Although small in size, Pennal has an amazing diversity of stone
buildings, ranging from its rows of small cottages to the grand frontage
of its Chapels. The village is built around the course of the Afon Sychan
which flows into the Dyfi a little way behind the Riverside Hotel. A
lovely walk from the gate behind the Hotel, opposite the school, takes
you along the riverside to open fields where it joins the Dyfi. The views
from the fields are beautiful and offer a panoramic vista up to
Machynlleth and down toward Dyfi Junction. In recent years Otters have
returned to the river here and can be seen ‘playing’ in the shallows.
Cwrt is even smaller than Pennal and is little more than a bridge, a
bend in the road and a few cottages. There are a few newer buildings
on the river side of Cwrt along the road to Penmaendyfi. Away from the
river is a turning to Cwm Maethlon or ‘Happy Valley’ which leads all the
way to Tywyn, tracing the base of the valley rather than the coast
which the main road follows. It is not a good road to drive along,
having narrow and twisting parts but it does pass through spectacular
scenery and runs close to Llyn Barfog or ‘Bearded Lake’.
There are legends about the road linking Pennal and Cwrt that speak
of a thousand Saints being buried beside it; but its real claim to fame
is that it is the only place to overtake for miles around!