On the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, Barmouth is an ideal starting point for walkers and cyclists alike.
Barmouth is in the heart of walking country, and has something for all abilities – from spectacular high-level ridge and summit walks up Cadair Idris, medium-level circular routes round the Mawddach Estuary (the Mawddach Way) to low-level walks up the estuary following a disused railway line suitable for all abilities (the Mawddach Trail). The hills behind the town provide almost instant access to spectacular views across the Bay and across the estuary to Cadair Idris, and are the gateway the remote wilderness that stretches inland to the North towards the Rhinog Mountains, North East towards Trawsfynydd, or East towards Dyffwys, Llanelltyd and Dolgellau.
Coed-Y-Brenin Forest also has walking trails for all abilities, including nature trails for families with young children.
Bike hire is available in the town, a short walk from Richmond House. There are several good bike trails, including the Mawddach Trail to Dolgellau along a disused railway line as seen on Julia Bradburys ‘Railway Walks’ programme – perfect day out for all abilities!! Coed-Y-Brenin Forest, operated by Natural Resource Wales, operates maintained biking trails which cater for all abilities.
The recent addition of the ‘Minatour’ all-ability trail is perfect for beginners and families alike – providing a fun way to explore the forest. If you fancy more of a challenge – then you can try some of the more technical trails – route maps are available in the visitor centre (where there is also an excellent café). Coed-Y-Brenin lies in one of the valleys that feeds into the Mawddach Estuary – it’s only a 20 minute drive away, or just over an hour by bike – but make sure you’ve got enough energy to tackle the trails when you get there……
For road cycling enthusiasts, Barmouth lies on National Route 8 – a very popular long distance route across Wales.
A variety of different options are available from the Harbour – from a ferry over to Penrhyn Point and the end of the Fairbourne Railway, to fishing trips out into Barmouth Bay. You can also fish for crabs from the quayside - more popular than you might think!! Alternatively, you could just sit at a table at one of the quayside cafés, or have an ice cream, and simply watch the hustle and bustle of Barmouth Harbour as the boats come in and out on the tide.
Barmouth beach is a couple of minutes walk from Richmond House - a wide sandy beach with flat stretches of sand and sand dunes, occasional rock pools and shallow water suitable for paddling. In the summer there are activities for children including donkey rides, bouncy castles and trampolines. Deck chairs are available to hire for the day. In the school holidays the beach is manned by the Beach Patrol during the day.
The RNLI lifeboat station is right by the beach, with a shop and the opportunity to see the lifeboat from the viewing platform inside the boathouse. The lifeboat launches regularly on training exercises – usually alternate Thursdays and Sundays – and there is always the possibility of the lifeboat launching on a ‘shout’.
Welsh Coastal Path
Wales in the first country in the world to have a path that circumnavigates the entire country. The coastal section – from Ellesmere Port in the North, to Chepstow in the South – passes through Barmouth, passing over Barmouth bridge. For further details of the route, please see www.walescoastpath.gov.uk
The Dragon Theatre
The Dragon is Barmouth’s community theatre, based in a converted church in the middle of town. With music events, film showings and summer performances in the evenings. There are regular craft fairs and art activities during the day, it’s well worth a look at their programme to see what’s on. www.dragontheatre.co.uk
For those looking for adventure Snowdon is less than an hour away by car, and Cadair Idris is less than 30 minutes away. Other places of interest include:
- the Italianate village of Portmerion - famous as the home of “The Prisoner” 60s TV series
- Portmadoc with it’s harbour and 2 narrow gauge railways
- the Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland Railways.
- The slate quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog give an insight into the industry ‘that roofed the world’ in Victorian times,
- Electric Mountain at Llanberis - take a tour underground at the UKs largest pumped water storage hydro-electric scheme.
- Harlech, just North of Barmouth, with its famous Castle.
- To the South, there is King Arthur’s Labyrinth at Corris (on the way to Machynleth); the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT); and Machynlleth itself, with it’s variety of shops and well attended Farmers market every Wednesday (year round), and many other places to visit.