

NB after Pennal there are no facilities of any sort until you reach Aberdovey.

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The sky was stubbornly grey when I drove off from my base at  London House in Eglwys Fach. My starting point for the walk was Machynlleth and yesterday I had spotted a lay-by just before the town where I had plenty of room to park. I’d packed some fruit and a piece of bara brith, so I had no need to stop at the shops.

Building by the A487 outside Machynlleth, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Zen garden meets Malvern Show chic?

The path keeps to the A487, passing a colourful mural painted onto the gable end of a property with a strange garden before it enters the Snowdonia National Park and Gwynedd and crosses the river Dovey (or Dyfi for the Welsh speakers)

The River Dyfi, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

It felt like quite a big step to enter the massive county of Gwynedd!

After a few hundred yards stroll by the river, a steep little lane climbs up the hillside into the forest surrounding Foel Goch (not to be confused with the much higher Foel Goch elsewhere in Snowdonia).

The wales Coast  Path above Cwm gila near Machynlleth, photographed by Charles Hawes

It was quite a steep road! I bet its treacherous in winter.

The path climbs from the road to near the brow of the hill giving a fine view even on this dull day through a young plantation of  spruce to the cloud covered hills.

View from Foel Goch near Machynlleth photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’m not great on conifer Identification. These might have been Norway Spruce.

The forest is serviced by wide stone covered tracks and the path joins one of these and then follows a sinuous route for about a mile and a half.

Forest track taken by the Wales Coast Path near Foel Goch, photographed by Charles Hawes

See. Sinuous. Just as I said.

The views out to the surrounding hills demonstrate that these days forestry management is at least attempting to provide a more interesting landscape than the block planted monocultures of old.

Mixed species woodland near Pennal, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Quite a mixture of trees. The block in the middle are Larch – deciduous

The landscape is pretty sparse on human habitat. The stupendous view to a cwm below Tarrenhendre (if my orientation is correct) only accommodating a little bungalow.  Whilst the bungalow made for a pretty enough picture, the line of electricity carrying poles that led to it do demonstrate a landscape cost of such isolated dwellings.

Isolated dwelling in the hills near Pennal, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

I can’t tell you the name of this place as I failed to take a compass bearing so you’ll just have to enjoy the view

The path joins a minor road that drops down to the village of Pennal which boasts a pub ( The Riverside Hotel–  Anne and I went there that night and had a very nice burger) and two chapels within spitting distance of one another. Not that the Calvinistic Methodists of Pennal are likely to spit at their Jehovah Witness neighbors, of course.

Calvinistic Methodist chapel in Pennal photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Once again I am indebted to Lightroom for its amazing ability to get verticals to be, well, vertical.

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witness in P{ennal. photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

In fact not a chapel but the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness

The path crosses the A493 and takes  a drive that leads past an ancient earth work (shown on the map as Tomen Las).

Tomen Las castle mound, Pennal, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

The trees are a rather effective later addition.

On the map this drive leads to Talgarth Home farm. That’s a lie.  It leads to the “Plas Talgarth Macdonlads Leisure and Fitness Club” – a resort of bungalows (sorry, I mean “luxury Lodges” and flats).  There’s probably more money in this than sheep.  They are serious about fitness – and health and safety. In the little wood that the path follows they have established a fitness trail.

I think this is what's known as a disclaimer

Just as I was leaving the wood a couple passed me, walking for the first time a pair of  the most gorgeous Jack Russell puppies.

Dear Father Christmas.......

 As I left the wood there was a good view over the Dovey Valley and to the hills that I was walking through yesterday.  You might think that the route would follow the river but the road and railway line are in the way and have occupied the edge of the estuary, so the path heads inland and back into the hills. At the property called Penmaendyfi I was intrigued by a pair of slate plaques fixed into wall of the house.

So what did these other two do between 1999 and 2004?

After re-crossing the A493 the path takes a minor road, passing a superb junk yard, before taking a track through a wood heading up towards Mynydd Y Llyn.

Junk yard by the Wales Coast path near Pennal, photographed by Charles Hawes

Small but exquisitely formed

Part of the wood had been cleared, leaving a scene of apparent devastation but the debris left on the ground was simply what was left after the main timber had been harvested.

Debris from tree felling photographed from The Wales Coast Path near Pennal by Charles Hawes

It’s amazing how much wood is left to rot after felling. I’d be in there with my chainsaw in a flash.

As I climbed the views were opening up and the land becoming populated by sheep.

View over the Dyfi estuary photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’ll give you a better sheep picture in a minute

I passed a memorial stone inscribed Carn March Arthur. This mystery was only partially resolved by google.

Carn March Arthur stone on the Wales Coast path near Aberdovey, photographed by Charles Hawes

A lot of bull of course but it’s a nice piece of carving nevertheless

These last three miles were really a ridge walk with steep views down to the Dovey estuary on one side…..

View over the Dyfi estuary photographed from the Wales Coast approaching Aberdovey by Charles Hawes

There- a perfect sheep pic.

……. and the  Happy Valley on the other.

View over Happy Valley near Aberdovey photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

OK so what makes this valley Happy?

As I was working on the pictures I took that day I was getting rather oppressed by the grey skies so the next few pics demonstrate what can be achieved by processing them in a different way. What I have done was not to add anything but to reduce  the exposure of the sky and increase the degree of contrast in the clouds.

View over Happy Valley near Aberdovey photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

And hey presto, a much more interesting sky!

The track becomes a road again at the isolated cottage of Bwlch Farm.

The Wales  Coast path takes the route of a minor road above Happy Valley, near Aberdovey, photographed by Charles Hawes

The end of  the day is a good time to have an easy surface to walk on, and no more climbing to do and when you can just plod along and enjoy the views.

View over the Dyfi estuary towrds Borth photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

More sheep! That’s the canalised river near Borth on the other side of the estuary

I could have stayed on this road into Aberdovey but instead the path proper requires a muddy, slippery descent through Allt Goch across fields to the town.

View over the Dyfi estuary towards Borth taken from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

An even better view of the estuary!

It was getting a bit gloomy as I took the steps down through the houses built into the hillside; a roofer was still working in the twilight on the Literary Institute.

The Literary Institute in Aberdovey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

it was darker than it looks

But the dusk and lights gave me quite an atmospheric shot of the jetty.

Aberdovey at dusk, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Quite a grainy pic – the camera at full sensitivity and resting on a railing.

My bus was due in 20 minutes so a had a quick nosey round the colourful back streets.

Machynlleth to Aberdovey-49

In a shop window were adverts for a Community Lunch, a Chrismassy (sic) concert and Pole Dancing tuition. It’s a lively place is Aberdovey.

The Lloyds Coaches X39 bus failed to arrive. Which was a shame as I would have taken the opportunity for a cup of tea and a bun if I had known it was not coming. And worrying too, as it was the penultimate bus of the day back to Machynlleth. And I was getting cold, sitting there, in the dark

The next bus did arrive half and hour later. I bent the ear of the driver who denied the previous service’s existence. And once on the bus I rang Lloyds who told me that the bus had run as per the timetable. And I emailed the company who wrote back apologizing that the service had been dropped 9 months previously and offered me a free days ride which I accepted . Like the bus, that never materialised either.

All the photographs on this and most of my other posts were taken on a Canon  compact and were processed from Raw files. High resolution files and/or prints of up to A3+ size can be produced on request. Email me for costs at Charles@veddw.co.uk

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Dru January 19, 2014 at 8:06 am

Well, you know what they say: every welsh village needs two chapels: the one you go to, and the one you *don’t* go to…

Reply

Charles January 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm

I didn’t know that! And now I am thinking about it I don’t know why they would say that. Is the one you don’t go to like an insurance policy in case you fall out with the one you do go to or is this about something else entirely?

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Dru January 20, 2014 at 12:12 am

it’s more like the sort of folk Idris Davies is describing in this poem…

Capel Calvin

There’s holy holy people
They are in capel bach-
They don’t like surpliced choirs,
They don’t like Sospan Fach.

They don’t like Sunday concerts,
Or women playing ball,
They don’t like Williams Parry much
Or Shakespeare at all.

They don’t like beer or bishops,
Or pictures without texts,
They don’t like any other
Of the nonconformist sects.

And when they go to Heaven
They won’t like that too well,
For the music will be sweeter
Than the music played in Hell.

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Charles January 20, 2014 at 10:23 am

My first poem of the blog. Better still one I understand and made me smile. Thank you!

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John January 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

(Whispers – it’s spelt “Llyn”.)

I see that, being unable to stand on the edges of high cliffs to take pics, your lust for danger leads you to stand in the middle of busy Gwynedd roads. Please be careful as vehicles are apt to appear with little more than a week’s notice. Very dramatic tweaked sky too though the grey skies in the earlier pics do bring out the colours of the landscape nicely.

And I hope you split that burger fairly between you and Anne.

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Charles January 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm

My bravery knows no bounds when it comes to taking pictures. Glad you like both my sky styles! I am always impeccably fair with Anne. Always.*goes back to blog to look for near Llyns.

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Paul Steer January 19, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I particularly like the photographs of the spitting chapels, I prefer the look of the Methodist chapel it seems less austere but perhaps I am biased. ( I have never spat at either Methodists or Jehovah’s Witnesses) The last photo is also a very strong composition, I have tried to imagine if it would be stronger without the car, but I’m not sure. 🙂

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Charles January 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Haha, I know how to press your buttons! That last pic is really odd co’s it really was gloomy but i just couldn’t make it look gloomy. But yes, I think its better with the car.

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Martin January 19, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Ohhh, entering hilly countryside and it’s lovely! Looks like some nice spots for a cheeky wild camp perhaps?

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Charles January 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Yes, loads of places you could plonk yourself for the night and party with the sheep.

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Olga January 20, 2014 at 7:30 am

Charles, what a pleasure to have another walk like that! My fave shots are – the one of the bright houses in Aberdovey and of the chapels, and yeah – the church-related discussion in comments 🙂 I also like the concept of streaming images like you do – being of very different photographic value to me, they win over my heart as the body of work, an atmospheric collage, perfectly serving the purpose of the post. It breathes love and passion, to the landscape and photography. My favourite combo.

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Charles January 20, 2014 at 10:29 am

Olga, what a great comment, thank you. I am finding the built environment very rich for things that grab me and the landscapes for the sheer beauty of a place. Hope you’ll drop by again sometime.

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rob grover January 23, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Yes the bright houses of Aberdovey
A great picture, which would be so much less without the car. It has so much interest – the bold colours, very straight downpipe, the Lidl bag and the lit interior, and I really like the way you’ve kept as much height as possible, but cut off just below a potentially distracting gutter. You won’t thank me for this, but I keep seeing the back of the car as a cartoon face, and you may from now on.
The other picture that really grabs me is the sinuous mountain track – it’s such a pleasing shape and such a pleasing word

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Charles January 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Hi Rob, I must say I am very gratified to have such detailed discussion about the pics. Once again I am indebted to Lightroom for very slightly straightening the line of the windows and downpipe in the Aberdovey pic. It is almost like having a very expensive Tilt and Shift lens in the bag. Not that you can get one for the Canon G15 anyway. I’ll bow to your imagination as to the cartoon face!

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rob grover January 27, 2014 at 8:13 pm

On another track altogether, I’d be interested to hear of your approach to taking shots of people.
In days past I used, I suppose, to be quite cavalier about this, and remember the great photographic potential of places such as fairgrounds.
Nowadays I wouldn’t be so comfortable, and, I suspect subjects would question the activity
I’m sure that the woman with the Jack Russells was very pleased to have her picture taken
The man on the roof probably wasn’t aware that you were taking one, but it would have been an amusing picture if you’d caught him giving you the finger
Did the woman with the long hair, and her back to you, know that you were taking her picture?
I wonder, do you have some guiding principles?

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Charles January 27, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Hi Rob
I do find that I am being more drawn to taking some pics of people along the way. I suppose I start from the basics that one is entitled to take pics of people in public places, so there isn’t a legal anxiety. Then I would carry the question “Is photograpghing this person going to create harm or distress?”. The girl at Aber was unaware that I was photographing her, but I could not see any liklihood of causing harm or distress. I did ask the woman with the puppies if I could take her pic but then I didn’t say that I would put it on the blog. But again, they were not anywhere that they shouldn’t have been. Anyone walking with me knows that I am going to photograpgh them and put them into the blog. Next week you’ll find at the end of the blog a pic of a child and gran which has a question mark about it, but the gran did not say anything to me. And I would still say that no harm could be caused because the child was anonymous, fully clothed and not doing anything they shouldn’t. I hope you like it.

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