Part 1 – Dolgellau to Penmaenpool
The first section of the walk is actually beside the old railway line, as that is now the A494. You start by leaving the car park (at the playing field end) and take the signed path beside the river Wnion until you reach the new pedestrian/cycle bridge (built in 2012). Cross this and turn left and carry on until you reach the main Tywyn road. Cross this (carefully) and you’re at the “Bont y Wernddu” car park which is where you start to see signs of the old railway line (which you have now joined). The first sign is the bridge you cross before you reach the gate. If you want a little detour, just before the bridge there is a little path to the right which follows the river for a couple of hundred meters (which is covered in wild garlic in the spring). It’s always worth stopping on this bridge and peering down the river, as I have seen Kingfishers here in the past.
From here, it’s a straight tree-lined walk to Penmaenpool, with reed beds either side (some of the largest in Wales and a Site of Special Scientific Interest).
Go through the cycle-gates at the end of this section and you’re at Penmaenpool… home to an old wooden toll bridge which was built in 1879 and worth a short diversion and walk to the other side. There is also a GWR signal box and the aforementioned Pub (The George III).