Alongside an attractive lake of the same name, Trawsfynydd, in a sparsely populated area, is often used as a refreshment stop by visitors passing along the A470 en-route to Snowdon or Dolgellau. This charming traditional Welsh village has all the amenities to supply basic requirements including public houses, grocery stores, a post office and newsagents.
The A470 follows the same trade route, as used for thousands of years by travellers seeking the easiest passage through the mountains. Three miles from Trawsfynydd, at Tomen Y Mur, there are the scant remains of a rectangular Roman fort, parade ground and amphitheatre, topped by a steep sided Norman Motte, providing evidence of the importance of defending this passage by successive invaders and settlers. In the early nineteenth century, near Trawsfynydd, Britain’s only surviving Roman Will was found, dating from around AD100 and recently donated to the National Museum of Wales.
Situated in the main street is a statue to commemorate Trawsfynydd’s famed bard Ellis Evans, pseudonym Hedd Wyn (blessed peace), who was awarded the chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod, just 6 weeks after he had been killed in action during World War One. The winning poem was Yr Arwr (the Hero) .A Welsh language movie about his life and death, by S4C, was nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar in 1994. At the hostel in the village, there is a heritage centre and exhibition, celebrating the lives of not only Ellis Evans, but also, Saint John Roberts, a Trawsfynydd man, from the 17th century, who was canonised in 1970.
Trawsfynydd Lake is fed by the River Prysor at Trawsfynydd and is renowned, for its fly and coarse fishing. The lake is nearly 5 miles long and has a surface area of 1200acres. At the other end of the lake stand huge rectangular concrete buildings, the site of Britain’s only inland nuclear power station; now decommissioned. Whether you consider the buildings fit in well to the surroundings or are a blot on the landscape, is a matter of some debate.
Further south along the A470 is the largest forest in North Wales, Coed Y Brenin (King’s Wood). Renowned for its world-class mountain biking trails, Coed Y Brenin also has lovely footpaths, picnic sites and visitor centres. At Tyddyn Gwladys picnic site there are lovely walks to the spectacular waterfalls, Rhaeadr Mawddach, Pistyll Y Cain and Rhaeadr Du as well as the site of the disused Gwynfynydd gold mine.
Trawsfynydd is ideal for ramblers, mountain bikers, anglers and nature lovers. Centrally located within Snowdonia National Park, it is a perfect base for exploring the delights of the area or a quiet retreat to get away from it all.