St. Tecwyn, Llandecwyn
The ancient burial ground of Llandecwyn and its Victorian small Welsh church, which replaced a much older church in the 19th century, is on an ancient neolithic/bronze age way, now part of the newly signposted Ardudwy Way long distance path. Revd Jim Cotter started the Small Pilgrim Places Network at this church with magnificent views of Snowdonia and Cardigan Bay. (There is an outstanding view over the Dwyryd Estuary, looking down to Portmeirion, Harlech Castle to the left, mountains and the Glaslyn Estuary to the right, Rhinog mountains to the South and Snowdonia to the North.)
The trial project lasted seven years. Jim Cotter wrote in his journal of his time there: "On the last afternoon of the ‘season’ in 2003, at the end of the half-term week in October, the very last visitors were a Muslim family from the Midlands, father, mother, two daughters aged about twelve and ten. They sat quietly for ten minutes or so, and then the father came up to me and said, 'Thank you, I find I can pray here.'"
The church is now open again and is well worth a visit to enjoy the great quiet of the churchyard, ancient lychgate, and ancient spiritual atmosphere. St. Tecwyn seems to have founded the first mission church here in the sixth century AD. The mother church for the district is St. Tanwg’s in the dunes at Llandanwg (now also a Small Pilgrim Place) about seven miles south, founded circa AD435, often open in the summer. It is a cradle of British Christianity dating back to the decade after the leaving of the Roman legions.
The church is now open during daylight hours.
A Gosper (traditional Welsh Evensong) service is held at 4 p.m. on the 1st Sunday of the month during the summer.
Eglwys Tecwyn Sant, St Tecwyn's Church, Llandecwyn, Gwynedd, LL47, United Kingdom
Grid reference SH 632 376
On foot: Walkers should look for Pont Briwet, with rail and road crossing over the Dwyryd Estuary from Penrhyndeudraeth. Take the lane opposite the approach to the bridge. For the hill track look for the Ardudwy Way sign, on your right at Bryn Eithin, make for the side of the white house opposite (Beudy Cil) and go through its yard. Follow the pylons up the track to Llyn Tecwyn Uchaf, then turn right along an ancient sunken way until the church appears on your right. Alternatively keep on up the steep lane to a small hamlet (Bryn Bwbach) and phone box, turn left to Llyn Tecwyn Isaf, and fork left again up a 'no through road' to the church. There are neolithic, bronze age, and iron age sites along the high hill routes from Llandecwyn to Harlech, which are probably very ancient ways. The sea once covered much of the flat land below.
By train: There is a railway station at Talsarnau (request stop) and you can then walk.
By car: You may follow the same lane for the intrepid, or else make your way to Talsarnau village, 4 miles N. of Harlech on the A496, and take the easier signposted route marked Llandecwyn which will also take you to Llyn Tecwyn Isaf, skirt the lake and take the left fork up the hill to the church. (Trust the No Through Road sign - the tarmac ends at the churchyard!).
Disabled Access: There is a grass path, ok for wheelchairs. There are no toilet facilities.
The cemetery can be explored (best using Jim Cotter's meditation leaflet, available in the Church), but is unsuitable for wheelchairs.
Refreshments are available at two good places in Talsarnau - the Estuary Motel and the Ship Aground Pub.
Accommodation is available at Tregwylan Guest House in Talsarnau (01766770424) and other hotels, guest houses and B & B in the area
Quiet days for individuals or group by arrangement.
Hospitaller details below - a further contact person is the Rector, Revd Canon Beth Bailey - tel: 01341 247499 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel: 07968 234098.