I was quite mad to drive into Tywyn at 10 to 4 on Friday, just as the tourist season was belatedly kicking off, and paid the price in the form of a short queue to get into the Co-Op (the first time I’ve had to queue) and the joys of dodging some truly execrable driving and parking in Aberdovey itself. So on Monday afternoon, although its great that the visitors have returned, it was something of a relief to take the footpath from the top of Church Street down into Penhelig, avoiding the vehicular chaos in Aberdovey itself. We walked through the Memorial Park and part way along the estuary, which was as stunning as usual, with lovely views, and people fishing and kayaking. There was a heron on a sandbank, the first I have seen in the estuary, although a few years ago I saw one in a similar situation in Port Meirion so I suppose that they are happy in brackish waters when there are sufficient fish to tempt them.
We went up the first flight of steps to the road, and it was then a matter of walking down the road as far as the footpath that runs up past the Outward Bound centre. This is not for the faint-hearted. With the bridge from Picnic Island still closed, and now firmly boarded up to prevent access, it’s a hair-raising walk along the road, facing into the traffic piling in from the direction of Machynlleth. Absolutely not to be attempted with children or dogs in tow. The bright new Aberdovey welcome signs are up, the first time I had noticed one, although I suppose there must be one on the way in to Aberdovey from the Tywyn direction too.
The rest of the walk is very rewarding once the road is left behind, walking first along a bubbling stream for a short way, and then up through a wood behind the Outward Bound centre before emerging into the sun on the side of the hill overlooking the estuary. The hills above the estuary are far more lush than the exposed slopes along the coast, with longer grass, and a lot more shrubs and trees, and the views over the estuary are spectacular. Afon Leri has always been a remarkable landmark crossing Cors Fochno to the east of Ynys Las, but I hadn’t noticed a smaller, parallel canalized section of stream further upriver, Afon Clettwr, with a small bridge carrying the railway. There weren’t a lot of wild flowers to comment on, but there was a thistle absolutely swarming with bright orange Rhagonycha fulva beetles, some lovely bright heather, and bright red berries on Mountain Ash.
We circled back over the hill to Aberdovey, emerging behind the highest reaches of the village, where there was a lovely patch of lavatera in bloom.