Down by the Dyfi (Dovey)

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The initial part of this 3-mile walk traverses the flood plain of the river Dyfi, the haunt of wildfowl and duck. A short section beside the river leads to the return through woods
Starting place: Behind the church at Pennal Starting ref: SH 699004 Distance: 3 miles Grade: Easy Walk time : 2 Hours
1.       Walk to the main road by the church, and turn RIGHT. Cross the bridge, cross the road and walk along to a gate, with a footpath sign, on your LEFT. Go through the gate, and walk with a stream on your LEFT. Go through the next gate and veer to the RIGHT along a track, ignoring the ford.

2.       Cross a wide concrete bridge and turn RIGHT to go through a gate. Turn LEFT and walk across the field to a drainage ditch. Walk with this ditch on your RIGHT. Cross a ditch to reach a gate and ladder stile. Go through and continue ahead.

3.       When you reach a footbridge on your right, cross it and turn LEFT, crossing a ditch. After about 20 yards look for a ditch to your RIGHT. Walk beside this ditch. Eventually you climb a small embankment to reach the River Dyfi. This is Llyn Draenog pool, where craft making their way up river to Derwenlas could ride out low water. Turn RIGHT, to walk on the embankment with the river on your LEFT.

4.       After a few yards you cross a stile, and then continue along the embankment. Ignore a stile down to your right, and continue until you reach a footbridge on your RIGHT. A short distance to the south-east is the railway bridge over the Dyfi. This was officially opened on 14 August 1867. The first engine to cross the river under its own power was the Oswestry & Newtown’s Volunteer, which had been transported to Ynyslas to Aberdyfi by barge, to return over the bridge on 30 July 1866, driven by John Ward. When built, the bridge had a 35ft-wide opening section, which was drawn back under the superstructure to allow the passage of boats. It was finally permanently fixed in 1914. Dovey Junction Station, a lonely outpost, presented an entirely bleak prospect when first opened, with no shelter at all on the solitary platform. Cross the footbridge and walk with a drainage ditch to your LEFT.

5.       Go through the first gate on your LEFT, crossing the ditch, and turn RIGHT, passing a lime kiln cut from the natural rock over to the left. Go through the gate ahead and turn LEFT, then after a short distance turn RIGHT through a gate to join a tarmac lane, and follow this uphill and way from the farm buildings. Continue along the lane.

6.       Pass a gate and an unofficial stile on the right to reach a way marked gate on your right. Turn RIGHT here, go through the gate and continue along the track. Go through another gate and then veer left off the track to pass Penmaendovey on your left. Walk towards a way marked telegraph pole, and continue ahead to a gate and stile.
7.        Cross the stile and follow the path with a fence to your right, to come to a gate and stile. Cross the stile and follow the path with a fence to the right, and trees top the left. Cross the next stile and continue with a fence to the right to another stile, enjoying an excellent view over the estuary. Cross this and follow the path ahead gently downhill through trees, thick with bluebells in the spring. When the path joins a track, turn LEFT and continue downhill, eventually crossing a temporary barrier.

8.       As you reach the holiday bungalows at Plas Talgarth continue straight ahead, to eventually join the road out of the holiday park. Turn LEFT and walk along the access road to reach the main road turn RIGHT to return to Pennal. 
To the right of the access road, as you approach the main road, is Tomen Las, a prominent tree covered mound. It was from here that Owain Glyndwr is said to have sent the ‘Pennal letter’ in 1406, at a time when Europe had two popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon in France. Glyndwr’s letter had stated that the Welsh would support Benedict XIII (the French Pope) but with certain conditions.

Try to make time
to visit the church of St Peter ad Vincula, one of only five such churches in Britain with that dedication. A church was founded on this site in the 6thC by St Tannwg and St Eithrias, Celtic missionaries who came from Brittany; although its oval churchyard suggests that the origins of this site are pre-Christian. Some of the stones used to build the church were taken from the nearby Roman fought at Cefn Caer. Since it was founded it has been rebuilt four times – in 1700, 1761, 1810, and 1873. In 1406, during Lent the church was Owain Glyndwr’s Chapel Royal and the ‘Pennal Letter’ (see above) was probably signed here. Have a look for the ‘Green Man’ in the east window, which is thought to be the only example of this ancient figure in any church or chapel in Wales.
Please follow the Countryside Code at all times and look after this special part of the world.
This walk is published by ‘Kittiwake Books - Walks in the Dyfi Valley by David Perrott’
ISBN: 978 1 902302 76 8
If you wish to purchase this publication please visit:
Posted: 15:45:11 - 05/01/2011

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