AN easy walk exploring the beautiful surroundings of Portmeirion

Distance/time: 8km /5miles.

Allow three hours (longer for a visit to the village)

Start: Pay and display car park in Porthmadog (from the southern end of the High Street, turn into Madog Street then turn right)

Grid ref: SH 570 387

Ordnance Survey Map: OS Explorer OL 18 Snowdonia Harlech, Porthmadog & Y Bala

After the walk: Cafés, restaurants and pubs in Porthmadog or in Portmeirion (if you’re visiting the village)

The walk

1. Leave the car park to pass a supermarket on the left. At the junction, turn left, then very soon left again at the next junction by the petrol station. Cross the railway and walk over the bridge. Cross the road by the record shop and head for the Ffestiniog Railway platform.

The Ffestiniog Railway is the world’s oldest independent railway company, established in 1832. Its original purpose was to transport slate from the Ffestiniog mines to the harbour at Porthmadog.

2. Keep ahead and follow the railway line away from the station. Follow the line along the top of the embankment called The Cob for almost a mile. The Cob (‘Y Cob’) is a sea wall built in 1811 by William Alexander Madocks. Its construction meant that acres of land were reclaimed from the sea, on which Madocks built Porthmadog and Tremadog.

Just before Boston Lodge sidings, take the steep steps down to the road and cross carefully. Go down the steps/ramp and onto the path.

Turn right, passing an old toll house.

3. Soon after a lay-by, cross the road and bear right at a bridleway sign, up a track. Turn left at the top and very soon bear right to cross the railway. Follow the footpath sign through a gate for a stony path uphill. At a fork keep left to reach a metal gate.

Go through the gate and stay ahead to eventually reach another gate at a cross-road of bridleways.

The farm to the right is called Penrhyn Isaf and in 1812 was the scene of a brutal murder. A man known as Hwntw Mawr (or the ‘Giant Southerner’) was working on repairs to the Cob when he crept up to the farmhouse, hoping to steal money and valuables. However, he

bumped into a maid, Mary Jones, whom he fatally stabbed in a panic. He was eventually captured, charged with murder, and publicly hanged in Dolgellau. It was one of the last hangings in the county.

Go straight across and follow a path alongside a wall on the left. It will descend to a larger stone wall, so go through the gap and gate

and keep ahead to another large wall and pass through the gap/gate.

The path now winds along the edge of a fence, to your right. When you reach a wooden gate don’t go through it; instead, turn right, between staggered posts, and follow the path to the car park. (To visit Portmeirion village, follow the signs. Charges apply. Dogs are not permitted).

Please don’t miss the unique, fairytale village of Portmeirion. The surrounding land, known as The Gwyllt (or ‘The Wilderness’), is a delight, too, and full of rare and tropical plants. Don’t miss the dog cemetery or the idyllic beach, either.

4. Continue ahead to follow the exit signs, bearing left out of the car park, then left along the exit drive.

Continue past tennis courts and Castell Deudraeth. Just beyond a give way sign, turn right through the parking area, and then right again, down the lane.

5. At a yellow, arched seat, turn left and follow the track to its end (keep straight ahead at a bridleway sign beside a cottage and again at the next). The track soon becomes a surfaced lane. Continue along the lane, and turn left at the junction to reach the main road.

Cross the road to another narrow lane, which runs between the end of a terrace and a detached house. Follow the lane downhill.

6. Cross the railway line and, at the bottom of the hill, turn left along a wider lane. Follow this to meet the main road at a T-junction, then bear right along the pavement towards Boston Lodge.

Boston Lodge is so named because William Madocks was MP for Boston, Lincolnshire.

7. At the end of the lay-by, bear right for the footpath and cycleway. Go under the wooden arch, past the Toll House.

8. Follow the base of the Cob back to Porthmadog. Retrace your steps to the car park to complete the walk.

More walks like this: Sioned Bannister’s book ‘Wales Coast Path Top 10 Walks: Cardigan Bay North’ (ISBN 978-1-908632-13-5) is published by Northern Eye Books. Copies are available from local shops or can be ordered online at: