Visit Llanbedr and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Llanbedr, Gwynedd. Between Barmouth and Harlech the sea-coast stretches under the standing hills of Ardudwy in a long and silent reach called the Morfa Dyffryn. It is land, but not land available to men, being still possessed by the sound and the sands of the Irish Sea. It reaches round to Morfa Harlech. Salt marsh and sand-dune are the haunt of the strange flowers that seem to be still half way through the emergence of marine growths into life upon the land; sea-birds are predominant even over the noise that comes from the airfield close to Llanbedr, the small village on the Artro river north of Llanenddwyn, and Llanddwywe.
Both of these show points of interest in their churches, Llanddwywe having a late structure of 1593, but also a circular churchyard that is a Christianized successor to the stone-circle monuments perhaps from before even the Age of Bronze. The church has attached to it a chapel, which Inigo Jones, the famous Welsh architect of the 17th century, has left as a memorial to his skill. Llanenddwyn church, close to Dyffryn Ardudwy railway station, has the grave of Col. John Jones of Maesygarnedd, who married Cromwell's sister Catherine and was executed for his part in the death of Charles I.
But Llanbedr looks past these things altogether. Apart from being one of the best fishing centres in Wales, it is surrounded by spaces of sea and land and even of time itself that make it one of the most rewarding places to visit. It must have been significant for ancient peoples, since the neighbouring hills are scattered with standing stones, calendric circles, cromlechs, and encampments following the sea-coast under the Rhinog Fawr and its several lakes, traversed by the long trackway that passes over the Roman Steps. Out to sea, Llanbedr looks across the pebbled peninsula known as Mochras Island, famous for the variety of sea-shells that can be gathered there. Even further out to sea is the Sam Badrig (Patrick's Causeway), a parallel formation to the one near Towyn, the Sarn-y-Bwch. These twin perils for navigators may have contributed to keeping this stretch of coast in its pleasant state of relative non-development. The original name of the 14 mile ridge of stones that at low tide lays bare 9 miles of its length was Sam Baddwryg (Shipwreck Reef).
The old sand-locked church at Llandanwg, about 1 mile North of Llanbedr, can be reached by the field-tracks from the station or by an equally unmade road from Llanfair. Its age and interest are now protected under the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments. This lonely spot marks the foundation from which Harlech sprang. The neglect of the 19th century has been remedied, and the place has been re-roofed. The font has been taken for protection to Harlech, but several stones dating back to the 6th century are preserved in it. The inscriptions on them include some with spiral ornamentation; and at Llanbedr church, which was once the Chapel of Ease for Llandanwg, there are more. Such stones are unique; they date back to the Bronze Age of about 2000 B.C., and there are few in Britain, though several in Ireland. They represent a theme that originated with the dawn of civilization and yet continued deep into classical times. At Chilgrove in Sussex, not long ago, a Roman villa when excavated showed mosaic flooring with the same design, one that is found as far afield as the eastern Mediterranean sites of Bronze Age culture. It is the serpent of stars known to many ancient mythologies — the form of movement that the constellations seem to make about the Pole Star, the one unchanging mark in the heavens by which early navigators steered. There are upstanding pillar stones of equal antiquity at Llanbedr, and a cromlech under Hafod-y-llyn that in the late 1890s was being used as a pig-trough. The long stretch of land about the Artro may well remember men who plied the Irish Sea in the first ships ever to sail it, and raised in the sister island across the waves the White Mound at Tara.
But Llanbedr also offers some of the most exciting walks to be had anywhere. The way up the Artro valley is easy of access, and cars can be taken as far as Dolwreiddiog farm, but no further. At the end of the woodland-walled route that ends by old working levels of manganese-mines, you reach the lake of Cwm Bychan. This Little Hollow Lake is wild and lonely and stops at the sharp crest of Craig y Saeth, said to have been, in days when deer roamed these heights, a place from which the arrows of hunters had their quarry to the best advantage. From here, on the eastward side, ride the Roman Steps, a fascinating trackway laid with marshalled stones and taking you between Llyn Gloyw (Rainy) and the lake called Llyn y Morynion (Maidens).
Legend has been active here. The Roman Steps are nowadays assigned to a later period and accepted as a pack-way for traffic from one valley to another; but such tracks usually went where earlier feet had gone, and the activity of Romans in search of raw materials in these mountains is too well established to be overlooked. It is a striking and well-designed path, and at the top of the Bwlch Tyddiad, which they reach, part of the way is paved (people say) with 2,000 flat stones, on which a sentinel-guard was placed. The Maidens lake has the same name and the same story to account for it as the one near Ffestiniog. The route leads to the Bwlch Drws Ardudwy, which lies South of Harlech. This lies at 1,255 ft and separates the Rhinog Fawr hill from the Rhinog Each. Under the head of Rhinog Fawr spreads another lake called simply Du (Black). It is locally thought to have been formed and to be maintained by dew-fall only. At both lakes the views are magnificent.
The peak of Rhinog Fawr, like that of Aran Fawddwy, is a scrawl of tumbled boulders; but you have half Wales at your feet. The Craig Wnion over Cwm Bychan is most impressive in the way it rears itself ledge over ledge; and, further on, Moel Hebog stands behind the wide waste of the Trawsfynydd moors, and the Arennigs on one side and Cader Idris on the other make a room of the sky. Rhinog Fawr is rather over 2,000 ft up, and its head is an oval plateau steeply scarped on all sides. A little lower towards the West are the continuation of this shape, the stepped descents of Foel Ddu, and to the South the splendidly sited Bodlyn lake and Llyn Irddyn, which is worth a special visit. Another half-hour is required to get to it, where it stretches, deep in its midst but with shallow shores that must, it is said, be avoided. Here one should keep to the grassy footing, for that is the only protection against the Other People who live there still. Again, this is a lingering recollection of the first inhabitants of such places, the mild people of the hills who worked with stone tools and shunned contact with iron. On its West shore are the remains of an ancient, possibly Celtic, township of stone-based hutments. About 1 mile to the North stands the fortified height called Craig y Dinas. It is supposed to have some connection with the Druids, the priests of an ancient faith that has left permanent memorials on these slopes and by the sands of the Artro.
Nearby towns: Barmouth, Dolgellau, Harlech
Nearby villages: Arthog, Capel Arthog, Chwilog, Criccieth, Ffestiniog, Llanaber, Llanddwywe, Llandecwyn, Llanelltyd, Llanenddwyn, Llanfair, Llanfrothen, Llanystumdwy, Maentwrog, Minffordd, Penrhyndeudreath, Porthmadog, Portmeirion, South Beach, Talsarnau, Trawsfynydd, Tremadog
Have you decided to visit Llanbedr or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Llanbedr bed and breakfast (a Llanbedr B&B or Llanbedr b and b)
- a Llanbedr guesthouse
- a Llanbedr hotel (or motel)
- a Llanbedr self-catering establishment, or
- other Llanbedr accommodation