The Dysynni Valley is a beautiful part of Snowdonia, following the Dysynni River from its source at Talyllyn Lake down to Cardigan Bay. It’s also the venue for the Dysynni Trailfest, a popular off-road running event that takes place in June.
Mid-June is a great time to visit Snowdonia. The weather is usually improving, the days are long, the trees are in leaf and the flowers in bloom. And for runners, there’s the added attraction of the Dysynni Trailfest – a series of four races in the Dysynni Valley, in the southern end of Snowdonia towards Cardigan Bay. The scenic 1, 5, 10 and 15km off-road races start and finish at the Ynysmaengwyn Woodland Park and offer runners the opportunity to race amidst spectacular scenery.
If you’re planning to enter one of the races – or are coming along to cheer someone on – and would like some ideas for things to see and do locally during your stay (because why not make a weekend of it?) – here are ten suggestions.
A day at the seaside on a sunny June day – are there many greater pleasures in life? Tywyn’s beach is sandy and dune-backed, and there are few rocks so it’s a great place for surfing and other water sports. Tywyn itself is a historic town with its roots in the 7th century. There are some interesting historic features to look at, including the Norman church which houses the oldest known example of written Welsh.
Aberdyfi is another seaside village renowned for its fine sandy beach and water sports – and also its history, although the history the village is famous for (the sunken lands of Cantre’r Gwaelod, said to lie just offshore) is probably more folklore than fact. Still, it’s a fascinating story, true or otherwise! Aberdyfi is a pretty village and a photographer’s dream, thanks to the colourful houses and great coastal and mountain views.
3. Castell y Bere
When people think of Snowdonia’s castles, the ones that usually spring to mind are the famous castles at Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. But the ruins of Castell y Bere are really special and definitely worth exploring. In its time (the 1220s) it was rather a technological marvel, thanks to its elaborately defended entrance. The castle sits in a delightfully secluded location on the east side of the Dysynni Valley, and there are no entry fees.
4. Cadair Idris
It’s said that if you spend a night on the slopes of Cadair Idris, in the morning you’ll awake either a poet or a madman. We don’t know if that’s true, but a trek up this stunning mountain will certainly leave you feeling enriched and well-exercised! There are beautiful lakes on the mountain and of course the views are just splendid, so allow plenty of time for just sitting at the top and looking all around you.
5. Talyllyn Railway
The first of two steam railways we’re going to suggest in this article, the Talyllyn Railway journey starts at Tywyn Wharf and takes passengers on a magical trip through seriously stunning countryside, passing beautiful waterfalls and woodlands. On Thursdays from June to September there’s a series of Victorian-themed conducted tours on a unique train, comprising original coaches and engine.
6. Centre for Alternative Technology
The Centre for Alternative Technology is a wonderful attraction that teaches visitors about sustainability and the environment in a fun way. There are some great interactive displays, as well as fantastic examples of environmentally friendly buildings and examples of organic growing, composting and eco-friendly waste management. To top it all off, your visit will include a ride on one of the world’s steepest water-balanced cliff railways – a real thrill for all members of the family!
7. Corris Craft Centre
Corris Craft Centre offers a fantastic opportunity to pick up some unique souvenirs of your visit to Snowdonia, and gifts for your friends back home – or for yourself! There are nine craft workshops at the centre, where you’ll be able to meet the designers and makers and buy their goods. There’s also a play area for children, and picnic tables so you can enjoy a bite to eat during your visit.
The old town of Dolgellau is a fascinating place, steeped in history. It’s also very pretty; it’s said that the town, where there are a great many gorgeous stone-built houses and public buildings, has the greatest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in Wales (there are over 200 of them). This little market town is a great place to shop, too, so pack a shopping bag or two if you’re planning to visit!
9. King Arthur’s Labyrinth
Back to Corris again, this time for King Arthur’s Labyrinth. Strictly speaking, this is a family attraction that’s ideal for kids, who love the spooky underground boat ride through huge caves with stories of King Arthur’s deeds and adventures punctuating the journey. But we reckon there are plenty of adults who count King Arthur’s Labyrinth among their guilty pleasures, so if you’re visiting without children you probably won’t be the only one!
10. Fairbourne Railway
Finally, another steam railway – this time the Fairbourne Railway, which takes passengers from Fairbourne to the Mawddach Estuary where they can take a ferry across to the popular seaside resort of Barmouth. This is another of those journeys that offers an exciting yet relaxing way to enjoy the stunning Snowdonia scenery, so dump the car for a day and take a good look around while you’re not obliged to watch the road!