Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Cycling the Afon Mawddach, Wales 2017 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Travelled: 82 kilometres from Nant Gwynant to Penmaenpool Toll Bridge ÂŁ1 in Wales

Visited: The Mawddach Walking and Cycle Path (the old Fairboorne rail line), free.

Stayed: The toll bridge carpark (one night overnight permitted) free. N52.74852 W03.93416 (toilets and tap)

It proves to be one of the most scenic drives on our trip through Wales.  As we come down the valley of the Glaslyn we cross under the old coast to coast rail line several times.  The granite bridges and occasional caste iron version appear stowic and timeless. In particular the caste iron bridges’ whose lacework is decoratively painted in pastel colours.  We are lucky and get to see an old steam train and several carriages rattle past at one point.  The A498 runs along side the Afon Glaslyn here, we cross occasionlly often near villages too small to appear on our map.  Driving requires some focus, the road is very narrow in places and the occasional oncoming traffic almost comes to a halt to let the Hymer slip past.

We stop for breakfast at Porthmadog. Porthmadog is basically one long no parking zone, so we didn’t develop any particular fondness to the place.

We turn onto the A496 and follow the coast for the next hour.  Less picturesque as we pass many huge campsites with hundreds of on-site cabins lining the beaches.  The beach a grey shingle and dirty surf doesn’t look inviting.  It seems very quiet until we reach Barmouth at the mouth of the Afon Mawddach estuary.  Here the A496 narrows to a point where every parked car requires negotiation with oncoming traffic.  Suddenly there are people everywhere croosing the road or just walking the narrow footpath.  Must be pension day !

I took one look at this old bridge and thought no way. But the toll collector walked over and said ‘ don’t worry about the 2.5 ton limit, just stay in the middle and it will OK’
Once your across the bridge, everything looks a lot rosier. There is a lovely little carpark, toilets with a tap and a very welcoming pub.  We find a sign saying motorhomes are welcome for the night.
We have driven to the Old Toll Bridge as it’s the starting point of the Mawddach Trail. But first we service the Hymer, then get the bikes 🚴 down for the first time in 8 months and give them a clean and service. Thanks to Terry for keeping the batteries topped up.
It’s a 10 kilometre ride to the rail bridge at Fairbourne, riding across the rail bridge to Barmouth is another experience in itself. Especially if a local commuter train 🚂 rattles past you.
Typical of the view riding the Mawddach Trail.
Pausing on the rail bridge, with Barmouth in the background. It was a great ride along the old railway line and a good leg stretch as we haven’t had a bike ride since leaving Sydney.

It’s late afternoon by the time we return to the Hymer.  We pack the bikes back up and get ready for an evening out, as I have booked a table for dinner at the pub.  It was a great night as we chatted with an English couple who had visited Australia and been to Wales many times before.

Michael and Pam

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