We were out on the Llŷn recently -and we were lost. For those not familiar with Wales, the Llŷn is that bit on the map which looks as if it's an arm, pointing towards Ireland. A peninsula, and perhaps because of this, there's a particular quality which sets it apart from the rest of Wales. Maritime weather, low hedges and small fields, ancient, stunted stone hedges, even older hill-forts- and big skies. In some ways, Cornwall and extreme south west Scotland also have these traits, as does western Brittany. Bocage country.
Anyway, as I say, we were lost. But you don't stay lost for long here- as the Llŷn isn't exactly massive. More often than not, you just end up back where you started, but unable to find the place you are looking for. I noticed that we'd passed a couple of fine avenues of trees, going off into the fields. We kept passing avenues like this- or perhaps the same one... Then I spotted a place to park at the side of the road near one of these avenues, and we decided to explore.
There was a fine footpath board which informed us that this was the Lôn Goed, and that the path was supported by the active lifestyles fund. So we walked along in the early spring sunshine, enjoying the peace. The only sounds were the beautiful birdsong and the faint breathing of the wind in the branches overhead.
I looked up, aware of the fluctuating light as the oak and beech branches sparkled, making a lacework canopy above. I could almost feel the returning life in the trees after a winter of waiting. The green fuse, and all that.
We came to a bench, carved with some lines of poetry in Welsh..it seems that the Lôn Goed is prominent in the Welsh cultural consciousness through a resonant couplet by the Dyffryn Nantlle poet Robert Williams Parry: "A llonydd gorffenedig/Yw llonydd y Lon Goed," he wrote. "A perfected, accomplished quiet/Is the quiet of Lon Goed." (the words are from the poem "Eifionydd")
We dawdled along for a couple of miles, enjoying what felt like a healing quiet. You could hear stuff going on, sure- but as if in the distance. A tractor, a cow voicing a grievance. The inevitable transatlantic jet, high above. I imagine in summer, those noises will be muted by leaves. We turned back, deciding to come back again in summer and see.
So what was Y Lôn Goed? Apparently, a road made between 1819 and 1828 by John Maughan, steward of the Talhenbont/Plas Hen Estate, to facilitate the transport of lime and peat. The reasoning behind the trees was that they would help drain the land, making it easier for the farmers of the estate to carry lime from the kiln at Afonwen to the different farms and therefore improving the pasture. Y Lôn Goed runs for about five miles, winding in a northerly direction from Afonwen to Hendre Cennin. If you look on the old maps, it's possible to see a couple of tributary roads leading off, similarly flanked by trees. It is also referred to locally as "Lôn Môn," a corruption of the name Maughan. Y Lôn Goed means something like "wood lane" in english.
Parking is something of a problem at either end of the Lôn Goed. I suggest parking near the middle where we did, at SH 45910 43269. There is a very small length of the Lôn Goed which has been adopted by the highways department here, with space to park a couple of cars if done considerately.
Landranger 123 Lleyn Peninsula Map
Explorer 253 Lleyn Peninsula West
Explorer 254 Lleyn Peninsula East
You can purchase a poster with the poem and an illustration of Y Lôn Goed from Graffeg here
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