Thursday, 29 May 2014

BARMOUTH



The stretch of coast running south from Shell Island to Barmouth is dominated by a sandy beach which is a cool seven miles long, backed by plenty of dunes for those who want to unleash their inner Lawrence of Arabia.  Towards the Barmouth end is the village of Llanaber, where the damage caused by the disastrous storms of the last winter caused the railway line from Barmouth to Harlech to be closed for several months, a closure that was rather less widely reported than that of the Dawlish line in Devon, but no less disruptive.  Thankfully, the line was recently reopened following 10 million pounds' worth of repairs.    

The resort of Barmouth, which originally grew up around shipbuilding, is beautifully located on the Mawddach estuary, which explains the town's Welsh name Abermaw.  The long sandy beach and picturesque harbour offer wonderful views of the coast, estuary and mountains.  One of the most prominent landmarks is the Barmouth Bridge, a railway bridge across the estuary which was opened in 1867, and which can also be crossed by walkers and cyclists, forming part of the Wales Coast Path.  Walkers can also take the Panorama Walk, which leads one and a half miles out of town to a spectacular viewpoint with estuary and mountain views.  Another viewpoint can be reached via a walk from the town to Dinas Oleu (Fort of Light), occupying the very first piece of land to be owned by the National Trust.  Near the fort is a spot known as 'the Frenchman's grave', the last resting place of Auguste Guyard, who fled from France during the Franco-Prussian War.

Back in the town itself, there is plenty for visitors to do.  As well as traditional family entertainments such as donkey rides and a funfair, there is the oldest building in Barmouth known as Ty Gwyn (the White House), which includes a small shipwreck museum dedicated to the wreck of the Bronze Bell.  The Round House (Ty Crwn) was used as a jail in the 19th century and gives a glimpse of life as a prisoner in those days.  The Dragon Theatre in a converted Victorian chapel offers a variety of cultural events.  Or just take a walk around the steep stepped streets and alleys of Old Barmouth, known as The Rock.  The Barmouth Heritage Trail guides visitors around the historic points of interest in the town.

Webcam views of Barmouth.

Map of the area.

File:Barmouth Harbour - geograph.org.uk - 1363561.jpg
Photo by Trevor Rickard, via Wikimedia Commons

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