Visit Pennal and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Pennal, Gwynedd. This lies on the Machynlleth—Aberdovey road almost exactly midway between the two points. The road itself is of unvarying beauty, rising at times over the steep ridge that falls to the curving water, and following a line of wall that exemplifies local skill in slate-pile construction. Groves of old oaks line the way, and below can be seen the series of rich fields surrounding islanded ridges that are a feature of the Dovey estuary. Pennal itself, rich with roses in summer, offers many points of interest. The old inn belongs to the coaching era, and the church is marked on l7th century maps as a landmark showing the way to “Penalt”. The bridge stands across the junction of streams finding their way to the Dovey nearby. Close at hand, a side road leads southwards to link again with the main road near Marchlyn. To use it gives the opportunity of seeing a house of the Tudor period and the well-marked site of the Roman fort now known as Cefn Gaer; the squared lines of its foundation earthworks are unmistakable. This was one of the five Roman fortresses in Wales, and was set to mount guard over the approaches by coast and by mountain passes to the Dovey estuary, which from before that time until well into the Middle Ages remained the strategic key not only to the Welsh area but ultimately to the English Midlands. Several Roman relics have been unearthed from it.
Some of the houses in Pennal have been destroyed to serve the purposes of modern traffic and its servicing. Let us hope the process will be halted, for Pennal still preserves a character in some ways unparalleled in Wales or England. The salmon of the Dovey and the trout of the neighbouring streams make a great attraction for anglers. But Pennal has more recently been opened up in a way that for the first time makes the hidden and ruminating valleys of the Taren range available to the tourist.
The three peaks Taren Hendre, Taren y Gesail, and Taren Cadian rise sharply above the village. They are worth a reference of their own. But from Pennal the road can be taken by car or on foot at least as far into the run of valleys as the woods lying beyond Pennal Towers, still showing the outward state of a great house. Beyond this point, only the foot-walker should go further towards Rhydygaled; but the motorist can satisfactorily travel along the right fork to find the succession of forestry roads that now climb as high as the shoulders of the three heads of the range. It was once possible to walk by way of an old packway from Pennal back to Machynlleth over cascades and precarious tracks set into the side of the hills. The peculiar beauties of that walk do not now exist. Roads on a severer and much more dominant scale now run to Twlly Nodwydd and Maesgwern Goch. The slopes of gorse, heather, and bracken remain evident here and there: but the principal view is of Alpine ranks of conifers possessing the valleys in dark majesty and presiding over rugged river-beds where the new bridges look down on worn boulders far below. From the scenic point of view, the change is not altogether for the worse; and, beside the raw roads and even upon them, the heathers and the foxgloves, the small violets and at places the sundew typical of the Tarens, are staging a counter-attack. In particular, the channelled mountain torrents are insisting on asserting their independence.
Some care should be taken, after Twily Nodwydd, to find the proper way for Dyfi Bridge and Machynlieth if you intend to carry through the full journey. The firs are deceptive in the way they open out into avenues falling sheer down the slopes. It is possible to go by mistake over the same route several times — unless you can discover at Pant Spydded the tall slab of slate-stone set there to mark the passage for shepherds in the deep snows and, before then, for the packway from the old quarries round Taren y Gesail.
Having found this, where it overlooks a sharp and crowded cwm, you can pick up a farm-road that will take you by a steep but lovely descent, passing through farmsteads, to the Aberdovey road. Watch should be kept for the sheep that use this road for their own purposes, and the turn into the main road can be dangerous. From half way down this descent it is possible to look over the Plynhimon escarpment at the Pen Plynlimon Fawr and study the ragged fret of hills that stand over the sea towards Aberystwyth.
The way to Dyfi Bridge is reached close to Penrhyn Dyti, one of the areas distinguished old houses. The house of Pant Lledydwr, with its isolated lake, is close at hand.
Nearby towns: Barmouth, Machynlleth, Tywyn
Nearby villages: Aberangell, Aberdovey, Abergynolwyn, Aberllefenni, Arthog, Borth, Bow Street, Bryn-crug, Cemmaes Road, Corris, Darowen, Dinas Mawddwy, Eglwys Fach, Elerch, Esgairgeiliog, Llancynfelyn, Llanegryn, Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, Llangelynin, Llanwrin, Llwyngwril, Mallwyd, Pandy, Pantperthog, Penegoes, South Beach, Tal-y-Llyn, Talybont, Tonfanau, Tre-Taliesin, Upper Borth
Have you decided to visit Pennal or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Pennal bed and breakfast (a Pennal B&B or Pennal b and b)
- a Pennal guesthouse
- a Pennal hotel (or motel)
- a Pennal self-catering establishment, or
- other Pennal accommodation