‘The Welsh girl without a Bible’
This beautiful walk through the heart of Snowdonia begins in the village of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant beneath the imposing plateau of Cader Idris and ventures 25 miles inland to Llyn Tegid and the town of Bala. It commemorates the story of Mary Jones, who in 1800, at the age of 15, walked barefoot to Bala and back in order to purchase a Bible from Thomas Charles, a clergyman. The tale quickly became popular throughout the world, and Mary has been known ever since as ‘the little Welsh girl without a Bible’.
Born in 1784, her early life was blighted by poverty. Her father died when Mary was only four years old and she was raised by her widowed mother. From a young age, she had been a part of the pioneering Methodist movement which had established a foothold in the area, and she was accepted into the local Methodist seiat, or society meeting, when only eight years old.
Mary had access to a Bible kept in a nearby farmhouse, but her dream was to obtain one of her own. She scrimped and saved for several years to raise the 17 shillings required – a huge sum of money for a poor girl like Mary. She lived to the ripe old age of 80 and is said to have read her Bible cover to cover four times in her lifetime.
Thomas Charles is said to have been so inspired by her faith that he was compelled to create the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804. The Society’s aim is to publish and distribute affordable Bibles throughout Wales and beyond.
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Good Walks Nearby
From A487 Dolgellau/Machynlleth at Minffordd take the B4405 for Abergynolwyn – turn right for Castell y Bere, following the sign for Llanfihangel-y-Pennant.
Barmouth - 19 miles, Blaenau Ffestiniog - 10 miles
Abergynolwyn bus stop at Railway Inn - 2 miles from walk start. Bala High Street bus stop at finish
NCN Route 8 is close to Llanfihangel-y-Pennant
The whole walk is 28 miles with downloadable route on the Bible Society website
No parking is available at Tŷn-y-Ddôl
Full Figure Grid Reference - Trail start (church Llanfihangel y Pennant): SH 671089, Mary Jones House (Ty’n y Ddol): SH 673 095, Trail end (Bala): SH 928361
OS Landranger map sheet: 124, 125
- Mary Jones Walk, Llanfihangel y Pennant