Tywyn

For other places with the same name, see Tywyn (disambiguation).
Craig-yr-Aderyn in the Dysynni Valley

Tywyn (formally Towyn) is a town and seaside resort in Gwynedd, Wales. Tywyn sits on the Cardigan Bay shoreline of Mid Wales and is surrounded by the green valleys and hills of Bro Dysynni, which form the south-western corner of the Snowdonia National Park. It is most famous as the home of the Talyllyn Railway, and also as the location for an early Marconi radio transmitting/receiving station.

Tywyn has attracted travellers for at least a thousand years, as the church of St Cadfan and its adjacent well have long been a site of pilgrimage. Modern pilgrims are more likely to "take the waters" somewhere along the 4 miles of sandy beach. In Welsh the name is pronounced [ˈtəwɨn] or [ˈtəwin], whereas the English pronunciation tends to be /ˈtaʊ.ɪn/.

Get in

See also the Wales article for an overview of transport into, and across, the country.

By train

Tywyn is served by Cambrian Coast line trains on the Machynlleth to Pwllheli line, operated by Arriva Trains Wales. Connections from the UK National Rail network can be made via Shrewsbury and Machynlleth.

The narrow-gauge Talyllyn Railway also connects the town to the village of Abergynolwyn.

By bus

Bws Gwynedd services 28 and 30 from Machynlleth, Aberystwyth and Dolgellau stop outside the mainline train station. Traws-Cambria cross-Wales services stop at both Machynlleth and Dolgellau, with direct buses coming from Bangor in the north-west, Wrexham in the north-east, and Cardiff and Swansea (via Aberystwyth or Brecon) in the south. Note that service 30 does not run on Sundays or Public Holidays, and that service 28 operates a severely restricted service on those days.

By car

Tywyn is on the A493 Machynlleth to Dolgellau road. Tywyn can be accessed from the UK motorway network at the M54 near Shrewsbury and M53 and M56 near Chester. Allow at least 90 minutes from leaving the motorways to arriving in Tywyn, though as the routes from both Shrewsbury and Chester are very scenic, many travellers will take much longer, stopping at places such as Welshpool, Ruthin, Bala, Dolgellau or Machynlleth en route.

By plane

There are no major airports in the immediate vicinity. Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool airports are the closest, with Birmingham offering a simple rail connection to Tywyn via Shrewsbury and Machynlleth. Private aircraft can use Mid-Wales Airport, 01938 555560, at Welshpool (no scheduled flights), which is about an hour's drive from Tywyn, slightly longer if travelling by train. Plans for a similar facility at the former RAF Llanbedr, near Harlech are at an early stage.

By boat

Ferries from Ireland to Wales arrive at Holyhead (from Dublin) and Fishguard (from Rosslare). Buses from Holyhead via Bangor and Dolgellau. Buses from Fishguard via Cardigan and Aberystwyth to Machynlleth.

Visitors arriving by private yacht should make use of the harbour at nearby Aberdyfi. The Harbour Master can be contacted on +44 1654 767626.

Orientation

The Town

Town Centre Map

Tywyn is not a large town and is easy to get around on foot. Tywyn's main hub is the High Street, which runs west to east. The eastward extension of the High Street is College Green, which passes the Market Hall and St Cadfan's Church and runs into Corbett Square (the oldest part of the town). From here the main road leads out of town to the east and north. The westward extension of the High Street is Pier Road, which runs under a railway bridge down to the beach. The mainline station is found at the western end of the High Street, this is also where the buses stop. Running south-east from the mainline train station is Station Road, which leads past the High School to the Talyllyn Railway Wharf Station, at which point it becomes Brynhyfryd Road, leading east to the hospital, where it becomes Aberdyfi Road, the main road out of town to the south. Leading south-westwards from the junction of the High Street and College Green, Neptune Road crosses Station Road at Wharf Station, and continues to the beach at Neptune Hall. Marine Parade runs along the seafront, joining Neptune Road and Pier Road. The east end of town is known as Pendre, while the area between Station Road and the sea is known as Bron-y-Mor. From the west end of the High Street, Idris Villas leads north-west to the low-lying area of town known as Sandilands.

Bro Dysynni

The Jetty at Aberdyfi Harbour

Bro Dysynni is the name for the fertile agricultural hinterland to the east and north of Tywyn. Essentially, it covers the 2, parallel Valleys of the Dysynni and Fathew rivers. The area is easily explored on foot, bicycle, by car or by the Talyllyn Railway, or by a combination of these. There are a number of villages spread throughout the 2 valleys and along the coast.

Fishing Boats at Talyllyn

Get around

Bike Hire

Dysynni Valley Cycles Dolffanog, High Street, Tywyn. +44 1654 710055

Bird Rock Cycle Hire , Cefn Coch, Llanegryn. +44 1654 712193.

Taxis

A1 Cars. +44 1654 711788

Tywyn Cabs. +44 1654 712305/+44 7919 400781/+44 7929 291021

Buses

Bus Services in the area are provided by a number of operators, coordinated by the local authority under the Bws Gwynedd banner.

Tywyn

Within the town itself, service 29 Clipa Tywyn does a regular circuit from the mainline train station to Sandilands and the Promenade and back via the Talyllyn Railway Wharf Station and the High Street (No service on Sundays or Public Holidays). Most reasonably able-bodied people will tend to walk as it's not a great distance.

Bro Dysynni

Service 28 Dolgellau-Tywyn-Machynlleth follows the coast road and serves local villages including Arthog, Fairbourne, Llwyngwril, Llanegryn, Bryncrug, Aberdyfi, Cwrt and Pennal. Service 30 Tywyn-Minffordd-Machynlleth serves Bryncrug, Abergynolwyn, Talyllyn, Minffordd, Corris. Note that service 30 does not run on Sundays or Public Holidays, and that service 28 operates a severely restricted service on those days.

Trains

The Talyllyn Railway serves a number of stations and halts on its 7 mile journey from Tywyn Wharf station to Abergynolwyn. Can be useful if you're staying at one of the camp sites or B&B's in and around the village of Bryncrug.

The mainline railway serves Aberdyfi, Tonfanau, Llwyngwril and Fairbourne.

Talk

You will hear both English and Welsh (Cymraeg) spoken around the town. According to the 2001 census, 40.5% of the town's population were Welsh speakers. This is almost twice the national average (20.5%), but considerably less than the average for Gwynedd (68.7%). By local standards then, Tywyn is a relatively "English" town. As with anywhere in Wales, visitors will encounter no problems conversing in English, though a "Bore da" (Good morning) or "Diolch" (thank-you) will always be appreciated. Check out the Welsh phrasebook for more phrases and a pronunciation guide.

See

History

Cadfan Stone
Less than a mile beyond the castle, the hamlet of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant has a lovely church and the ruins of Tyn-y-ddol, home of Mari Jones, who in 1800, at the age of 16, famously walked barefoot the 25 miles to Bala to purchase a Welsh-language copy of the bible. This is said to have been the inspiration for the formation of the British and Foreign Bible Society . There's a small exhibition telling Mari Jones' story in the vestry of the church, along with a beautiful 3D map of the Dysynni Valley, rendered in patchwork by local needleworkers.

Wildlife

Marine mammals including Dolphins, Porpoises and Seals, can often be seen from Tywyn seafront. Cardigan Bay is home to one of only two breeding groups of Bottle-nosed Dolphins around the UK coast. The other can be found in the Moray Firth in North-west Scotland.

Craig-yr-Aderyn

The Broadwater is the local name for the estuary of the Dysynni river. It's located around a mile to the north of the town. Follow The Gwalia, the narrow road between St Cadfan's Church and the cinema. This runs straight across a flat flood plain, in between irrigation ditches, until it reaches the river. The Broadwater is an important nesting site for wildfowl, including Moorhen, Coots, Swans, Grebes and various species of Duck, including the Red-Breasted Merganser, for which the Broadwater is said to be the most southerly nesting spot in the UK.

Craig-yr-Aderyn (Bird Rock) is situated around 5 miles to the north-west of Tywyn in the picturesque Dysynni Valley. The rock plays host to the only inland nesting colony of Cormorants in Europe. Other birds including Choughs and Peregrines also nest on the rock, which used to host to a small number of feral goats that gave their name to the steep path Llwybr y Geifr down from the rock. Remants of an Iron Age hillfort can be found on the summit.

Until their re-introduction to parts of England and Scotland in the last decade or so, this area was home to the only remaining Red Kites in the UK. The other commonly seen raptor in the area is the Buzzard.

With the exception of the rabbit, wild Land Mammals in the area tend to be very shy (and also largely nocturnal) and are therefore rarely seen. Foxes, Badgers, Hares, Stoats, Weasels and Polecats are all present in the area, as well as various species of mice, voles and shrews.

Do

A Talyllyn Railway train passing a level crossing near Brynglas Station

Outdoor Pursuits

A Walk in the Tarrens

For an excellent introduction to walking in the Tarrens, start at Rhyd-yr-onnen station on the Talyllyn Railway, just to the south of the village of Bryncrug. Follow the minor road to the southeast, until the tarmac runs out and it continues as a (sometimes muddy) mountain track, through the deep valley of Nant Braich y Rhiw. This is an ancient mountain pass, and is still technically classified as a road, so you may be bothered by the occasional 4x4 vehicle making it's way through. Don't worry, once you leave this track you're unlikely to pass more than 1 or 2 other people on the route until the last half a mile or so. Cross a ford, overlooked by a ruined cottage on a rise, and continue around 600m. Here, a clear path comes up from the south west, to join the track. Leave the track here, heading north east, to ascend the steep slope of Allt Gwyddgwion. There is no obvious path and this section is hard going, but worthwhile as the vista to the south begins to open up. After about 1km (and over 300m of ascent), the slope starts to level off, and you will reach the twin summits of Trum Gelli. From here, a marvellous ridge walk opens up in front of you, with a clear (if occasionally muddy) path snaking in a generally north-easterly direction across the peaks of Tarren Cwmffernol and Tarren Rhosfarch, and finally delivering you to the best known peak of the Tarrens, Tarren Hendre (though Tarren y Gesail to the north is higher). Take a few minutes here to admire the views in all directions. Nearby to the north-east is Cadair Idris, while across the Dyfi Valley to the south, the Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales seem to roll away forever. From the summit, the path drops steeply down to the east, the slopes on either side of the ridge thickly covered by forestry plantations. At the saddle between Mynydd Rhyd-Galed and Moel y Geifr a (signed) footpath leads north-west through a gate, and through the forestry. Pass the abandoned Bryneglwys Slate Mine workings (the Talyllyn Railway was built to carry the slate from here down to the mainline at Tywyn), crossing an ancient stone bridge (Pont Llaeron). From here, a track follows the right-hand bank of the Nant Gwernol stream, eventually becoming a metalled road. This road will lead you steeply down to the village of Abergynolwyn, where a well-deserved refreshment awaits you at the Railway Inn or Caffi'r Ceunant. Use bus no. 30 (note the last bus of the day departs Abergynolwyn at 1647 and there are no buses on a Sunday) or the Talyllyn Railway to return to Tywyn (or if you're still feeling energetic, use low-level footpaths along the valley floor to follow the Dysynni river back down to the coast).

There is much good Hillwalking available in the area, which forms the southernmost part of the Snowdonia National Park. The largest (892m/2927ft) and best known mountain is Cadair (sometimes spelt Cader) Idris, which is the 2nd most climbed mountain in Wales. The most popular and arguably, best route is the Minffordd Path which starts from the hamlet of the same name. The mountain can also be climbed from the village of Llanfihangel y Pennant at the head of the Dysynni valley, and there are also a number of paths from the northern side, accessed from Dolgellau. The lower Tarren range of hills provide excellent walking, without the crowds that can sometimes be found on Cadair Idris. Ordnance Survey Explorer Map sheet OL23 Cadair Idris and Bala Lake is essential.
Legend has it that there are only 3 potential outcomes if you spend the night on Cadair Idris. Either you will die in the night, you will wake up insane, or you will wake up as a bard (poet). If you want to test this out then there are some excellent wild camping spots on the shores of Llyn (lake) Cau (accessed from Minffordd), or Llyn y Gadair on the Dolgellau side. Check out the article on Leave-no-trace camping before you go.
Tywyn is an ideal base for a mountain biking holiday, with a number of trails in the area. The ascent of Cadair Idris from Llanfihangel y Pennant is classified as a bridleway, and therefore can be used by mountain bikes. It's a tough slog up (you'll be carrying in places), but the descent (from 892m at the summit to only a few metres above sea level in the valley) must rank as one of the finest in the country. Bear in mind that the right of way does not follow the farmer's gravel track for the whole length - be sure to look out for signs and/or use a map in order to stick to the legal route. Not recommended for summer weekends due to the number of hikers.
There are other ancient roads in the area which can be used by mountain bikes. The pass of Nant Braich y Rhiw from Rhyd-yr-onnen, south of the village of Bryncrug, through the Tarren hills to Happy Valley is a popular route, though it can be very muddy after rain as it also used by 4x4 vehicles. The Ffordd Ddu (Black Road) leads from the village of Llanegryn, across the western flanks of Cadair Idris and down to Dolgellau via the Cregennan Lakes. Ordnance Survey Explorer Map sheet OL23 Cadair Idris and Bala Lake is essential to follow these routes.
There are a number of marked trails in the Dyfi Valley, centred around Machynlleth, 15 miles to the south-east, including the purpose-built CliMachx route. Coed y Brenin, near Dolgellau, 20 miles to the north, has 6 waymarked trails.

Culture

Sport

Buy

While nobody would describe Tywyn as a shopping mecca, it has so far escaped the "Tescofication" that has blighted much of the UK. It has a good variety of shops, almost all of which are located on the High Street, and its eastward extension, College Green. Early Closing day in Tywyn is Wednesday, when most shops do not open after lunchtime.

The Easter Fair is an annual street market which takes place on Easter Monday in the town centre. The market stalls return every Monday throughout the summer months on the market field behind the Corbett Arms Hotel.

Specialist

Supermarkets

Food

Eat

Tywyn has a great number of places to eat, mostly spread along the High Street and College Green. The bulk of these are informal cafe style places serving brunch, lunch and afternoon tea and open only during the daytime. Evening diners will find a smaller number of establishments available but there are still a number of good choices.

Drink

Town Centre

Tywyn's 3 pubs are all within a hundred yards or so of each other at the east end of town. "The White" and "The Tred", as they are known locally, tend to be the busiest, with locals often moving between the two over the course of an evening. Those out on a session will often start with a couple of pints each in 2 or even all 3 of the pubs in nearby Aberdyfi before getting a taxi or train back to Tywyn in time for a couple more pints before closing time.

Local Area

All public buildings in Wales, including pubs, are now non-smoking.

Sleep

The Tourist Information Centre on the High Street can help with availability information and bookings.

Hotels

Bed & Breakfast and Self Catering Cottages

There are a number of B&Bs in the town, especially on Pier Road. Out of town, many farms in the area also offer B&B and/or self-catering accommodation. This list is just a small selection.

Hostels and Bunkhouses

The nearest YHA hostel to Tywyn, located about 12 miles away in Penmaenpool, in the hills above the main A493 Dolgellau Road.

Camping

There are literally dozens of small campsites dotted around the Bro Dysynni area.

Stay Safe

Beaches and Coast

Tywyn Beach has a safe reputation due to its gently-shelving nature, but sensible precautions should still be taken. The promenade is covered by a Beach Patrol during summer months, but outside of this area there is no safety coverage. At the far southern end of the beach, near the mouth of the River Dyfi, tidal currents can be strong and unpredictable.

General advice for safe swimming:

Mountains

Snowdonia's mountains claim lives every year. The weather can change very quickly in this part of the World, and this is especially true in the mountains. Make sure you are wearing suitable clothing and footwear, and always carry a suitable map. Ordnance Survey 1:25000 scale Explorer Map OL23 Cadair Idris and Bala Lake is ideal, alternatively the 1:50000 scale Landranger series sheets 124 Dolgellau and Porthmadog and 135 Aberystwyth and Machynlleth.

Follow the Mountain Safety Code:

Before You Go

When You Go

If There is Snow On The Hills

Stay Healthy

In an emergency, dial 999 or 112 (ideally from a landline) and request ambulance, police, fire service or coastguard.

Cope

Banks

There are 3 banks in the town, Barclays, HSBC and Natwest, all close to the eastern end of the High Street. All 3 have cash machines (ATMs).

Post Office

The town's Post Office can be found around half way along the High Street, opposite the Tourist Information Centre.

Internet

Laundry

Connect

Tourist Information

Area Code

Tywyn's area dialling code is 01654. To call from overseas, dial +44 1654 XXXXXX

Media

Go next

Barmouth Bridge at Daybreak, with Cadair Idris in the background
The first major station to the north is at Barmouth, a busy seaside resort 25 minutes ride away, across the beautiful Mawddach Estuary. If you're heading straight back to Tywyn after seeing the sights of Barmouth, why not walk back across the bridge to properly take in those views of the estuary, and pick up the train again at Morfa Mawddach station (request only - signal with your hand to the driver that you wish to board the train), at the south end of the bridge. Most trains stop for around 10 minutes in Barmouth.
Twenty minutes (and several small village stations) beyond Barmouth, the train arrives at Harlech, dominated by its spectacular 13th Century castle. Contrast the style of this English built fortress with the Welsh built Castell-y-Bere.
From Harlech, it's another 15 minutes ride to Minffordd, where you should alight to visit the Italianate village of Portmeirion, where cult TV series The Prisoner was filmed (Note that Portmeirion is about a 25 minute walk from the station). Minffordd station also offers connections with the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Just a few minutes beyond Minffordd the train arrives at Porthmadog, a pleasant port town, with a decent selection of shops and a small maritime museum. The town is named for Prince Madog who, legends tell, landed in Mobile Bay, Alabama, in 1170, thus discovering North America over 300 years before Columbus. Pothmadog is the terminus of two narrow gauge railways, the Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland. The latter is expected to reopen along its full length in 2010, serving Beddgelert and Caernarfon and giving access to some of the paths to the summit of Snowdon.
A few minutes ride from Porthmadog brings the train to Criccieth, a seaside resort with another 13th Century castle (this time Welsh-built - note the great views across to Harlech Castle!), and finally to the end of the line at Pwllheli on the Lleyn Peninsula.
Note that even in summer there are only 6 or 7 trains per day in each direction (less in winter and on Sundays), so be sure to check the timetable (displayed at all stations) and make sure you know what time the last train back to Tywyn is due to leave.
This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, August 08, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.