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The Snowdonia & Meirionnydd Coast Path

 

Aberdyfi (Aberdovey)

Section 4 - Llwyngwril to Aberdyfi (Aberdovey)

Around 12 miles (19km) 6 miles moderate to strenuous grade in upland Sheep Pasture then Easy and flat on the coastal plain finishing with 4 miles along the sands

Iron Age FortLeaving the little village near the pretty church of St Celynnin’s, its straight back up the hillside with a steep climb, thankfully broken partway by the Iron Age fort at Castell Y Gaer. Huge piles of rocks and gorse smother a stony ring of ancient earthwork, on a site clearly chosen for its outlook over to the estuary in the north. Watch out for the red kites that hunt here and the views are well worth the extra scramble into the fort.

The next few miles are classic Welsh sheep country - bracken clumped scrubland, eerie farm ruins, tiny streams and upland pastures, with views out over the sea to keep you moving and only sheep for company. Rising and descending but always high above the sea, eventually there’s an enjoyable long, steady descent through fields, tracks and some lovely high walled old pathways, bringing you to the last two hills before the coast at Bwlch. Here, the path enters a stretch of rich and fertile coastal farmland, passing directly between the two mountainous mounds which form a final gateway to the extending coastal plain.

SheepThe path re-introduces you to our old friend the railway which trundles between you and the water as you pass the isolated station at Tonfanau. It’s an empty place and the station now apparently serves nobody but in 1972 this was a busy place - over 1000 Ugandan Asians escaping Idi Amin were given asylum in a camp here – only the hut foundations remain.

Inland, the hillsides reveal huge mountain quarry workings, but your pathway is an easy wander on flat coastal plain. Approaching the first sizeable habitation since Fairbourne at Twywn there’s the opportunity to enjoy the new bridge over the River Dysynni, opened as part of the Wales Coast Path, which saves several miles of walking to a crossing upstream. Now walkers and cyclists share a crossing point right by the coast over the narrow estuary beyond which there is a huge coastal saltwater lagoon, known as Broad Water, once used as a safe place for shipbuilding. It’s empty of human activity now and is another SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest which supports a huge number of wetland birds. If you want to explore then a short diversion takes you past its waters.

Sitting at the foot of a range of mountains stretching inland, Twywn appears, its long sandy beaches covered in wooden groynes. This cheery place offers a range of facilities for the walker. Look inland to spot Cadair Idris in the distance, and much closer, the crag of Craig Yr Aderyn (Birds Rock).

After Twywn there is a magnificent 4-mile stretch of wild sands as you enter the Dyfi Estuary– the last coastal stretch before a 2-day journey inland to cross the river, so enjoy it! At low tide it’s a huge golden expanse flanked by turbulent and fast-moving water continually rushing in or out of the wide estuary but apparently never slack. At the back of the sands, a shingle bank and thin line of sand dunes offer alternative options at high tide. The dunes here are smaller than the ones around Harlech and look like they have been peeled back by the wind and ocean that confronts them from the west. You have around 2 hours of vast, open, beach to enjoy with just the sound of the urgent waves for company. The farther you walk, the higher the inland hills rise, and you start to notice patches of forest and rocky crags, helpful reference point to your progress down the sands.

Ynylas SandsEventually you are forced east by the entrance of the estuary. The golden sand at Ynslas on the opposite side looks deceptively near - the end of the Ceredigion Coast Path is a mile from you here. But to reach it you need to trek inland as far as Machynlleth to find a crossing of the Dyfi Estuary and it will be another 30 miles before you reach the other side. To your left, a new range of hills appear, which you’ll climb tomorrow!

Ambling on, you arrive abruptly at the impressive tall houses that line the road to the harbour at Aberdyfi where you climb off the beach into the town. A well protected spot in the lee of the estuary, the lobster pots and fishing boats that greet you make it feel rather like Cornwall – it’s a welcome place to stop for the night before you trade the wide sands for the green hills and valleys tomorrow.

CLICK HERE for information on your overnight in Aberdyfi (Aberdovey) on The Snowdonia and Meirionnydd Coast Path

Aberdyfi

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