|This part of Wales is a real delight because it is within an hour and a quarter of the North Wales coast for places like Conwy, Caernarfon and Llandudno. This makes Llwyndu an ideal base for striking out to these places, the mountain ranges of Snowdonia, Anglesey and the Lleyn Peninsula. Yet we are in a relatively quieter part of Wales and you can walk and drive within a few miles and not see a soul for most of the day. To the South you head toward Machynlleth and the university town Aberystwyth.
Of course, from our door step we have a wonderful view across Cardigan Bay and you can just make your way to the beach, which is wide and truly expansive from Harlech to Bar mouth so you can avoid too many humans if you want to stroll. Behind us the Rhinogs or Rhinogau rise up to give good solitary walking if that's what you wish
There follows a few pages and gives a somewhat personal sweep of the area with some suggestions of places to visit and places to see. It is subjective but I think it will give a good taste of what is on offer. Of course there is much more and we have plenty of leaflets, books and maps for you to browse when you get here.
|Probably Wales' most alluring attribute is its great natural beauty and this has undoubtedly shaped its culture and people. The impressions one is left with change memorably with the seasons. The shot on the left was taken one January and looks out from above Barmouth beneath a sky of great drama.
Being on the West coast we have some stunning sunsets and the dining room is sometimes vacated as guests wander off to admire them -often between courses!
|Opposite these valleys, at Llanbedr, the road leads down to Shell Island or Mochras, a small tidally washed island that is known for the great variety and quantity of shells that make up the beach here. The old farmhouse was the home of the poet Sion Phyllip who wrote a poem about Llwyndu in around 1590. Next to the Island at the mouth of the Artro Estuary is Pensarn Harbour, of medieval origin and possibly earlier.|
|As you go northwards from Llwyndu there is a large area of quiet valleys and mountain streams meandering towards the sea, and the walking can range from gentle ambles to something more ambitious on the mountain range that provides their backdrop. Two of the most well known are Cwm Bychan and Cwm Nantcol. Both have secluded parking and you can please yourself by having a picnic after a good walk, play in the lakes or streams and soak in the tranquillity of the surrounding hills. The 'smoke' will seem far away!|
|In Dyffryn Ardudwy, 4 miles north of us, take the mile long avenue up past the old mansion of Cors y Gedol and then walk up to the Rhinog range, passing Lleyn Bodlyn, the reservoir that supplies Barmouth|
|The area known as Ardudwy, extending north from Barmouth is immensely rich in prehistoric and early sites and investigating these burial chambers, forts and huts will be rewarding. If you manage to get up onto the hills overlooking the bay you might look out for Sarn Badrig, known as Patrick's Causeway, a legendary route that is meant to have led out to Cantref Gwaelod, a Welsh Atlantis buried beneath the sea. At certain tides this reef can be seen just breaking the waves as it extends miles out to sea. Needless to say many ships have come to grief here. Interestingly, at Egryn, Talybont there has been excavated the remains of a medieval causeway leading towards the beach...
Just before Harlech you can visit Llanfair Slate Caverns, an old mine and especially suited for a rainy day where you can see all the dramatic interiors created by the excavation for slate.
In Harlech the 13th century castle built by Edward I must be one of the most impressively located in Europe as it perches over the bay and is now a World Heritage Site. The town of Harlech is largely 19th century now and there are one or two nice shops here. Plays and medieval re-enactments make the castle a very atmospheric venue for entertainment.
About a mile away is Las Ynys, the restored home (to a date around 1710) of the locally noted Welsh writer, Ellis Wynne. This is open to the public from April - October. One of the rooms, known as the Green Room, is a nicely panelled Georgian 'modernisation', introducing some 'up-to-date' comfort to what must have been an austere interior.