Barmouth Heritage Trail
William Wordsworth, after a visit to Barmouth in the 19th century, described it thus:
"With a fine sea view in front, the mountains behind, the glorious estuary running eight miles inland, and Cadair Idris within compass of a day's walk, Barmouth can always hold its own against any rival."
Many people visit Barmouth in southern Snowdonia each year but do not venture beyond the promenade and beach into the nooks and crannies of this old port town. It has a history reaching back 500 years and was an extremely active harbour with a ship-building industry that stretched right along the Mawddach Estuary. This served the woollen and later the slate trades of the ancient county of Merioneth, along with herring fishing and other staple goods. Barmouth also had a significant tourist trade from the 1750s and the railway, which came in 1867, saw the number of visitors grow enormously to become the town’s main activity. When the first train arrived some 1200 passengers got off and the town was barely ready!
The Barmouth Heritage Trail seeks to highlight some of the places around the centre of Barmouth that have played a part in this history and given the town its character. Hopefully it will also encourage the exploration of places of interest further afield.
The trail is available in leaflet form, available for a small fee, from the Tourist Information Centre in Barmouth station and across the town in various B&B’s and guest houses. However this website offers the opportunity to go into much greater detail and provides a wealth of additional material.
For details of each of the points of interest on the trail, click here, or on the sites marked on the map.
Little is known of the early history of Barmouth. High above the present day town lies the first patch of land ever gifted to the National Trust, and its name suggests that the place must have been inhabited a very long time ago - Dinas Oleu, the ‘Fortress of Light’). More substantially the Parish of Llanaber, which covers Barmouth, listed over 100 tax-payers in a document dated to 1292, and many of the farmhouses in the surrounding area date to the 15th century, those buildings themselves being constructed on the sites of earlier occupations.