PLACES TO VISIT
Dolgellau

Dolgellau, which means meadow of hazels in Welsh, did not officially exist until the Middle Ages. Before that time, this part of Wales was an untamed and desolate wilderness that was best known for its warring tribes, and intermittent visits from early Christian missionaries.

Territorial boundary lines often changed with every new generation or according to the latest pillage and plunder raid of a particular warring clan chief or overlord.

One of the most famous kings said to have ever fought here was King Arthur, who it's laimed died in four separate places, all very close to our holiday lets (the nearest being the Pont ar Eden in the Coed-y-Brenin).

Nevertheless with the arrival of the Normans, many local lords adopted aspects of the Norman feudal system, and slaves and captured people became among the first people to inhabitat the earliest incarnation of Dolgellau.

The establishment of Cymer Abbey in 1198 by Cistercian Monks from Abbeycymhir near Newtown also helped in the development of the area. And in successive centuries, Dolgellau became known for its pastoral farming, woollen and slate industries.

By the 18th century, there was barely a farm or a household that wasn't involved in these ventures, and ships from Barmouth would transport these goods as far away as America.

The woollen trade never officially recovered after the Napoleonic Wars, and in the 19th century, Dolgellau became famous for its Klondike-style gold rush. Upto 500 men were said to be employed in searching for gold at the era's height, and over 40,000 ounces of gold were said to have been mined (at 20 sites) with an approximate value in today's money of around 60 million. Queen Elizabeth II was said to have been given a gold ingot from the local Gwynfynnedd gold mine (near our holiday let Glyn-yr-aur) for her 60th birthday. Welsh gold is known to be among the rarest metals on the planet, and is reportedly more precious than platinum. However, mining at Gwynfynnydd ceased in 2007.
Some mining occurs intermittently at other sites including Clogau and the gold panners are often to to be seen on the Wen and Mawddach despite efforts by the CCW to spoil their fun

Farming, however, continues to be the backbone of the local economy and tourism has replaced the gold and lead mining industries as a major source of the region's income. There are regular farmers' markets, and an excellent calendar of local events which include organised walks, outdoor survival courses, biking and running trials in addition to music and food festivals.

Dolgellau is flanked by the Coed-y-Brenin to the north, which receives over 120,000 visitors a year; most are said to go there for the mountain-biking.

And to the south, the charming market town is overshadowed by the highest mountain locally, the Cader Idris. There is typically a constant stream of walkers up the northern and southern sides - even on cold, rainy days in November. Nothing can hold them back.

Places to Visit in and around Dolgellau:

Coed-y-Brenin

The Coed-y-Brenin (Forest of the King) was not officially established until 1935 when the Forestry Commission renamed what was then the Vaughan Forest in a bid to honour King George V for his Silver Jubilee.

Before that time, the 9000 acres were part of the Nannau Estate, which began life a hunting ground of Welsh princes, particularly Cadwgan from the 1100s onwards.

But it is only in the last few decades that the forest park has really been devoted to outdoors recreation and leisure activities. And from the early 90s, it was the very first forest in the UK to develop trails for mountain-biking.

And since that time, not only has the British Olympic cycling time practiced here, but over 120,000 visitors per year flock to the forest park - the majority of whom are said to flock there in a bid to try out the 130km series of biking trails.

There are walks aplenty, all courtesy of the Forestry Commission. People can find out more about the walks here: and can see a map of the all the trails trails here:

A widely acclaimed visitors' centre was built in 2006 and more recently a Go-Ape tree-top assault course was also put in place. So there are really no excuses not to make the best of the proverbial green gym.

Cader Idris

The Cader Idris towers over the grey, dolerite buildings of Dolgellau, and standing at just under 3000 ft, it is said to be the second most popular mountain in Snowdonia, and has a profusion of picturesque routes to its summit, Penygadair.

The gentlest and busiest route to the top is the Pony Path, which begins in Dolgellau. More challenging routes can be found on the mountain's southern side along the Minffordd track or up the adjoining escarpment of Mynydd Moel.

The Minffordd route passes by Llyn Cau, which at one time was said to hold a monstrous afanc, or water demon. It was said to have been thrown in the bottomless lake by none other than King Arthur himself. He supposedly engaged it in battle at Llyn Barfog near Aberdyfi. But with the help of his mare, Llamrai, dragged it in chains to the wilds of the Cader, and it hasn't been seen since.

The Cader has not only been the inspiration for the a series of books in the 1970s by novelist Susan Cooper such as the Grey King, but it has since pre-history been an inspiration for early bards, who were said to sleep on the mountain in a bid to be moved by the Awen, or the spirit of creativity.

Conversely, it's said people who spend their time on the summit over night will either wake up a poet or mad. Perhaps that's because the Tylwyth Teg or fair folk are said to roam here, and the Cader is an alleged portal to the dark netherworld or Anwnn, where Gwyn ap Nudd, Lord of the Tylwyth Teg is waiting to lure the gullible into a trap.

Castell y Bere

Wales is a land of castles: there were allegedly 641 in the whole of the Principality at the last count. Wales has been invaded since time immemorial first by the Romans, then the Saxons and Normans and Plantagenet Kings until it became a fully fledged member of the United Kingdom.

Edward I is perhaps the most famous of the castle builders in all of Wales. During his reign from 1272 to 1307, he was said to have commissioned an Iron Ring of Castles that stretched from Flintshire to Aberystwyth.

However, Welsh princes and kings were said to account for about 10% of the castle total, and Castell y Bere happens to be one such defensive structure.

Commissioned in 1221 by celebrated Welsh prince, Llywellyn the Great, it was among a group of castles (which included Criccieth, Dolwyddelan and Dolbardarn) he built in a bid to consolidate his power base in North Wales, which was chiefly at Garth Celyn near Bangor.

Llewellyn was actually a contemporary of King John, who was also better known as the brother of the crusading king, Richard the Lionheart. Llewellyn married his daughter Joan, a for a time he brokered a piece with England and was able to spend much of his time taking over other fiefdoms in Wales or making other princes swear an oath of fealty to him.

However, Castell y Bere may have flourished during his reign; however during that of his grandson, Llywellyn the Last or ap Gruffudd, Castell y Bere fell to the forces of Edward I in 1283, as did the rest of Wales and her princes.

Another Welsh siege in 1294 led by another local insurgent leader, Madoc ap Llywelyn, which was also quashed, saw many of the castle fortifications burnt to a ruin, and it has remained unoccupied and a shadow of its former self ever since.

Today, people can find the castle close to the village of Abergynolwyn and walk along the circular trail to the castle's scattered and moss-covered remains.

St Michael's Church, Llanfinhangel-y-Pennant and monument to Mary Jones

Wales has a strong tradition of heroes, such as poets, story-tellers, politicians and actors, who have often come from humble backgrounds but have nethertheless made an impact not just in Britain but across the world.

Perhaps one such hero who has been out of vogue for far too long is 15-year-old Mary Jones who proved she too could be a catalyst for far-reaching change, but perhaps not in quite the way you might think.

Mary grew up with her mother and father - who was a weaver by trade - in the tiny hamlet of Llanfinhangel-y-Pennant, which also just happents to be a stone's throw away from Castell-y-Bere in among the foothills of the Cader Idris.

She and her family were devout Calvinistic Methodists and were regular attendants at the local chapel. Mary was eager to learn to read and write and became a conscientious student at the circulating schools that were organised by the Rev. Thomas Charles from nearby Bala.

She was then able, much to her joy, to read the Bible in Welsh for herself at her neighbour's cottage, which was a two mile walk away. But what Mary really longed for was a copy of the scriptures all of her very own.

However being very poor, meant she would sadly have a long wait. She set her mind to save the money by doing errands and odd jobs for people in her local village. And after six long years, she managed to save enough to fulfil her long-held ambition. There was only one more challenge to overcome for Mary, the 28 mile walk to Bala from her home, which she walked stoically and barefoot in a bid to save her boots in 1800.

On arrival at the house of the aforementioned Rev Charles', she was told that his latest consignment of Bible's were spoken for, and there were no others to be had. At this news, Mary broke down and wept. However, she stayed as the reverend's guest until the next order came through, and she was given three Bibles for her trouble.

Mary's dedication in procuring a Bible saw the Rev Charles and his associates, at the Religious Tract Society, set up up another group in 1804, which became known as The Bible Society. It's sole remit was to produce Bibles in English and Welsh at prices ordinary folk could afford. The Bible Society is in fact still flourishing today and sends Bibles in over 35 languages to many different countries across the globe.

At St Michael's Church in Mary's home village, there is an exhibition which gives an excellent insight in to her life and times. There is also an impressive monument within the ruins of her former home which pays tribute to Mary's dedication in obtaining a Bible for her family and herself. Her original copy is now housed in the library at Cambridge University.

The very same Bible Society has recently produced a free booklet, with a grant from the Countryside Council for Wales, that replicates the 28 mile journey taken by Mary over two centuries ago.

Divided into five sections, people can tackle as much or as little of the walk as they wish. It passes along the shores of Lake Talyllyn, the Mawddach Estuary and the edges of Bala Lake into the small town of Bala itself.

The booklet is available free from local tourist information offices in the Gwynedd area, or it can be downloaded from the Bible Society's website at www.biblesociety.org.uk.

Cymer Abbey, Llanelltyd

Monastacism flourished in Britain from the arrival of the Normans until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, when Henry VIII broke with Rome and became head of the Church of England. He closed down convents and other religious houses and confiscated their lands and possessions.

However sometime earlier from the reign of William the Conqueror (1066 onwards), a wave of religious orders moved to England in a bid to set up churches, cathedrals and monasteries in a way that had never before been seen.

One of the most widespread was the Cistercians who followed the Rule of St Benedict, and would literally work and pray around the clock. A small amount of time was set aside for meals and sleeping. The term Cistercian is derived from the village of Citeaux (Cistercium in Latin) near Dijon in France where the first order of monks was established in 1098.

The Benedictine monks practised self-denial and were often seen as more commercially minded, and they typically accrued great wealth for their particular monasteries. However, the Cistercians eschewed the material world and believed in simplicity in all things. Wealth and riches were frowned upon and hard work and prayer were central to their collective daily routines.

Their lifes revolved around the Liturgy of the Hours which was the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Catholic Church. It consisted of a mass, recitation of psalms, singing of hymns and readings from the Bible.

The eight hours typically said in the Middle Ages are shown below: (fewer services are observed in monasteries and convents today)

Matins began at midnight and was sometimes referred to as Vigils or Nocturns.
Lauds or dawn prayer was typically said at 3.00am
Prime or early morning prayer would begin at the first hour or 6.00am
Terce or mid-morning prayer would be said at the third hour at 9.00am
Sext or midday prayer would be said at noon or the sixth hour.
None or mid-afternoon prayer would be sung at 3.00pm or the ninth hour.
Vespers or evening prayer was said at the lighting of the lamps or 6.00pm.
Compline or night prayer was scheduled for 9.00pm just before retiring to bed.

Monks at Cymer Abbey would have followed the above schedule rigidly, and it often left little time for farming or hard labour. They would typically employ lay people to manage their farm holdings, fisheries and breweries so they could devote their time to more godly and spiritual affairs.

Cymer began life in 1198 as a sister monastery to Abbycymhir near Newtown, where Llewellyn the Last is reputed to be buried. A new monument marks the place of his death which too lies in the ruins of the former abbey at Cymhir.

The Cymer house was however much smaller than Abbeycymhir when it was built in 1198, however the monks became known for their expertise in stud-farming, sheep farming and skills in metallurgy.

The ruins can be found very close to Ty Nant, and people can still see significant remains of the former abbey and its extensive grounds. Visitors can perhaps pause a while as they take a tour of Cymer's inner sanctum, and imagine life as it would once have been with the monks' prayers and chants echoing and reverberating around what's left of the antiquated walls and windows.

Waterfalls

Rhaeadr Ddu, Coed-y-Brenin

Snowdonia is riven with an intricate network of rivers, waterfalls, ponds, lakes and streams. You don't have to venture far before happening upon a natural phenomenon or site that definitely has the X-factor - and the Rhaeadr Ddu series of waterfalls would definitely be among them.

The falls cover a steep section of the River Gamlan, near where the true, historical figure of King Arthur was reputed to have fought King Maelgwn in his supposed last battle of Camlan in 537AD.

Historian Rodney Castleden wrote a book on this subject in the run up to the millennium: King Arthur: the truth behind the legend, and he argues that Arthur was ambushed by Maelgwn close to the Sarn Helen (old roman road through Wales) and close to where the Rivers Mawddach and Eden join together. He believed the true, historical figure of Maelgwn later morphed into the ficitious mythological character of Mordred, Arthur's nephew. Interestingly, Maelgwn became High King of Britain soon after Arthur's death.

There are no obvious clues or evidence of a major battle at the site today, or signposts to direct people to the area in which Arthur is said to have fought. But in Dark Age Welsh folklore, his battle was known as a cadgamlan (or bloody rout), so this area perhaps has more claim than most to be the authentic last battle site.

The Gamlan may have run blood red in 537 AD but visitors to the area today can only be captivated by the series of torrenting falls that punctuate the river at regular intervals. There is a plaque featuring a poem by Thomas Gray, which has been dedicated to them at a special viewing point. And it reads:

O, thou! The Spirit 'mid these scenes abiding,
Whate 'er the name by which thy power be known
Truly no mean divinity presiding
These native streams, these ancient forests own
And here on pathless rock or mountain height
Amid the torrent's ever-echoing roar,
The headlong cliff, the wood's eternal night,
We feel the Godhead's aweful presence more
Than if resplendent neath the cedar beam,
By Phidias wrought, his golden image rose,
If meet the homage of they vot'ry seem
Grant to my youth - my wearied youth - repose.

A wooden bridge will take people higher up the river bank, and to the highest level of the falls. It's thought they actually derive their name because they turn the reddish bedrock black as they run ever downwards, to join the Mawddach.

Pystyll Cain and Rhaeadr Mawddach, near Tyddyn Gwladys, Coed-y-Brenin

Ty Nant is located in the heart of what was once the Dolgellau gold belt. One mine that was among the most prolific was the Gwynfynydd mine that also just happened to be flanked by two of the most impressive waterfalls in this area: the Pystyll Cain and the Rhaeadr Mawddach.

Both the falls are about 200m apart, with the Pystyll Cain at 150 high falling in a steady torrent down a sheer rockface to join the mighty Mawddach.

Just a little way around a corner, and over a metal bridge, the Rhaeadr Mawddach thunders over a smaller drop in to a frenzied whirlpool of water that segues seamlessly into the rest of the Mawddach as it continues downhill towards Barmouth.

Both the falls were used to create hydro-electricity to help power the working of the mines and also nearby villages such as Ganllwyd.

The mine work here petered out in 2007. But there are tunnels close to some outbuildings further upstream which head far into the hillside.

Gwynfynydd was actually said to have been discovered in 1860 and was commercially active until 2007 and has produced 45,000+ troy ounces of Welsh gold since 1884. In the 1990s the mine was opened to the public visitors were given the chance to pan for gold in the Mawddach.

Pritchard Morgan was one of the early owners of the mine and took it over in 1887. Soon after his acquisition he found a large seam of gold, and it was so valuable that police were drafted in to guard it. He floated his own company on the Stock Exchange (Morgan Gold Mining Company) and received 45,000 in cash which was seen as a huge sum at the time. The mine however closed during the First World War.

In the 80s, there was renewed interest in gold mining in the area, and Gwynfynydd was reopened and passed into the hands of Welsh Gold plc. However working of rock seams ceased in 1998. After this time, spoil heaps were processed and filtered, and were said to have produced over 2000 ounces of gold in all.

Talyllyn Lake, near Abergynolwyn

The extensive Talyllyn Lake was left over at the end of the last Ice Age, and has a surface area of around 220 acres. It can be found at the foot of mighty local mountain, the Cader Idris, which incidentally has several links with ancient Welsh and Athurian folk lore.

You would perhaps think that the Talyllyn would also be steeped in ancient mythology and tales of derring-do. But that just wasn't so, until relatively recently (late 60s to the mid 70s) when children's writer, Susan Cooper used the the lake and southern Snowdonia as a backdrop and inspiration for her book the Grey King.

The book is actually said to be the fourth in a series of five which centre on the trials and tribulations of young Will Stanton who is said to be the last in a line of a mystical sect of immortals, dubbed the Old Ones. Cooper in her novels draws on Aruthurian and Anglo-Saxon legends and tries to interweave them into a more modern narrative and setting.

She uses real place names in Snowdonia such as the Cader Idris and the Talyllyn and the young hero Will is said to be sent to stay with his uncle at Clwyd Farm in the Dysynni Valley in a bid to recover from a severe illness.

However, a central theme throughout the book is the ongoing battle he must wage to limit the power and influence of the evil and otherwordly, Grey King.

In order to achieve this task, he is advised to wake the so-called 'sleepers' who are said to be former knights of King Arthur's court who lie slumbering very close to the Talyllyn within a secret chamber within the Cader Idris. But first, Will has to find a magical golden harp in order to awaken them. His endeavours to find it and his ordeals with the Grey King feature prominently throughout the story.

Here is an extract from the book which centres on the Talyllyn:

His aunt had called it the loveliest lake in Wales, but lying there in the grey morning, it was more sinister than lovely. On its black still surface not a ripple stirred. It filled the valley floor. Above it reared the first slopes of Cader Idris, the mountain of the Grey King, and beyond, at the far end of the valley, a pass led through the hills --- away, Will felt, towards the end of the word. He had himself under control now, but he could feel the tension quivering in his mind. The Grey King had felt his coming, and the awareness of his angry hostility was as clear as if it were shouted aloud. Will knew that it could not be long before one of the watchers, a peregrine curving high over the slopes, would catch sight of him. He did not know what would happen then.

Today, people cannot only walk along a fairly well delineated footpath at the far side of the lake, but they can also fish for brown trout, salmon and sea trout in the lake and in the river that flows from it, the Dysynni. Permits, boats and fishing tackle can be hired at the Tyn-y-cornel Hotel between April and mid-October. For more information, please call (01654) 782282. Visitors to the lake should also look out for a family of playful and high-spirited otters. Here is a video of them.

The lake is also an excellent spot for a picnic for its own sake, or perhaps before or after say an energetic trek up the Cader Idris. But watch out for the breath of the Grey King, which is said to actually be the low-slung clouds that often shroud the Cader's summit. They reduce visibility to virtually nothing and can catch out the unwary!

Talyllyn Railway, Tywyn Wharf, Tywyn

Thomas the Tank Engine has brought joy to millions of youngsters the world over, since he was created as a character in a fantasy land of talking steam engines. He was actually the product of the Rev Wilbert Awdry's vivid imagination, who entertained his young son with improvised stories about Thomas while he convalesced from a bout of measles in the late 30s.

The children's tales would perhaps have never otherwise been known, if a publisher hadn't persuaded the Rev Awdry to commit them to paper at the end of the Second World War, some 7 years later.

Over the next few decades, the Rev Awdry set about creating new adventures and trials and tribulations for Thomas and his engine friends which ran to 26 books in total. At the last count, 50 million copies of the stories were said to have been sold globally, and they were said to have been translated into at least 12 different languages.

Moreover, one of the characters from the stories has also found a new home at the Talyllyn Railway, which was the first ever narrow gauge railway to offer leisure rides to the public.

Interestingly, it was actually saved from dismantling by the Rev Awdry among others, and writers such as Tom Rolt, in the early 50s.

A preservation society was set up in 1951, to stop the railway falling into disrepair. And in the last 60 years, a museum was developed at Tywyn Wharf that contains remnants of railways and engines from Britain and Ireland - some of which date back more than 200 years.

What's more, the museum contains real life artefacts from the Rev Awdry's study. It was there he would famously bring together all his ideas for his books about Thomas the Tank Engine and type them up for his publisher.

The Talyllyn Railway actually began life in 1865 as a means of transporting slate to and from the Bryn Eglwys quarry at Abergwynolwyn. And some years later, it was also used as a passenger train for those living in the Fathew and Dysynni valleys.

But the passenger service declined and became unviable during the Second World War, and the Welsh market for slate also went in to freefall during the same period.

It looked like the steam-engines now made obselete by diesel-powered ones would be allowed to fall into disrepair. However, the Rev Awdry and his supporters, breathed new life into the line, and others followed their lead with similar narrow gauge railways in the region such as those at Fairbourne and Bala.

Today, the Talyllyn has gone from strength to strength since it was re-opened and houses a collection of steam-driven and diesel engines and carriages, some of which date back to the middle of the Victorian period.

Visitors cannot only take a round trip on the 7.5 mile length of trackway, but can also become engine drivers for a day and try out the so-called Footplate Experience. Duncan, a character from Thomas the Tank Engine, is a regular guest at the railway, and replete with his cartoon-style face, he entertains youngsters on certain special activity days.

Outward train journeys for the leisure line today start at Tywyn Wharf and finish at Nant Gwernol, and take under an hour. From April to September, there are typically four trains in service a day, and during the off-peak season, two are usually said to be running.

To find out more about the Talyllyn, please go to the preservation society's homepage at www.talyllyn.co.uk

Quaker Museum, Dolgellau

When the Quaker movement first appeared, it was considered so dangerous by the powers that be that many of its supporters were locked up for their beliefs, and in some cases even executed.

They were condemned as blasphemous heretics by the Church of England, even though some of their leaders, such as George Fox, were given sympathetic hearings by the then overlord of Britain, Oliver Cromwell.

The movement was first known as the Children of Light or Friends of the Truth, and sometime later the Society of Friends. They grew out of the turmoil of the Civil War in the mid 17th century, along with other nonconformist groups such as the Baptists.

George Fox, who perhaps was one of their most important leaders, began life as a puritan and felt God spoke to him personally, and told him that priests, churches and outward sacraments were unnecessary. He believed the indwelling Holy Spirit was all that was needed for people to have perfect communion with God, and he preached widely around Britain that people should prove their religious devotion by charitable acts, eschewing wordly wealth and avoiding a life of sin.

His central teaching was that 'Christ has come to teach His people Himself' and he believed in the notion of continuing revelation whereby God would reveal his word directly to individuals without the need for any intermediary.

Apart from him finding no need for organised religion, people were shocked that also openly preached women were equal to men, possessed their own souls and could express their views at religious gatherings. And because Quakers refused to fight or swear oaths, many found themselves likely to be fined, beaten or imprisoned, or all three.

Friends also rejected formal calendars because of their pagan origins, so Sunday was known as the First Day, and January as the First month and so on. They also rejected holy days and religious festivals such as Christmas and Lent and believed Christ's birth and ressurection should be remembered every day of the week.

In fact the word Quaker was first seen as a derogatory term for the movement and was coined by a judge who imprisoned Fox for blasphemy in 1650. He mocked his exhortation to 'tremble at the word of the Lord', and branded George and his followers 'Quakers'.

George actually came to preach at Dolgellau in 1657, and led many local families to convert to his religious beliefs including one local resident, Rowland Ellis.

The persecution of the movement, however, continued unabated, and especially during the Restoration and the reign of Charles II. Fortunately, William Penn, another notable Quaker, was given what would become the state of Pennsylvania in 1681; many families from Wales including Rowland Ellis emigrated there to make a new life for themselves and to worship in freedom.

Ellis should perhaps be remembered more than most because he soon became a member of the state government, and also set up the first women's university, Brynmawr, which just happened to be named after his former home at Dolgellau. The late actress Katherine Hepburn was also a graduate of the school.

An exhibition is devoted to the life and times of the Quakers at Ty Meirion in Eldon Square in the centre of town. There are unfortunately no more Quakers said to be living in the town and their chapel at Tabor was taken over in Victorian times by the Independents, who are still reportedly there to this day.

Barmouth and Fairbourne

Snowdonia isn't just about mountains and rivers, there are also miles of coastline to enjoy with the two nearest resorts to our holiday lets being Barmouth and Fairbourne. Both became popular during Victorian times.

Barmouth originally began as a port in Elizabethan times, and became renowned for its ship-building and as a key transhipment point for Welsh slate and wool.

Today, it's famous for the Three Peak's Yacht Race, where teams of runners are taken by boat close to three highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland (which are Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis respectively). They are expected to cycle to the bottom of the peaks and then run up and down them and bike back to their boats in the shortest possible time. Barmouth also has an annual walking festival and country and western festival among others. Its excellent sandy beach is a great place to walk at any time of the year, and in summer, sun-worshippers can enjoy soaking up the sun's rays while waves lap at their feet.

There are also museums on the Quay that have exhibitions of the town's maritime history, and one can take the ferry across the Mawddach Estuary to Fairbourne or walk across the impressive half mile Grade II listed wooden bridge (constructed in 1867) to Morfa Mawddach and on to Faibourne by footpath.

Fairbourne is Barmouth's quieter neighbour, and is usually less crowded. It began life in the 1890s and was specifically developed as a seaside resort with its own hotel, now the Fairbourne Hotel, by one Arthur McDougal, scion of the McDougal Flour company. It has two miles of sandy beach and has a terminus for the Barmouth and Fairbourne Light Railway.

This narrow gauge railway was actually constructed by the McDougal firm in order to transport building materials and equipment to Fairbourne more easily during its development.

And in the latter part of the 20th century, if found a new lease of life as a leisure line and regularly holds special events to attract railway enthusiasts of all ages. For more details, please go to the following website: www.fairbournerailway.com or ring 01341 250362