A small and beautiful town, Dolgellau’s story is said to date back to the 11th or early 12th century when it was believed a settlement was created by Cadwgan ap Bleddyn for a town to be created to serve as a ‘serf village’. Later in mid 12th century, Dolgellau was more recognised for its importance when the area was the location of a council of chiefs led by Glyndwr.
In the 18th century, the town was recognised for its wool industry, where its output was calculated to be worth 50,000-100,000 annually. More recently, in the 19th century the area experienced decline with the development of wool looms but later, experienced a gold rush with gold being commissioned for the royal family. Today though, Dolgellau’s economy relies on the tourism industry. With the towns stunning surroundings and being set in the southern part of Snowdonia National Park, it provides a brilliant base location for tourists looking to explore the Snowdonia Mountains and coastline. The area offers much to do in and around it town. Here are 5 things to do in and around Dolgellau whilst spending your time in this historic little town.
CADER IDRIS http://en.wikipedia.org
Dolgellau is set at the foot of the mountain ‘Cader Idris’ translated as ‘Chair of Idris’ a giant warrior poet from Welsh legend. This mountain is the second most popular mountain in Wales after Snowdon. although it only comes in as the 19th highest mountain in Wales. The summit, named ‘Pen y Gadair, Top of the Chair’ offers amazing panoramic view, especially on a clear day. There are two main routes to reach the summit, the steepest of which is named Minffordd, it is 6 miles in length and takes approximately four to six hours to complete but does offer better views. More suitable for people looking for less of a challenge is the Pony Path. It is longer in length but offers a less dramatic approach to the summit either way, on a beautiful day you can expect to see breathtaking views.
DOLGELLAU CYCLES http://www.dolgellaucycles.co.uk/
Right in the centre of Dolgellau is Dolgellau Cycles, cycle shop, repairs and hire centre. Catering mostly for the tourism trade, the store rents out bikes to those looking to complete the Mawddach Trail, a 9.5 mile long multi use path along the edge of the beautiful Mawddach estuary. The store can provide adult and childrens bikes with tagalongs and child seats so everyone can complete the Mawddach path running from Dolgellau to Barmouth. In taking this route, you can access one of the most recognised Railway Walks in Britain and witness some of the most spectacular views around.
COED Y BRENIN FOREST PARK www.forestry.gov.uk
Coed Y Brenin Visitor Centre is well recognised as a gateway to Coed Y Brenin Forest Park or translated ‘Kings Forest Park’ which is located only 8 miles away from Dolgellau centre. This particular forest is well known for its mountain biking resort and its hiking trails that can range from 8 miles to 24 miles in length. Their trails offer a range of grading, from green (a more novice option) to black (the most severe and challenging option) so is therefore suitable for beginners to very experienced riders and with also a dual slalom course, there are no limits. With many facilities on site, including a cafe, you can be sure to put your feet up afterwards. This is definitely one of the best things to do in and around Dolgellau.
SESIWN FAWR http://news.bbc.co.uk
In July of each year, ‘Sesiwn Fawr’ or ‘Big Session’ comes to Dolgellau bringing a weekend of live musical and dance performances on six stages in the more open fields of the town. The event spreads throughout the town when the performances end and people take to the square to enjoy a few cool beverages. This event is free for children under twelve and so all the family can join in during the day and in the evening comes the chance for the adults to relax in picturesque town at sunset.
BARMOUTH BEACH http://visitsnowdonia.info
Only 10 miles away is Barmouth beach. The long and sandy beach is welcoming, even in busy seasons. The beach is set next to a pretty little harbour town that’s very inviting to newcomers. Even in summer time, the large beach offers enough space for everyone. There are numerous facilities located right next to the sands in front of Barmouth town itself, a beautiful town to wander around with more than enough gift stores for all tastes. It really is an area that’s suitable for the whole family; although the town also boasts a great nightlife if that may be more to some people’s tastes!
Snowdonia is one of only 11 places in the world to be certified as an IDA International Dark Sky Reserve giving you some idea of what a truly magnificent place it is to experience the dark skies above Snowdonia style… Allan Trow and Martin Griffiths from Dark Sky Wales have been instrumental in the Dark Skies initiative and through their Stargazing experiences and Astrophotography workshops, they have made the night sky so more accessible to us down here on earth… it’s fascinating to learn about what is going on up there!...read more