Driving on the A470 over The Bwlch, or mountain pass, that leads you towards Dolgellau is often an awe-inspiring moment. The Mawddach Estuary glistens in the distance and Cader Idris mountain range looms ahead. It truly feels like a land of magic and mystery where dragons could be lurking under mountains.
Some say you have just driven past the site of King Arthur’s last battle at Dinas Mawddwy. There are many Arthurian legends associated with Snowdonia and you can find out more at King Arthur’s Labyrinth at Corris, just 20 minutes drive from Graig Wen.
Follow a cloaked figure on the underground tour through the dark and mysterious tunnels of an old slate mine and find Arthur and his warriors sleeping in a lost cavern. The hour long tour will fire children’s imaginations and is a fun way to learn about the legends for all the family. Discover the giant talking head of Bran the Blessed in a secret box! Hipsters beware of the evil warrior with a cloak stitched out of beards!
Adults may wish to read more about the ancient folklore associated with Snowdonia in The Mabinogion, stories originally compiled by Medieval Welsh story-tellers. There’s an excellent contemporary reimagining of the tales in a short story collection by living Welsh writers including Owen Sheers, published by Seren Books – available to buy at the site.
Either way, you can have a grand day out at Corris Craft Centre, home of King Arthur’s Labyrinth, whatever the weather. Try an interesting selection of tasty, well cooked Welsh food and drink at Y Cochran (The Cauldron), cafe and shop. There’s even King Arthur and Lady Guinevere cheeses and a Merlyn liqueur to try – all made in Wales! Newly opened is an artisan distillery, Dyfi Gin, where you can chat to the makers about their distinctive and delicious blend of local forest botanicals. Children can try their hand at crafts from candle-making to chocolate designing and there are plenty of swords on sale!
And for those seeking the sacred lake where the mysterious white arm drew King Arthur’s sword Excalibur down into the deeps….check out this clip from the 1998 film Merlin shot just up the road from Graig Wen at Cregennan Lakes…