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.
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.
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)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The path crosses the A493 and takes a drive that leads past an ancient earth work (shown on the map as Tomen Las).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As I climbed the views were opening up and the land becoming populated by sheep.
I passed a memorial stone inscribed Carn March Arthur. This mystery was only partially resolved by google.
These last three miles were really a ridge walk with steep views down to the Dovey estuary on one side…..
……. and the Happy Valley on the other.
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.
The track becomes a road again at the isolated cottage of Bwlch Farm.
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.
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.
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.
But the dusk and lights gave me quite an atmospheric shot of the jetty.
My bus was due in 20 minutes so a had a quick nosey round the colourful back streets.
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