Walk the Wales Coast Path from Harlech to Barmouth
A mix of sandy beaches and diversions across farmland and along main roads – a real mixed bag.
Distance: 27 km
Ascent: 206 m
Time: 8 hours
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Harlech to Barmouth
Pubs in Llanbedr, Tal-y-Bont and the Norbar on the long road walk into Barmouth that might prove too tempting for many!
Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.
The railway is recommended along the entire section from Pwllheli to Machynlleth.
Businesses on this section of the Wales Coast Path:
Walk the Wales Coast Path from Harlech to Barmouth Details
This stretch of the Wales Coastal Path between Harlech and Barmouth has extensive sections along sandy beaches, but also a number of inland diversions where there’s no current access and to avoid the Artro’s estuary. The final section involves a long section of pavement along the A496 into Barmouth.
Harlech to Llanbedr
While Harlech Castle isn’t directly on the Wales Coast Path, not the town itself, you should allow time on your itinerary to explore both. Harlech Castle was another of Edwards I’s castles built to subdue the welsh. Built between 1283 and 1295, it is perched in an intimidating position on top of the rocky crags. You’ll spot the water gate close to the coast path, which protects a 61 metre high fortified staircase up to the castle that was used to resupply the castle from the sea. While it’s a fair distance from the sea today, the sea used to reach this gate either naturally or by a moat. It was largely seen to be impregnable, with the song Men of Harlech celebrating a siege during the War of the Roes by a handful of defenders who held out against an attacking horde of Yorkists
However, it had been captured by Owain Glyndwr in 1404 as the handful of defenders had been woefully under-equipped. It served as Glyndwr’s home and military base for the few short years until it was recaptured by the English.
The coast path heads towards Harlech’s sandy beach and follows this as far south as practicable, before the shore becomes too rocky to follow and a higher level road route is taken to Llandanwg. Note that the view after the climb up Allt-y-mor from Harlech Beach is one of the classic views on this part of coast.
At Llandanwg, the parish church of St Tanwg is found half buried in the sand dunes. Built in the 13th century, there’s evidence that the location was in use as a place of worship from around the 5th century. The path continues along the banks of the Afon Artro, with the village of Llanbedr a short diversion if you need a shop or pub.
Llanbedr and Mochras (Shell Island) to Tal-y-bont
The section from Llanbedr is a mix of farmland and sandy beach. Note that one section is a designated naturist beach, you can join in if you wish. Though considering how much of the sand we had in out boots walking across this section, we decided to continue through fully attired. Mochras is also known as Shell Island, and includes one of the largest campsites in the area. Once across, you’ll find yourself once again on golden beaches which you’ll be able to follow for a few kilometres before the route heads inland once again. Tal-y-bont has a shop and a pub (well hidden – The Ysgethin Inn).
Tal-y-bont to Bermo / Abermaw / Barmouth
Once more, the Wales Coast Path leaves the shoreline where access is more limited. After a short section through farmland, the route is shared with the A496 into the seaside town of Barmouth. On the plus side the road is elevated and does offer superb views into Bae Ceredigion / Ceredigion Bay and you can already smell those fish and chips!