Cymer Abbey, West Wales, UK - Ruin of a Cistercian Abbey, founded in 1189

By Hoosie | I do like a good castle | 16 Feb 2022

We visited Cymer Abbey this week, while on vacation in North Wales.  The abbey is close to Dolgellau near the west coast of Wales.  Its very much a ruin, but very beautiful.


It was established in 1189, and has had quite a varied history, having played its part in wars, and all kinds.


In the 13th century the abbey was the base for troops of Prince Llywelyn for a few years before being occupied by troops of Edward the 1st during his invasion of Wales.  


The Abbey is set in quite a picturesque valley beside a river.  The monks farmed sheep and bred horses to generate an income, but allegedly the Abbey was never very prosperous.


The site is maintained by CADW which is an organisation setup to protect the historic environment in Wales.  It is free to enter - there is some limited parking, but no other facilities.  When we were there, we were the only visitors.  


Based on the information board above, it would have been quite impressive in its time, although a lot of the structures you see above, are now reduced to ground level, with only footings remaining to show where they would have been.


The stone may have been recycled over the years and used locally for other buildings and developments.


The Abbey was dissolved in around 1537, so lasted over 300 years, which is impressive considering it was disrupted by battles and the like.


We thought it was well worth the visit, noting we were in the area, having visited Harlech Castle and the town of Dolgellau, both of which are fairly close by.


It was also lovely to see the snow drops out in force by the corner of the Abbey - always the first sign of spring coming in the UK !


It must have been magnificent in its day, and its such a shame that it fell into ruin, but that is the case with many Abbeys in the UK, especially with the reformation in which Henry the 8th changed the whole religious scene so that he could remarry - he had a lot to answer for on that front. 


We certainly enjoyed the visit and would stop in again if in the area.



Cymer Abbey, CADW

If you want to support important buildings, history and heritage in Wales and the UK, then please consider the following:

CADW - Protecting the Historic Environment in Wales

For a reasonable annual membership price, CADW provides access to numerous historic properties across Wales which are great for days out.  Once you've been a member for more than a year you also got access to other properties across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (half price entry during your first year, and then it should be completely free when you have been a member for more than a year) - so its well worth the investment, plus its all for a good cause. 

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ETF, mutual fund and crypto trader - trying to accumulate crypto coin from freebies with very little financial input. My main investments are made in mutual funds and ETFs on the Fidelity International investment platform.

I do like a good castle
I do like a good castle

In my spare time I enjoy visiting castles - being a member of both English Heritage and the National Trust for Scotland gives me year round access to a heck of a lot of them within the British Isles. I'll place the odd post about some of the ones I've visited. The picture used for the blog is Dunstaffnage Castle, which is located on the West Coast of Scotland, in Argyll & Bute, on the edge of the village of Dunbeg - close to Oban.

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