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Wales - The Cambrian Coast

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Top 100 places to visit in Wales

9. The Barmouth-Fairbourne Loop

Top 10 ten places to visit in Wales - Cambrian Coast

The Barmouth-Fairbourne Loop

The best approach to Barmouth (Abermaw) is from the south, where the Cambrian Coast rail line sweeps across the Mawddach River from tiny Fairbourne, over 113 rickety-looking wooden spans.

It's still the haunt of English holidaymakers from the Midlands, who fashioned Barmouth as a sea-bathing resort in the nineteenth century, but also warrants some attention for breezy rambles on the cliffs of Dinas Oleu, above the town, and a great walk around the mouth of the estuary. Central attractions don't extend beyond the Ty Gwyn Museum (July - September, Tuesday - Sunday, 10.30am - 5.00pm, free), a medieval tower house - now a Tudor museum - where Henry VII's uncle, Jasper Tudor, is thought to have plotted Richard III's downfall; and the Ty Crwn Roundhouse, on the hill behind (same times) which once acted as a lockup for drunken sailors.

The best lowland walk in the Cambrian Coast region, the Barmouth-Fairbourne Loop (5 miles; 300ft ascent; 2 - 3 hour) - a fine way to spend an afternoon with impressive mountain scenery, and estuarine and coastal views all the way.

The walking component can be virtually eradicated by using both the mainline and Fairbourne railways. The route first crosses the estuary rail bridge (50p) to Morfa Mawddach mainline station, then follows the lane to the main road, crossing it onto a footpath that loops behind a small wooded hill to Pant Einion Hall, then follows another lane back to the main road near Fairbourne. In Fairbourne, turn north, either walking along the beach to the quay at the end of the spit or catching the Fairbourne Railway (Easter - October 3.00pm - 6.00pm daily) to the passenger ferry (Easter - October, hourly) across the estuary mouth back to Barmouth.

The closest of a long string of campsites is Hendre Mynach , Llanaber Road (+44 (0)1341 / 280262, March - October), a mile north of town and just off the beach. Basic cafes are plentiful, though for just a little more money you can get mammoth French sticks and pancakes at the Anchor Restaurant , The Quay, and good pizzas next door at the Isis . Close to The Quay, in Church Street, The Last Inn , in a former cobbler's shop, serves good pub meals.

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