|To the mountain and secluded places...||
The church can be found in the old parish of Llanfrothen. Before 1811, when the Cob embankment was built, Llanfrothen was a cluster of small islands, bays, hidden valleys and stony headlands. It was here that Brothen came in the 6th century to establish his church. The church’s outer shell dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The east window is a triple lancet and dates back to the 13th century. The church was restored in 1884 and is now a listed building. Services are no longer held there except for at Christmas. The church is in the care of The Friends of Friendless Churches.
Two graves are worthy of note: that of Robert Roberts and its connection with David Lloyd George (click here for more history); and that of Mary Jones, an eighteen year old maid who was murdered by Thomas Edwards, known as the Hwntw Mawr (the Fearsome Southerner).
The Hwntw Mawr had gone to a farmhouse to steal, thinking everyone was out in the fields gathering the harvest. When he entered the kitchen he was surprised to find Mary there preparing food and he murdered her with sheep shears. He tried to escape but was captured and taken to the jail in Dolgellau. He was the last person to be hanged in public in Merioneth.
Robert Roberts’s grave is to the right of the path from the gate to the church, and Mary Jones’s grave is to the right of the church porch.
Clough Williams-Ellis moved to Wales with his family when he was four years old and lived in the Llanfrothen area until his death in 1978. He studied Maths at Cambridge but architecture was his passion and his characteristic style can be seen everywhere in the village. A colourful character in plus-fours and yellow stockings! - he devoted his life to protecting the environment. All his beautiful creations respect the natural landscape, and Portmeirion is the epitome of this.
Plas Brondanw was built in 1550 by Clough’s ancestor, and Clough inherited the site from his father in 1908. The gardens at Plas Brondanw are thought to be his most creative work and are listed among the ten gardens to visit in Britain. Click here to visit the website.
Opposite the main entrance to the gardens is the path leading up to the Tower. In 1915 Clough married Amabel Strachey and was asked by his regiment if he would like the usual silver salver as a gift. He answered “no, what I would really like is a ruin. There’s a stony headland near my home and I would like to build a tower on it so that I can enjoy the stunning views of Snowdon and the sea.” Click here to see our walks around the area.
The mosaic is on the wall of the building next door to Ysgol y Garreg. It was designed by local artist Ann Smith who worked with the school children to create it in 2009/10. The mosaic measures 12 ft x 8 ft and at its centre is a portrait of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, whose words “cherish the past, adorn the present, construct for the future” appear on the mosaic. It is made of coloured tiles, slate and pebbles and it illustrates the elements that make Llanfrothen a special place. For more information about the school click here.
In 2004 ospreys came to nest on the bank of the River Glaslyn near Pont Croesor for the first time. Unfortunately their nest was ruined by stormy weather but they returned again in 2005 and raised two chicks. They’ve returned every year since then, having flown thousands of miles from South Africa where they spend the winter. By now they’ve raised eighteen chicks. For more information visit Glaslyn Wildlife.
At Croesor it’s possible to walk up three mountains – the Cnicht (2,200 ft), the Moelwyn Bach (2,329 ft) and the Moelwyn Mawr (2,526 ft).
There are also plenty of walks that are less challenging - click here to see our walks around the area.
Other walks are shown on the following Ordnance Survey maps: Explorer OL18 and Landranger 124.
WARNING - Be aware that weather conditions can quickly change in the mountains. Wear suitable clothes and footwear. Mobile phone signal is not always available. Snowdonia National Park website has excellent advice on how to keep safe. Find weather forecasts by clicking here.
The area attracts many cyclists and the B4410 from Llanfrothen to Maentwrog is part of Route 82 of the National Cycling Network. Click here to visit Sustrans’s website. See also Snowdonia National Park’s website.