Awe and Wonder on the Snowdonia coast

Although this project is about coastal settlements, the great thing is that I have to drive through some wonderful country to reach each one. And today was the best. Further up the coast from Aberyswyth is Barmouth. I head there through the wonders of Snowdonia National Park. Roof down, sun up high, music on… flowing (maybe not!). Forests, woods, farmland, streams, rivers, bridges, moor, marshland, lakes, hills, distant mountains. Then to arrive at wonderful beaches backed by dunes. What else can this man ask for?

Barmouth sounds quite ordinary. I think it mostly is. The west coast main line crosses the river on a wonderful Victorian gantry of a bridge.

Here I came across the harbour in the early morning. Not a lot is going on. There is no evidence of the passenger ferry over the estuary to Fairbourne – surely we are in high season. It is July. The main beach of soft sand and low dunes and the car park and small fun fair is on the other side of town.

Along the coast there a numerous small settlements, identified from a distance by a church tower/spire, usually surrounded by bungalows and static caravans. Spaced out between them are clusters upon clusters of holiday caravan parks. Were do all these holidaymakers come from? And where do they spend their time?

The next large settlement is Harlech with its huge castle ruins looking out over the coast, keeping am English eye over its Welsh inhabitants. Funny how they both play cricket in the same test team now. This was going to be my favourite beach, long, soft-sanded dunes, almost empty; but I doubt on to see so many similar ones that it is impossible to pick one above another.

Porthmadoc is a terminus for the Ffestiniog (don’t know the spelling) Railway and the station/bridge acts as a barrier to the sea. Grim one side you can see sea in the far distance. From the other you can look up the valley and get a view to die for. People would travel 1000s of miles to get a view like that.

I’m going around the peninsula now. I will show you each largish village in turn, not, I hasten to add, the campsites or static caravan parks. First Criccieth



Abersoch, which I quite liked – a bustling, popular holiday village with bars & a bit of shopping


And the best – Morfa Nefyn

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