United Kingdom

Barmouth

Barmouth

The small town of Barmouth is a traditional Victorian seaside resort on the west coast of Wales. The town is close to a long expanse of sandy beach and lies at the head of the Mawddach estuary. The Mawddach estuary is world famous for its clean water and bird life. Mountains rise sharply behind the town. Welsh grey stone cottages cling to the hillside. The town centre lies at their foot on a narrow strip of land. The only through road, the A496, squeezes through the town on a route round the estuary and up the coast to the castle town of Harlech. The Cambrian Coast railway, which runs from Machynlleth to Pwllheli passes through the same narrow coastal plain. The railway made Victorian Barmouth. The lines stretches back through the Cambrian mountains to Birmingham and the English Midlands. The tradition that Barmouth is a seaside town for people from the English Midlands continues to this day.

Apart from the beach there are many features which make Barmouth an attractive holiday setting.

The railway bridge which spans the Mawddach estuary is an attraction. It is world famous. This low lying wooden structure was completed in 1867. During the 1980s it was thought to be suffering an irrevocable decay from the Terodo worms. These are commonly known as shipworms. The bridge has subsequently been repaired and the future of the scenic coastal railroad looks secure.

Barmouth is an exceptional centre for fine walking. The footpath which crosses the railway bridge can be used for a nominal toll. The route fine views across the estuary and into the hills to the north east of Barmouth. A pedestrian and cycle route leads from the bridge along a picturesque disused railway line past  the southern shore of the estuary to the historic town of Dolgellau. Dolgellau was once a centre for the Welsh gold mining industry. Walks, and horse riding trails along the northern shore of the estuary pass some of the ruined mines. The spoil tips are now heavily overgrown. Higher on the hills is a ridge walk which has sweeping views across the estuary to the mountains of Cader Idris. Walk onto the ridge involves a very steep ascent through the backstreets of Barmouth. On the hill above the town is a piece of land owned by the National Trust which was one of their first acquisitions in the country.

Barmouth is a very Welsh town which is at the centre of an area of outstanding natural beauty. It has a fair supply of traditional Welsh bed and breakfast accommodation and there are many camp sites along the coast.

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