Nestled in the hillside, many a passing motorist is unaware of the existance of Corris and its attractions. The pretty grey slate buildings now only have the memories of this bustling slate mining centre. Little has changed, preserving the village like a time capsule. Visit the Slaters Arms, once echoing the singing voices of drinking miners. The singing continues today and it is still the meeting point for social interaction with photos of past glories adorning the walls. The landlord is a character and the villagers friendly, with a good chance of being roped into a game of pool or dominoes. For an alternative venue which runs special attractions, there is the Braich Goch Inn on the main road.

It was in 1859 that Corris Railway first opened. Now, after 35 years of volunteer activity, the Corris Railway Society has started running public services again this year (every Sunday during the season). In the railway museum there are good exhibits of the local and social mining and railway history. Railway enthusiasts will also enjoy the Talyllyn Railway in the next valley. Catch a train to Dolgoch Falls for stunning falls canopied in old woodland trees.

Back in Corris, the Craft Centre gives opportunity to watch the artists at work on their crafts--pyrography, wood, quilting , glass, cards, pottery, jewellery, leather and candlemaking. Also resident here is King Arthur's Labyrinth where a boat takes visitors into spectacular underground caverns where tales of the Welsh mythology are retold. These include the lost kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod and the "Welsh King Arthur." The complex also has a tourist information centre and restaurant.

The Heritage Walk Guide will give you an opportunity to explore Corris and visit the Italian Gardens and remains of Abercorris Slate Quarry. More tourist information can be obtained through the Tourist Information Centre by phoning 01654 761244

Natural Attarctions

Numerous pathways through changing landscapes of meadowland, forest, ravines, cascading waterfalls and Alpine areas provide choice and variety for both walkers and cyclists.

Energetic walkers will find a challenge in Cadair Idris (3 miles west of Corris), an extinct volcano with Llyn Cau, its crater lake. For many, it has a special attraction and it is said that "to sleep on the mountain overnight you will either end up a poet or a mad man." On its north side lies the Cregennen Lakes, site of ancient settlement and standing stones.

The lakes also have good fishing. On the west flank is the Dysynni Valley, within which, perched on a wooded outcrop, are the ruins of a 13th Century castle built by Llewelyn the Great. Its western entrance is guarded by Bird Rock, a vertical ediface of some 800 feet in height with an Iron Age settlement on top. Cormorants nest in its crags and fly 5 miles to the sea for their daily catch of fish.

The Dyfi Estuary, with over 5,500 acres of estuarine complex, has been designated a biosphere reserve, one of eleven sites in Britain chosen to protect the best examples of Britain's habitat and wildlife. Bird watching enthusiasts will enjoy the large Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds reserve at Ynys Hir. There are numerous hides overlooking the Dyfi Estuary and adjacent woodlands, as well as an information centre and shop.

The Ynyslas National Marine Reserve, with massive sand dunes and broadwalks is well equipped with an information and education centre. The coastline here has miles of golden sands. At low tide, distant sand banks produce beautiful wave crests, and expose vitrified oak forest stumps some 6000 years old. This is the legendary land of Cantre'r Gwaelod and King Gwyddno Garanhir whose land was lost when the dykes failed, washing 16 villages and some 1000 people into the sea.

Cyclists are well catered for. Try "Machynlleth Mountain Biking" with its special routes. The adventurous can explore ancient trails and forestry tracks. Those en route can use the Welsh National Cycle route 8 which passes through both Corris and Machynlleth. Pony trekking, golf, clay pigeon shooting, field archery, and marine activities are also available within the area.

Machynlleth & Dyfi Valley

Machynlleth, the meeting point of ancient lands and its clans, has always been a focal point in history. It hosted the legendary Owain Glyndwr's last Welsh parliament in 1404. The Parliament House can still be visited today and one can learn about the town's role as the ancient capital of Wales.

The Tourist Information Office (tel: 01654 702 401) is alongside it. There has been a bustling Wednesday street market here for over 700 years. There is a strong representation of local artistic talent among the many unique shops and galleries of arts and crafts. You can even buy a tipi or authentic tribal tent here!

The contemporary art of Wales is displayed at Y Tabernacl, which is also the host of Machynlleth's annual music festival in August. In September, there is the Medieval fayre with much pageantry.

Down the estuary at Borth, one can visit the Animalarium, where conservation and the preservation of endangered species through captive breeding are studied.

In 1975, the opening of the Centre for Alternative Technology made a major impact on the area. Since then, it has become Europe's leading eco-centre with dynamic displays and exhibits showing different methods of generating and storing energy from the environment, life-style alternatives and bioculture. It also has an award-winning environmental website and its educational facilities and consultancy are recognised throughout the world.

It is not surprizing, therefore, to find that Machynlleth is now being recognised as the "Alternative Capital of Wales". The Dyfi Eco-Valley Partnership evolved "to foster sustainable community regeneration in the Dyfi Valley" and in using its skills and resources, to set standards and by example, provide leadership in sustainable lifestyle.