Forming part of Lôn Las Cymru (National Cycle Network Route 8) which runs from Holyhead to Cardiff, the Mawddach Trail is one of the most scenic railway paths in the country, running along the spectacular and atmospheric Mawddach Estuary below the foothills of Cadair Idris. The trail follows the course of the old railway line from Barmouth to Ruabon which was open between 1869 and 1965 and was popular with Victorian holidaymakers visiting the fashionable resort of Barmouth. The surface is rough and unbound in places, so a sturdier cycle is recommended if going by cycle.
The trail starts right from the heart of the handsome grey stone town of Dolgellau, from the corner of the main car park by the bridge over the river. There are views across to the hills to the north rising to over 2000ft. There are two atmospheric wooden bridges, the first a toll bridge at Penmaenpool carrying road traffic and the other at the mouth of the estuary carrying the railway line, pedestrians and cyclists into Barmouth. Here, you leave the traffic-free path and follow a short on-road section into the centre of the town.
The estuary is now rich in birdlife and you'll pass the Mawddach Valley - Arthog Bog RSPB reserve, which uses the old signal box is used as an observation centre.
The George III Hotel at Penmaenpool is superbly located and very popular with cyclists for coffees, lunches and teas. The Mawddach estuary was once a shipbuilding centre and between 1770 and 1827 over 100 boats were made from the local oak to be found along the estuary.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness.
However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes.
Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces.
Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.