217 Tywyn to Llwyngwril

What a difference the sunshine makes. Last time I was in Tywyn (October last year) the weather was dull and I couldn’t find anything complimentary to say about the place. Today in bright sunlight the resort looks far more appealing.

01 promenade at Tywyn, Ruth's coastal walk

But you can’t escape the fact that Tywyn has no fine buildings, and is surrounded by a collection of green metal boxes that serve as holiday homes. So, as I walk briskly along the esplanade, I keep my eyes fixed on the sea.

Once I’ve left the town behind, I can transfer my gaze to the wonderful scenery inland.

02 Looking across to Tal y Gareg, Ruth's coastal walk in Wales

In my hurry to leave Tywyn, I miss the place where the coast path turns away from the sea. Soon I come to the end of the esplanade and find myself stumbling across a wasteland next to the railway track.

03 no way forward, Ruth at the railway line

I realise I must turn back and find a crossing over the train tracks, and I’m forced to retrace my steps.

Once over the railway line, I follow a minor road as it runs parallel to the coast.

04 dead-end road from Tywyn

It’s a pleasant walk. The traffic is light and the views across the river valley are breathtaking. In the distance is Snowdonia, with snow-capped mountain peaks.

05 view to Snowdonia

Ahead is a lumpy hill, scarred by quarry workings. The Wales Coast Path, according to my map runs up to join the high ground just to the left of the quarry. I’ve already decided to stick to the coast road instead, because it runs closer to the sea.

06 Tonfanau Quarry, Ruth's coastal walk, Tywyn, Wales

First I must cross the mouth of a river, the Afon Dysynn.

There has always been a railway bridge across the river – an ugly and functional construction, now somewhat rusty – but no footpath for walkers.

07 old railway bridge across Aber Dysynni, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path

My current OS map suggests I must walk up the river to cross at the nearest bridge in the village of Bryncrug, a 4 mile detour. But yesterday I checked the latest maps on the Wales Coast Path website to see if there were any footpath diversions due to flooding, and was surprised to discover they’d built a new bridge.

Running close to the rusty old rail bridge, the new footbridge is gleaming and elegant. Beautiful.

08 new footbridge across Afon Dysynni, Wales Coast Path, Ruth Livingstone

I stroll over the bridge, and follow a track which eventually joins the road. To my surprise, the Wales Coast Path signs point straight ahead along the road, instead of towards the quarry as I anticipated. There are no pavements, but no traffic either. In fact, I don’t meet a single car.

Soon I come across the Tonfanau railway station. I was half hoping to buy something for lunch here, but I’ve arrived much too early – thanks to the bridge – and in any case there is nothing around. It’s a strange, isolated spot to find a station.

09 rialway station at Tonfanau, Ruth walking the Wales Coastal path

I sit on the bench on the platform and eat a few snacks. Then continue up the road. Ahead is a hill – Foel Llanfendigaid.

10 quiet road towards Foel Llanfendigaid, Ruth walking the Wales Coast

To my left is the broad expanse of Cardigan Bay, with the hills of the Lleyn or Llŷn Peninsula in the distance. One day, in a few months maybe, I’ll be walking along that distant shore.

11 Lleyn peninsula, Ruth's coastal walk, Wales

Meanwhile, my little road continues, sweeping round to the landward side of the Foel Llanfendigaid hill, and passing through the tiny hamlet of Llanfendigaid.

12 Ruth walking the Wales Coast road, Llanfendigaid

So far my walk has been along hard surfaces, and I’m pleased when the Wales Coast Path leaves the road and heads off across a field. I’m not so pleased to discover the ground is extremely muddy.

13 Wales Coast Path and mud, Ruth walking

Maybe the next field will be better? It’s not. The sheep aren’t very happy about the mud either. But the views are wonderful and the sun is still shining.

14 Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path, muddy sheep fields

The field diversion doesn’t last long. I join a track and walk down the hill, past a rather scruffy scrap yard.

15 scrapmetal on road, Wales Coast Path, Ruth Livingstone

At the bottom of the valley I meet the A493. My quickest route (and the one that’s closest to the sea) is to follow the road. But the road is buzzing with traffic and I decide it’s unsafe.

I stick to the official Wales Coast Path, cross over the A493,  and head along a farm track up the next hill. The track is rough and narrow, and I’m surprised to meet a PO van. Those little red vans get everywhere! It’s moving too quickly for a photo.

There is a network of narrow tracks threading through the farmland over this hillside, and I worry about losing my way, but the Wales Coast Path is well signed. My track dwindles to a path, and soon becomes very muddy underfoot.

16 old byways, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path towards Llwyngwril

After a while, I join another minor road…

17 country lanes, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path, towards Llwyngwril

…which dwindles into another track and then into a path. I’ve been steadily climbing and now the ground is rocky and firm. I pass fields of sheep, farmers on quad bikes, and some picturesque ruined buildings.

18 sheep farms and abandoned buildings, Ruth walking in Wales

Finally I reach the summit of the hill, and the view ahead is glorious. That’s Barmouth Bay, with Snowdonia in the distance. Is that Snowdon? I’m not sure.

19 picnic break above Llangelynin, Ruth Livingstone, Wales

I find some convenient large stones, and stop for a picnic lunch. Apart from the farmers, I’ve met nobody else on this wonderful path and have the view to myself. I take a self-portrait, with the Lleyn peninsula as a backdrop.

20 Ruth Livingstone with Lleyn peninsula in background, Wales coast

The path threads downwards, running along old drove roads and bridleways.

21 Barmouth, Ruth on the Wales coast path

I meet some sheep, heavily pregnant and hungry…

22 Welsh sheep above Llwyngwril, Ruth hiking in Wales

.. and walk across green swards, surrounded by golden bracken.

23 farmland, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path

I come across a couple of sheep skeletons. I’m not sure if they’re victims of dog attacks, or victims of the weather. It’s been a mild winter, but wet and stormy across north Wales.

23a dead sheep, Ruth's coastal walk

And a few fields later I come across the first lambs I’ve seen this year. They bounce along as if their legs were springs. They aren’t newborn, maybe a few weeks old.

24 first lambs, Ruth in Wales

The clouds have built during the afternoon, and are casting large, slow-moving shadows across the landscape. After crossing more fields and following farm tracks, I come to a minor road. This takes me down towards my destination – the village of Llwyngwril.

25 Ruth walking down the Wales Coast Path to Llwyngwril

I finish my walk early, thanks to the new bridge cutting out 4-5 miles of my expected route, and so I go down to the beach at Llwyngwril and spend an hour stumbling over the pebbles and admiring the views.

Tomorrow I’ll be walking over the top of that ridge of hills. I can’t wait.

beach at Llwyngwril, Ruth's coastal walk, Wales


Later my landlady told me the new Tonfanau bridge was pre-assembled and lifted into place by cranes, in 2013.  You can watch a time-lapse YouTube video of the new  bridge being lifted into place.

 

Miles walked today = 11 miles
Wales coast path = 633 miles
Total distance = 2,240 miles

Route:

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.
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28 Responses to 217 Tywyn to Llwyngwril

  1. John Bone says:

    Good to see you back on the trail Ruth … makes me feel that spring is close.

    There’s something to be said for proxy walking.

    Enjoy.

    John

  2. Martyn West says:

    I cant believe they built that footbridge!!!!! I was dismayed when I reached the river and there was no footbridge even though my map said there was!! Lucky you is all I can say as that detour was the worst I have ever encountered.

  3. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, great to see you back in the swing of things. I did this walk in January, but in reverse and slightly longer from Fairbourne to Aberdyfi. The OS route for the WCP is well out of date, I download and use the current (and free) maps from the WCP website. I think your were sensible in staying off the A493, unlike me! Even though I was wearing flourescent jacket it was a bit dodgy on certain sections of that road.BTW the hill above Barmouth circa # belong to the Rhinog range and is called Diffwys and Y Llethr. The hill just to the left of Barmouth is Moelfre.

    • I thought of you Alan, as I walked this route. Could have done with you pointing out the mountains. I find it frustrating because I can never work out what I’m looking at.
      You are right about the WCP maps. They give a much better indication of the latest path routes, and I should check them out more often.

  4. Hi Ruth, just started following your blog, a great source of inspiration for coastal walking. I like the way your photos help to give a ‘feel’ of a section, which is important for readers such as myself deciding on what bits are worth doing with limited time. My husband and I are walking the GR1 ‘Sendero Historico’ 1000 miles across Spain this spring, and we are busy training. Your sections on the Essex coast have been great in helping us p!an some training hikes. Good luck with your epic walking project and if you are ever interested in some classic Spanish/European hikes then check our blog out too. All the best Rebecca and Barry

    • Hi Rebecca and Barry and thank you for your kind words about my blog. I’ve just looked up the Sendero Historico and it looks amazing. Going to be a somewhat different landscape to Essex! Wales might be a better training ground – but a little far for you to travel to 🙂
      Also, your blog is lovely. Very inspirational and some great photographs.
      All the best with your trip.

  5. Jean says:

    Hooray! daffs are out, lambs in the fields, and Ruth is back on the Path. Spring has sprung! Am really looking forward to this year’s walks seen through your eyes, as I can’t walk them myself. Welcome back.
    Jean

  6. bonitababs says:

    Love the lay of the land, Ruth, it’s beautiful. But what Nature has created is glorious and inviting, whereas what Man has embroidered onto that fabric is so homely.

    • Hi there. Yes, even the wildest landscapes of Britain have been altered by manmade structures. Sometimes I long for true wilderness, but then I think that the walls, paths, barns, fields, etc. all add to the beauty of the place.

  7. Joyce & Dave Morgan says:

    Hi Ruth, good to see you back out there! I loved reading the latest and seeing those beautiful views. Enjoy!
    Best wishes Joyce

  8. theresagreen says:

    Welcome back! You definitely captured the essence of this stretch, beauty, sheep, warts and all!

  9. Ruth is back! My breakfast blog catch-ups will be enhanced.

    What fabulous looking weather and scenery to get you back in the groove.

    As for others, the WCP was not defined in April 2011 and I walked inland to Bryncrug. I had stayed at the worst campsite on the whole trip just south of Tywyn and walked to Barmouth that day. I remember splendid distant views of Cader Idris.

    I have plans to walk part of the South West Coast Path in July (Land’s End to Exmouth) to link up with the section from Poole to Exmouth which I walked last summer, and if all goes well, then to go north from Exmouth until… ?

    • Hi Conrad 🙂 Have been following your posts and your hill walking with interest, but not commenting – as I’ve been having trouble with posting comments on WordPress for some reason. Computers! Pah!
      Looking forward to reading about your Lands End to Exmouth trip. Always enjoy your posts. Best wishes.

  10. Not sure about your comment problem – I am on Blogger not WordPress. Some people have problems with the Captcha security thing but I’ve found you can often just ignore it and go for posting your comment successfully..

  11. grahambenbow says:

    Welcome back Ruth, looking forward to this years progress!

  12. Marie Keates says:

    The new bridge was beautiful and useful. We will be crossing paths soon (virtually). I ended last week at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and I’m heading your way 🙂

  13. It’s good to see you’re back on the coast path, Ruth. 🙂

  14. Hi Ruth. I believe the isolated station at Tonfanau used to serve a military base; the new footbridge occupies the site of an old military bridge but, they took the original bridge down when the base closed, hence the path on the map detouring some miles.

    Looks like you had some good weather. I’ve just come back from my latest walking trip and I managed to get sunburnt in Scotland in March!

    • Hi Ju. Ah. That explains why the station exists! And the ruined buildings I saw.
      Sunburnt in Scotland? Isn’t that an oxymoron? 😀
      Well don on reaching Scotland. I’ll never catch up with you at this rate.
      Yes, the weather has been fantastic, hasn’t it. Sadly the bank holiday weekend doesn’t look very promising.

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