Things To Do
The Town of Dolgellau
Following on from the Celts, Romans and Welsh Chieftains who all played a part in the area’s history, the origins of Dolgellau itself began sometime in the 11th or early 12th Century when it was established as a ‘serf village’. It gained in importance and through the centuries played host to notable persons such as Owain Glyndwr, the last native ‘Prince of Wales’ in 1404 and later the Quaker leader George Fox in 1657.
Dolgellau as seen today is a beautiful stone built town located beneath the majestic mountain of Cader Idris, straddling the river Wnion which flows into the sea a few miles away. Although relatively small, Dolgellau was - and continues to be - an important market town in southern Snowdonia. It has over 200 listed buildings organised into small squares linked by narrow streets. The County Court and the local Magistrates Court still hold regular sessions there. Dolgellau's historic wealth is based on wool and on nearby gold and other metal ore mining and slate quarries. The Rivers Wnion and Mawddach were used to transport wool and other goods to the nearby port of Barmouth. There are remains of woollen mills on the edges of the town and until recently there was a tannery in the centre. Today there is a thriving farming community and regular livestock sales - well worth a visit. You will hear a great deal of ‘Cymraeg’ - Welsh - spoken in the area and the local MP is Plaid Cymru or Welsh Nationalist. If you would like to use some Welsh words the most useful are:
Diolch - thank you
Bore Da - good morning
Nos Da - good evening
‘Brynadda’ means Adam’s Hill (bryn = hill and Adda = Adam)
Ty Siamas, Eldon Square
Originally the site of a market hall and assembly rooms built in 1870, this grand building has been transformed into a National Centre for Welsh folk music. It is named after an eminent local musician, Elis Siôn Siamas, who was employed by Queen Anne and the inventor of the triple harp.
In addition to an exhibition, cafe and shop, a programme of music related events is held during the year.
Ty Siamas Neuadd Idris
Eldon Square, Dolgellau
Gwynedd LL40 1PU
Contact Tel: 01341 421800
Tourist Info & Quaker Heritage Centre
Dolgellau has a history of religious nonconformity, including Quakers who were persecuted for their beliefs, leading them to emigrate to Pennsylvania.
One such Quaker was a local man Rowland Elis, who emigrated from Bryn Mawr on the slopes of Cader Idris , founding the famous women's college of Brynmawr, Pennsylvania.
A small museum and interpretation area forms part of the tourist information centre
Eldon Square, Dolgellau
Gwynedd, LL40 1PU
Tel: 01341 422888
The Quaker Trail
Walk in the footsteps of the Quakers persecuted for their faith depicted in ‘Y Stafell Ddirgel’ by Marion Eames.
This route incorporates the previous homes, buildings and remains of properties linked to the pioneering Quakers who settled in Pennsylvania.
Many follow the trail today searching out their ancestry.
Pen-y-Bont-Fawr Car Park
Oswestry, SY10 0PB
The Precipice Walk
This is a circular walk over private land belonging to the Nannau estate that dates back to the twelfth century. Visitors are requested to follow the country code, keep to all the indicated routes and accesses indicated and keep dogs on their leads.
Approximately 3 miles, the walk will take approximately 2-3 hours, going through some varied countryside and habitats and taking in views of some noted mountains such as Cader Idris.
This underground tour through a series of caverns and tunnels invokes a period in history reaching back to the ‘Dark Ages’ and the times of King Arthur. Stories and Welsh legends are brought to life through animation, sound effects and lights.
With free parking available, visit the Corris Craft Centre with its selection of 9 outlets offering a range of traditional crafts. 'Y Crochan' cafe offers a range of drinks, hot and cold food comprising some locally sourced produce.
The Bard’s Quest
Allow approximately 45 minutes, as this particular quest follows specifically designed paths along which visitors can walk whilst stopping to listen and enjoy the stories and legends of Wales that at one time were handed down orally from generation to generation.
The paths are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchair users.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, slate mining was the traditional industry of the area.
The Braich Goch mine was abandoned some forty years ago -and this is how it remains.
Welsh heritage and history is here and available- take one of the three trips on offer by contacting
Corris Craft Centre, Corris, Machynlleth, SY20 9RF
Tel: 01654 761244
Built in 1859 and now operated largely by volunteers, the railway was the first of its kind in Mid Wales.
Information on the time table is available on the website. Allow fifty minutes per round trip. Trains cater for wheelchair users, as does the museum.
Corris Railway, Station Yard, Machynlleth, Mid Wales SY20 9SH
Set up 35 years ago, CAT is now a respected education and visitor centre promoting and demonstrating all aspects of sustainable living through practical solutions
Visitors are welcome to the seven acres of displays and gardens and can often participate in events and workshops. There is a shop and cafe on site the latter offering a wide selection of food made from Fair Trade, organic and local produce.
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art
The former Wesleyan chapel provides a home as a centre for performing arts, whilst alongside, MoMA Wales provides six exhibition spaces for the Tabernacle Collection and works of modern Welsh artists.
MoMA Wales (Museum Of Modern Art, Wales) and The Tabernacle are run by The Machynlleth Tabernacle Trust.
Just over thirty minutes and twenty two miles away from Dolgellau this reserve comprises a mix of Welsh oak woodland, salt marshes and wet grasslands -attracting and supporting a wide variety of wild life.
Seven hides provide an ideal spot for bird watching whilst events and activities make Ynys Hir a family friendly location.
The Royal Charter of 1271 records the right to hold a weekly market in Machynlleth and two fairs per year. Granted by Edward I, the tradition is ongoing today, Wednesday being market day.
Top tip is to get their early; you will be struggling for a space in the car park by 10.00 in the holidays.
Maengwyn Street, Machynlleth
Powys, SY20 8AA