Posts Tagged ‘Bala’

Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 2, Part 4

May 12, 2011

After lunch at the White Lion Hotel in Bala, the group travelled towards Dolgellau, passing Bala Lake and visiting Llanycil Church. The scenery is described as ‘tranquil and romantic’ on the way to Dolgellau where they spent the night in the Glyndwr Temperance Hotel.

Our first duty was to see [to] the horse, after that we had cold collation at the Hotel, oh what a joy the spread imparted to us dusty travellers, beef, ham, lamb, tongue and pickles of every description.  I fear our meal would not be productive of much profit to the hotel proprietor. We had everything in season, plenty of it and the charge very reasonable indeed. We strolled about until 3.45 then off again on our way to Dolgellau, as we drive through the long street of the town and leaving Bala lake on our immediate left we get a most beautiful view of the water in a little over a mile we reach Llanycil Church the Church yard contains some fine yew trees, near 3 miles further on we reach Glan y Llyn one of the residences of Sir William Watkin Williams Wynn and in another three quarters of a mile on a gentle eminence to the right we reach the stronghold or Roman Station of Caer Gai – Many Roman Urns have been found here, the occupation of this place by the Romans , was about the year 105. 

In another half mile we cross the bridge at point Llew, and soon afterwards Llanuwchllyn is reached.  After we leave this place the scenery is very romantic, we enter some miles of wild moor land which as we pass on becomes enclosed with rugged hills, this contains until we get close on Drewys y Nant [Drws y Nant].  As the Inn at this place was the first we had seen for some miles we stopped here.  Over the door is a queer looking old sign with an inscription in Welsh.  I enquired the meaning and was told the English translation was the sign of “Howell the Good”, we arrived here rather late, it being now 20 past 5.  We were soon provided with a good cup of tea etc, and at 6.15 Tommy was again in the shafts refreshed and ready for another run on to Dolgelly [Dolgellau].  After leaving Drewys y Nant, we get some splendid scenery which amply pays us for the wild rugged scenery we had passed for miles previous.  We soon come to the Railway Station and pass on through the valley.  The rivulet runs down on its stony bed here and there fringed with trees, the scene was most beautiful, those who have not seen a welsh valley cannot imagine anything so lovely, everything seems so tranquil and romantic.  We pass Bont Newydd Station then we see Dolserau Hall now or formerly the seat of Charles Edwards Esq. late MP for Windsor, the night is now getting dark and so spoils the splendid view before us, words cannot describe the beauty of the situation.  We pass on and at last see the lights of Dolgelly in the distance. We pass over the river bridge at 7.30 and put Tommy up at the Red Lion Stables, while we find “diggings” at the Glyndwr Temperance Hotel, a very nice comfortable place kept by Mrs Anfield.  We had a beautiful day and tired out retired to bed about 10.30.

Records relating to Bala and Dolgellau are held by Gwynedd Archive Service. More information about their holdings is available at

The Wynnstay Estate Collection (DD/WY) is available to view at Denbighshire Record Office, Ruthin. An overview of the collection is available at the Archives Wales website at

Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 2, Part 3

May 5, 2011

The group arrived in Corwen at 11.15am in time to watch a foal and horse fair and describe the area as an “old fashioned place”. They noted the churchyard and the view of Snowdon and head for Bala, passing through Cynwyd, Llandrillo and Llandderfel.


DD/DM/1113- Postcard of Corwen from the original diary 'Two hundred and fifty miles through North Wales on a wagonette'

As we drive along, the country becomes tamer for a while, there are fewer trees on the river banks, and the valley broadens as we reach Corwen arriving there at 11.15.  We stopped to give Tommy a rest and to watch the foal and horse fair which was being held there, there was a fair number of foals but very few horses, Corwen is an old fashioned place, and is situated at the foot of a high rock on the north side of the Berwyn Range. In the Church yard there, there are some peculiar and ancient crosses also some other objects of interest in the shape of low gravestones with 2 holes for the knees of those who come to pray over the remains of their dead.  From the flagstaff above the town the peak of Snowdon is seen, we see Liberty which is an old schooling box, 1800 feet high and was erected by the Marquis of Exeter.  At 12.30, off again for Bala 12 miles distant – soon after leaving Corwen we see Llangar Church and then we arrive at Cynwyd, a village about 2 miles from Corwen, where there are some pretty waterfalls.  We pass Capel y Coed, Hendre and Tyddyn y Lan and arrive at Llandrillo a convenient place to ascend Cader Fronwen 2573 feet high and 5 miles distant. The Angling of Llandrillo is very good the waters being noted for Grayling. 

We are now 5 miles from Corwen and 8 miles from Bala, on every hand are smooth hills covered with ferns, grass and heather. We cross the Railway line again to Llandderfel a place noted as the residence of one of the celebrated Welsh fasting Girls, Gaynor Hughes, who is reported to have lived 8 years without anything more than a spoonful of water per day.  The date on the tombstone is 1786. There is also a restored Church which contains many interesting relics.  Some distance to our left we left Pale Mansion, the residence of Mr Robertson the designer of the Viaduct over theDee. QueenVictoria visited Mr Robertson at this place in August last year.  We pass a deep wooded dell and little further on we stopped, some time gathering nuts which were plentiful by the road side, shortly a turn in the Valley reveals to us Bala, we see its Ecclesiastical spires and building.  On the brow of the hill we see the imposing substantial building known as the Theological Seminary of the Welsh Presbyterians of North Wales, and to the right we pass the entrance to the fine old mansion of Rhiwlas embosomed in trees, this Mansion was once a great fame and importance, and is now the residence of the Price family.  We pass over the bridge to the White Lion Hotel arriving at Bala at 2 o’clock.