|The Coastal Way|
|To:||St Davids (SM756253)|
|Via:||Harlech, Tywyn, Machynlleth, Borth, Aberaeron|
|Length:||177 miles (284.8 km)|
|Old route now:||B4413, A499, A497, A498, A487, Pont Briwet, A496, Penmaenpool Bridge, A493, unclass, B4353, B4572, unclass, A40, A4219|
Ffordd Arfordirol / The Coastal Way is one of three tourist routes being created by Visit Wales as part of the 'The Wales Way' project. It runs around Cardigan Bay from Aberdaron to St Davids.
The route begins at Aberdaron, a resort village near the tip of the Llŷn Peninsula: the area known as 'Snowdon's Arm'. While its peaks are nowhere as high as the 'body', Llŷn's beauty does reach the heights of Snowdonia, albeit in its in own distinctive way.
Heading parallel to the Heritage Coast, through this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the route reaches Y Rhiw. This village is Llŷn distilled, with great views and rich history from the Stone Age to the Industrial Revolution. A mile east of the village, and nearly 150m below, is the Plas yn Rhiw manor house.
After a couple of miles crossing some low-lying flat land, the route climbs again to Mynytho, where we pick up the B4413, which has taken a more northerly route from Aberdaron. Mynytho has a memorial hall important to the Welsh language and culture, and a windmill without arms on top of a hill - known to English-speakers as the 'Jampot'. The route descends again to the resort village of Llanbedrog where we meet the A499. Heading south would take us to Abersoch, but the route heads east to Pwllheli.
Pwllheli is a the main town in the area, with the history and facilities that that provides. From here one can go north to Nefyn (on the A497) and Caernarfon (on the A499). The route, however, follows the A497 along the south coast of the peninsular, past the 'Hafan y Mor' Haven Holiday Park, to Criccieth. Criccieth is famous for Criccieth Castle, the Welsh-built castle critical to both Welsh rebellion and English occupation. From Criccieth, we continue on the A497 to Porthmadog.
Porthmadog is a major gateway to Snowdonia, with narrow-gauge railways, as well as roads, heading into the mountains. The route, however, bypasses the town's traffic, taking the A498 and A487 around it.
At Minffordd, one can detour off-route to Portmeirion, the must-see tourist village built as if it was on the Italian Riveria. The route, however, views it from afar - heading around the Afon Dwyryd estuary, crossing it on the Pont Briwet (the lowest crossing). Following the A496 the route arrives at Harlech. Harlech is famed for its World Heritage Site castle, but right beside it is the lesser-known attraction of the steepest road in Britain: the 40% Ffordd Pen Llech.
We continue south, through Barmouth, to Pen-y-bryn, where we avoid Dolgellau by using the Penmaenpool Bridge. Following the A493, at Tywyn we avoid the town centre by using Fford Cadfan before picking up the A road again briefly before taking an unclassified road up the Happy Valley and across to rejoin the A493 at Cwrt.
After going along the Dovey Valley to Machynlleth we rejoin the A487, before diverting along the B4353 and B4572 to go via Borth en route to Aberystwyth. From Aberystwyth, we take the A487 through Aberaeron and Cardigan to Fishguard.
At Fishguard the route takes a direct route from the town centre to the A487 heading SW - along the High Street (a spur of the A487), a very short hop on the A40, an unclassfied road past a caravan site, and a few hundred yards of A4219. At the edge of the city of St Davids, the route turns onto Ffordd Glasfryn and avoids the city, ending at the A487 opposite Oriel y Park Gallery.