Walk the Wales Coast Path from Barmouth to Llwyngwril
A shorter section of the Wales Coast Path, but with a good dose of ascent to make up for the lack of distance!
Distance: 13.8 km
Ascent: 352 m
Time: 4 hours
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Barmouth to Llwyngwril
In Fairbourne and a pub in Llwyngwril
Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.
Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path, Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.
The railway is recommended along the entire section from Pwllheli to Machynlleth. There’s also a ferry between Fairbourne and Barmouth – Barmouth Pedestrian Ferry.
Businesses on this section of the Wales Coast Path:
Walk the Wales Coast Path from Barmouth to Llwyngwril Details
From Barmouth, the Wales Coast Path heads south to Llwyngwril. Crossing the Mawddach estuary is made easier as you can cross Pont Abermaw / Barmouth Bridge, rather than the long detour to Dolgellau that you’d otherwise need to walk. Though there’s been a dispute between the local council and Network Rail about public access to the bridge, and it may well be closed at some point in the near future if there’s no agreement on funding. The route then heads uphill, while taking you away from the shore, does at least allow for some excellent walking with some high level views of the Snowdonia coast a highlight of the section.
Barmouth to Fairbourne
Barmouth is a corruption of the welsh name of Abermaw, meaning the estuary of the Maw(ddach). It’s also known popularly in Welsh as Y Bermo,which is in turn a corruption of Barmouth. In Elizabethan times it was barely a huddle of fishemen’s cottages at the mouth of the Mawddach estuary, until it became known for shipbuilding in the late 18th century and with the arrival of the railway it became know as a seaside resort. However, it was likely occupied much earlier than Elizabethan times, as the Dinas Oleu hillfort above the town was the first property gifted to the National Trust. Another famous landmark is the bridge, the longest timber viaduct in Wales and one of the oldest in use in the UK. Opened in 1867, it’s 699 metres long and carries both the railway and pedestrians – though this is dependent on an annual payment by the council which is in danger of being stopped due to the UK Government’s austerity ongoing austerity measures. This isn’t the first time that the bridge has been threatened with closure, as it was infested with marine woodworm in the 1980s and deemed uneconomic to repair, but this was funded by money from what was then known as the EEC.
On crossing the bridge, passing the defunct toll booth on the way (hmm, if only there was a way to make money from people crossing the bridge to fund it’s upkeep?) you’ll soon be on the southern shores of the Mawddach estuary and the Morfa Mawddach railway station. In stark contrast to the North Wales Coast Line which has only a handful of stations along it’s entire length, the Cambrian Line on the Meirionydd coast is well served with stations at every village, as it should be. However, after Machynlleth the railway passes numerous villages while serving only one on the way to Y Drenewydd / Newtown. Thankfully, the next few days’ walking is well served by rail and is a perfect way to complete this section if you wanted to base yourself in one place for a few days. That’s not to mention the numerous narrow gauge railways of Welsh Highland Railway, Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Ffestiniog Railway, Fairbourne Railway and the Talyllyn railway that are found on this section of the Welsh Coast Path.
A seawall takes you across marshy land towards Fairbourne, a small seaside resort. The sandy beach is a haven for holidaymakers, but were suspected to have been on of the prime targets for the Germans to have invaded during WW2. Large concrete structures known as Dragon’s Teeth line the shore, which would have slowed the progress of tanks and funnelled them where they could be more easily destroyed. Note that there’s a pedestrian ferry between Fairbourne and Barmouth in the summer months.
Fairbourne to Llwyngwril
From Fairbourne, the Wales Coast Path heads inland as the coastal strip become narrow with limited acces. However, this isn’t an unpleasant diversion as you head up through mature woodland towards the disused quarry at Golwen. Here you’ll see the famous Llyn Glas / Blue Lake – a drowned quarry who’s waters are a vivid blue. The path takes an ancient track-way over the hills, passing the Bryn Seward Standing Stones, a scheduled monument and an associated settlement dating from the Bronze Age. The track isn’t shown as a regular road on the maps, but is a narrow tarmac road as can be seen from the Google Streetview below (you can follow it most of the way).
A final descent on a footpath brings you into the small village of Llwyngwril.