BARMOUTH

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OR, ABERMAW

“Here, beneath the mountain’s brow,
Hygeia hears the pilgrim’s vow;
Here the breath of summer seas.
The balm of mom, the evening breeze,
The charms of a romantic land,
Refresh and gem the Cambrian strand, —
Where still the muse of Cymry lingers,
And strikes the harp with raptured fingers.”

BARMOUTH, the only port in Merionethshire, occupies a romantic situation at
the mouth of the river Mawddach, where the tide at high-water forms a bay of about a
mile across, but rather hazardous, owing to the shifting sandbanks by which the channel
is interrupted. Overhung by lofty mountains, which leave no adequate space for the
horizontal expansion of the village, the houses appear to hang almost perpendicularly
from the steep side of the cliffs, so that the chimneys of the one appear to be the
foundation of the other. They form eight successive tiers or terraces, to which there is
no better approach than by steps hewn in the rock.

This romantic village, which consists of only one irregular street, is much
frequented as sea-bathing quarters, for which it has every accommodation, and, in
respect to bold and picturesque scenery has few rivals in the whole Principality. The
sea-beach affords every facility for pedestrian exercise; the walks along the banks of
the river are numerous, and command the most striking points of view; while regular
assemblies, and some of the best Cambrian harps, promote social intercourse and
hilarity among the visitors, and give a stir and animation to the whole neighborhood.

Barmouth says Mr. Roscoe, is considered to the north-west part of the kingdom,
much like Weymouth and other fashionable watering-places to the south, and
is resorted to during the summer months, not only by numbers of families in the
Principality, but by many others residing in the surrounding counties. The sands are

very fine and hard, extending along the beach for several miles, and the bathing is at
all times as excellent as can be desired. The restless tides of the Channel dashing
against the surrounding coast produce that constant and salubrious motion, which is
extended to the waters of the bay. There are two convenient inns, the “Commercial,”
and the “Cors y Gedol Arms,” besides a number of respectable lodging-houses.

The town has the benefit of weekly markets, with an excellent supply of fish
and poultry, at a cheap rate, and is further enlivened by two annual fairs, in October
and November. The native manufactures consist chiefly of flannel and hosiery, a great
quantity of which is exported. The other exports consist of corn, butter, cheese, oak-
bark, timber, &c.; the imports, of coal, culm, and other articles for the use of the interior.

The number of small coasting-vessels, and others belonging to this haven that
trade with Ireland, is stated at a hundred or upwards; and commercial business, upon
the whole, is considered to be in a flourishing state.

The distance of Barmouth from London is two hundred and twenty-two miles,
and it communicates with Caernarvon by a cross-mail. The resident population is
considerably under two thousand, but is greatly augmented during the bathing season.
The shipping at the pier communicates to the place a particular air of prosperity and
cheerfulness, and gives employment to a very considerable portion of the inhabitants.

“The beauties of the road from Llanilltyd to Barmouth,” says Mr. Pratt,
“are so manifold and extraordinary that they literally beggar description. New pastures
of the most exuberant fertility, new woods rising in all the majesty of foliage, the road
itself curving in numberless unexpected directions, — at one moment shut into a
verdant recess, so contracted that there seems neither carriage nor bridle-way out of it,
and at another the azure expanse of the main ocean filling the eye. On one side, rocks
glittering in all the colors of that beauty which constitutes the sublime, and of a height
which diminishes the wild herds that browse, or look down upon you from the summit,
where the largest animal appears insignificantly minute. On the other hand, plains,
villas, cottages, or copses, with whatever belongs to that milder grace which appertains
to the beautiful.”

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