You could say that Fairbourne is built on flour. It was founded by Arthur McDougall who, with his brothers, had founded a milling business in Liverpool which did rather well and later became known as McDougall’s Flour Company. The scheme was to create an estate of houses and small hotels as a resort to rival nearby Barmouth.
Fairbourne Beach (Traeth Y Friog) is an expanse of golden sands backed by a steep natural pebble embankment to the south, and dunes to the north, which line the saltmarsh and mud flats extending into the estuary mouth.
On the promenade you can see remnants of World War II defences - the concrete tank traps or ‘dragon’s teeth’ here once numbered 650 in total and stretched for 1.5 miles, making it one of the longest wartime sea defences in the UK. Cardigan Bay is renowned for its pods of dolphins so look out for them also for porpoises here. At low tide oystercatchers pick at the shoreline, their peep-peep call carried on the wind.
The wonderful little narrow-gauge Fairbourne Steam Railway runs for two miles from Fairbourne village and along the seafront to the end of the beach where it connects to a small ferry to Barmouth. Along the route is Golf Halt, a station which was previously known as Gorsafawddacha'idraigodanheddogleddollônpenrhynareurdraethceredigion – or “the Station on the Madddach with dragons teeth on the North Penrhyn Drive on the Golden Cardigan Sands”. The name was a publicity stunt, a humorous attempt to outdo the more famous Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the name of a village and train station in Anglesey, which was also a publicity stunt, created by an enterprising tailor in the 1880s!
Fairbourne is a small place so don’t expect a huge choice of eateries – but Penrhyn Bar offers good wholesome fare. There is also a cluster of local shops in the village for provisions.