religion, art, music
The rural market town of Machynlleth, with a population just over 2,000, grew on the edge of the River Dyfi's flood-plain, between that river's tumbling mountain source above Llanymawddwy and its sand-barred estuary at Aberdyfi. Permission by charter for a weekly Wednesday market (still flourishing today) was granted in 1291 by the English king, Edward I, formalising Machynlleth's status as trading centre of an area that reflects the physical catchment of the Dyfi. Nowadays strongly bilingual, the town is famous for rebellious Welsh leader Owain Glyndwr's crowning as prince of a secessionist Wales in 1404 and for his holding of a parliament here.
Machynlleth, 2009 (photo - Patrick Laverty)
Though some ten miles from the sea, just outside Machynlleth is the most downstream road crossing of the Dyfi - replacing earlier structures, this stone bridge was built in 1805, its cost shared between the flanking counties of Montgomeryshire and Merionethshire that it connected. It is awkward for modern traffic and now somewhat patched with iron reinforcements, but the Dyfi when in high spate is a stirring sight as it crowds the arches.