In the late 12th century the Cistercians became established all over Wales. The only standing remains in Snowdonia are at Cymer, founded in 1198-9 under the patronage of Maredudd ap Cynan, a grandson of Owain Gwynedd.
The small church and part of the cloister survive and the buildings of Vanner Farm incorporate some of the early decorated masonry. The abbey is on a spur of dry land adjacent to an old channel of the Afon Mawddach, now much altered by modern flood defences. The discovery of a mooring block suggests that materials for the construction of the Abbey could have been brought in by boat. Further up the river are the remains of several fish traps, used by the monks to supplement their diet.
The Welsh princes granted to the Cistercians large blocks of upland throughout Snowdonia, which were used as granges or sheepwalks. In the 19th century a fine silver chalice and patten were found nearby, perhaps possessions of Cymer which would have been hidden at the Dissolution.
Follow the signs for Abaty Cymer on the A470 between Dolgellau and Llanelltyd.
There is no entrance fee.
Open all year round.