« PreviousContinue »
Encouraged by the success of his first attempt, Mr. Madocks was induced to follow up the design originally conceived by Sir John Wynne of Gwydir of recovering for cultivation the arm of the sea called Traeth Mawr by embanking out the water. In the year 1625, Sir John applied to Sir Hugh Middleton (who in the Isle of Wight had, not long before, gained upwards of 2000 acres of land from the sea) for the purpose of recovering for cultivation the two arms of the
called Traeth Mawr and Traeth Bach. The design, however, probably from want of money to execute it properly, was never carried into execution, and the subject was not again brought forward until 1808, when Mr. Madocks obtained an act of parliament vesting in him and his heirs the whole extent of these sands from Pont Aber Glâsllyn downwards. The embankment which now extends from Tremadoc across Traeth Mawr was soon afterwards commenced. This embankment extends nearly a mile in length ; its breadth at the bottom varies from 100 to 400 feet, but at the top its breadth is 30 feet throughout; its height is about 100 feet; where it crosses the channel of the river there are 5 flood gates, one of which is now blocked up: as the tide advances these gates are closed, and the waters of the river accumulate in its channel, which at the time the embankment was formed was considerably widened and deepened in order to contain for a time the accumulated water; and when the tide recedes, these flood gates are opened and the accumulations of water discharged. Had this embankment been formed in such a manner as to be quite impervious when the tide arose, the project might have succeeded, but unfortunately there are now many apertures through which the tide pours, and consequently a very small portion of the recovered land is rendered available for the purposes of cultivation. The Tremadoc Arms is the only inn of any note.
The carriage road from Tremadoc to Tan-y-Bwlch and Harlech extends along the summit of this embankment from the middle of which there is a magnificent view of the Snowdonian range of mountains. Upon leaving the embankment, there is a short way to Harlech, at the ebb of the tide across the sands and avoiding Tan y Bwlch; a guide, however, must be taken who is acquainted with the track, as it is unsafe for strangers to venture alone.
Below the pass, so called from its being situated on the brow of the hill overlooking the vale of Ffestiniog,* consists only of a large and exceedingly comfortable inn and an elegant mansion embowered in woods, the residence of Mrs. Oakley. This vale watered by the little river Dwyryd, Two Fords, contrasted with the black and dreary mountains on the opposite side affords a most delightful prospect. A former traveller, H. P. Wyndham, Esq. was so highly gratified with the scene, as to make the singular remark, “ That if a person could live upon a landscape, he would scarcely desire a more eligible spot than this."
VALE OF FESTINIOG.
There are few vales in this country that afford such lovely prospects as the vale of Festiniog. Many of the high mountains bounding its sides are shaded with lofty oaks, and the silver Dwyryd serpentines placidly and silently along the bottom, amidst the richest cultivated lands. The sea, at a distance, closes the view; and Traeth Bach, a wide arm of it, is seen to receive the Dwyryd a little below Tan-y-Bwlch hall. The little village of Maentwrog is
* Or more properly the vale of Maentwrog.
VILLAGE OF FESTINIOG-FALLS OF THE CYNFAEL.
nearly in the middle. The character of the vale of Ffestiniog is very different from that either of Llanberis or Nant Hwynan : the former is majestic, grand, and sublime ; Nant Hwynan bears a middle character, its bottom is varied by insulated rocks, and clad with trees; the vale of Ffestiniog is simply elegant; the bottom is open and cultivated from end to end, with trees scattered along the walls and hedge
The thick woods on the mountains to the north soften
very beautifully what would be otherwise a bleak and dreary feature in the scene. 6. With the woman one loves, with the friend of one's heart, and a good study of books, (says Lord Lyttleton to his friend Mr. Bower, one might pass an age in this vale, and think it a day. If you have a mind to live long and renew your youth, come with Mrs. Bower and settle at Ffestiniog. Not long ago there died in that neighbourhood an honest Welsh farmer, who was 105 years of age. By his first wife he had thirty children, ten by his second, four by his third, and seven by two concubines; his youngest son was eighty-one years younger than his eldest; and 800 persons descended from his body attended his funeral.”
EXCURSION FROM TAN-Y-BWLCH TO THE
FALLS OF CYNFAEL.
Two miles and a half from Tan-y-Bwlch i
THE VILLAGE OF FESTINIOG, The place of hastening. This little place and the vale have been justly celebrated by the elegant pen of Lord Lyttleton, who made a tour through Wales in the year 1756. The village of Festiniog, containing about 1648 inhabitants, is built upon an eminence, and commands a delightful prospect down the vale.
FALLS OF THE CYNFAEL. These are three in number; the two lowest are situated the one about 300 yards above, and the other 300 yards below a rustic stone bridge over the river, to which a path leads from the village of Festiniog over some fields to the right.
The upper cataract is more broken, but not so grand as the other. This is formed by a sheet of water slightly in dented, and darkened by the foliage around it, which closes in almost to the edge of the stream. After the water has reached the bottom of the deep concavity, it rushes along a narrow rocky chasm there.
Raging amid the shaggy rocks,
Along the mazes of the quiet vale Betwixt this cataract and the bridge there is a tall columnar rock, which stands in the bed of the river, called Pulpit Hugh Lloyd Cynfael, or Hugh Lloyd's Pulpit, the place from whence, as the peasantry say, a magician of that name used to deliver his nightly incantations.
Three miles from Ffestiniog on the Bala road, to the right, is visible the other fall, called Pistyll y Cwm; this is lofty and the rocks abrupt but completely destitute of foliage.
TAN-Y-BWLCH TO HARLECH.
Maentwrog-Falls of the Velen Rhydd— Harlech-Harlech Castle
History of Harlech Castle—Mephitic Vapour.
EXCURSION FROM HARLECH TO CWM BYCHAN, &c. Cylch Cyngrair or Druidical Circles—Cwm Bychan—Bwlch Tyddiad
Drws Ardudwy— Cromlech-Sarn Badrig-Cantref Gwaelod.
On the side of the river opposite Tan-y-Bwlch stands the church and village of
The stone of Turog, so denominated from a large stone in the church-yard at the north-west corner of the church. Turog was a British saint who lived about the year 610, and was the writer of Tiboeth, a romantic record belonging to St. Bueno, that was formerly kept in the church of Clynog, in Caernarvonshire.
At the distance of half a mile from Maentwrog there is a branch road to the left, which leads to the
FALLS OF THE VELEN RHYDD.
These are two in number,—the first or lower fall, called Rhaiadr Dů, is about three quarters of a mile distant from the Harlech road. It is surrounded with dark and impend