Cei Tyddyn Isa

07/03/2023 by

Cei Tyddyn Isa 

It was a  glorious day in late February so after a quick lunch we decided to make the most of this beautiful day and head out there for an exploration of sorts,I had something in  mind and when both the leads were taken down the dogs shared the same excitement. I’m sure both Nel and Rosie have psychic abilities.

We were heading towards Penrhyndeudraeth to find the Old dock  ‘Cei Tyddyn Isa’, an old 17th century dock used in the slate industry.

Rucksack sorted, coffee made, dogs bouncin around with excitement, we got in the car and made our way towards the Dwyryd estuary. Having researched this place, looking at maps it was getting obvious that there was not an easy, marked path to find the quay, so it was looking like a good proper afternoon of exploration.

Starting point was a layby just about a mile outside of Penrhyndeudraeth, first bend to the right, old cottage on the left and pull over just after. Rucksack on, dogs out and then to cross the road, this was a challenge in itself as it was pretty much a blind bend and no speed restrictions. Mission accomplished and then we followed a small path down through some fields, up again and found another tarmac lane. Now this was confusing as I thought I would have been on the edge of the river and somewhat puzzling as I had no idea whatsoever where this road had come from or where it was going. It was on the map as a track.This was another project for later on, to find the entrance to this track.

There was no obvious way so after heading right for 500 metres we decided it was the wrong way so we headed left instead. Still not clear , but saw a tiny path on the edge of a wood which was heading towards the river’s edge so thought ‘why not’, 100 metres and we could see the Dwyryd, Bingo!, on the right track at last. A very pleasant walk on the edge of a wooden clad hill, very flat so I presumed this was the base for the old tram line where slates were transported from Blaenau down to the river’s edge.

The first thing that hits you is the size of the quay itself. The structures are still there today, most being intact, huge well built stonework. 23 sets of steps for loading, 10 metres between each set of steps, all straight as a die. A few stones are missing but considering it was built in the late 18th century, it is still pretty remarkable. There are also  two buildings , one a small simple hut and the other a more grand boathouse type of building.

 Before Porthmadog was even dreamt up by Lord Madocs the quarries at Ffestiniog were producing many tonnes of slate roofing tiles.

They were transported down from Ffestiniog by packhorse to the Quay at Tyddyn isa, a few miles below the bridge at Maentwrog. They were then loaded into small local barges, some had sails and oars, and operated by local men, commonly known as ‘Philistines’, and then floated out on the tide to awaiting ships on the bar. Some accounts say this to be far side of Ynys Cyngar, others say just outside  ‘Ty powdr’ – the powder house on the point. 

This practice finally died out in 1860’s after the development of Porthmadog harbour.

 From the south side it looks like a castle wall, this is due to the steps between the walls. 

Wood and lime was also transported .

The site of this remarkable piece of riverside against the backdrop of the river Dwyryd is quite amazing and well worth the effort to find the place. After taking plenty of photos, drinking coffee we made our way back up the way we came and back to the car. Dogs and owners looking forward to a short rest , task for the day completed we headed back to Rhosydd HQ .

It’s a walk well worth doing and if you want to make it a longer one then I’m sure it’s possible to follow the river down to Bont Briwet and back up through the woodland , this would make a fantastic circular walk, one for the summer maybe. 

Thank you for reading


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