Welcome to the Machynlleth pages. I've had a lot of feedback since I first put this Web Site on line, from as far afield as Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, China, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, the USA (California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Texas) and, best of all, from a great school friend now in Malaysia, whom I met again after 30 years. There have been many responses from around the UK, mostly from people who have lived there in the past or who have fond memories of holidays in the area. I've also had contact with Mach-based businesses, some of which are into Web publishing, and a growing number from Machynlleth residents themselves. Thank you all for your kind comments.
I don't claim to be an expert on the town, I don't live there any more, so cannot comment on its society, and am unable to visit more than a few times a year. However, it's a fascinating place - a concoction of the very old, the not so old as it might seem, and the very new. The drab grey slates of its rooftops (and for best effect experience this from the top of Penrallt as curtains of rain sweep up the valley) largely disappear from view down at street level, being replaced by a riot of brightly coloured stucco. The town has some architectural treasures and one or two architectural mistakes from the 1960s; generally very well-kept properties and - at last - most of the few scruffy ones in Maengwyn St have undergone renovation.
Welsh is used widely in Machynlleth, I'm glad to say, although I am ashamed of my own lack of prowess in this area. I learnt "book Welsh" until I was 16, but was taunted mercilessly over my poor grasp of the spoken idiom, and you can imagine what effect this had on a teenager with many other more pressing interests to explore. I now wish that I had persevered, and I'm trying hard to improve my vocabulary.
One can pick out a Machynlleth accent when English is spoken - but you will also detect accents from much further afield. Machynlleth, as a traditional market town, must always have attracted visitors and settlers from far and wide, and gradually they are assimilated into its fabric, the children of the incomers growing up as locals - and why not, indeed? I wonder how many Machynlleth families can claim Machynlleth roots over more than 4 generations? A term I heard someone use about Mach was that it is "somewhat alternative", and there is certainly an alternative subculture in evidence. Nevertheless, I feel that it remains at heart a very Welsh town, but with a decidedly unusual veneer.
It's been around a LONG time. Here's a small section of a Christopher Saxton map, published in Camden's "Britannia" in 1610/1637, taken from an original I picked up at a book fair some years ago and have framed on my wall at home. I guess it's just about out of copyright now...
I'm always on the lookout for any information relating to the area, and have dug out all sorts of guff from books, articles and some of the 2,310,000 Web Sites which Google says include the term "Machynlleth". This is an amazing number for a little town of population no more than about 2000 - although it has to be said that a fair proportion of the sites refer to obscure genealogical connections or out-of-date bus timetables! Nevertheless, buried amongst these are some top quality Web Sites as well, and in the following pages I've included links to those that have caught my eye.
I've sorted the Mach-related information into some kind of logical order, and you can access it via the above buttons - the "Explore Mach" button brings up an interactive map with photographs and notes. However, if your interests extend beyond the town itself, click on Dyfi Valley to explore from the source of the river to its estuary.