Heritage railway enthusiasts are really spoilt for choice in the north-west corner of Wales. As well as the the two railways branching out from Porthmadog (see 9 May), there is the shorter, but no less delightful narrow-gauge Talyllyn Railway, which runs from Tywyn up though a beautiful valley to an area of forest and river walks called Nant Gwernol, passing the Dolgoch Falls on the way. The railway was the first narrow-gauge railway to be licensed by Parliament to carry passengers, and is the oldest heritage railway in the UK. The Ealing comedy The Titfield Thunderbolt was based on Talyllyn's story. Back in Tywyn, the station houses the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum.
Tywyn is a quiet seaside town which predates the Norman invasion. The origins of the town's Church of St Cadfan are probably also pre-Norman. The most interesting feature of the church is St Cadfan's Stone, dating from the 8th-9th century which has an inscription in the oldest known written Welsh. Another notable building in the town is the Magic Lantern Cinema, housed in a wonderful period building dating from 1893 and once used as the town's Assembly Room - the original sign and date can still be seen on the facade, while the present-day venue still retains its old-fashioned box office. The cinema is one of the oldest in the UK, and as well as films it hosts a range of other arts events, all enhanced by a visit to a lovely bar for pre-show drinks. Tywyn's golden beach, with groynes at regular intervals along its pebble-strewn sand, stretches for five miles southwards towards the mouth of the River Dovey.
Map of the area.
|Photo by OLU, via Wikimedia Commons|