Aberdovey, Snowdonia


Aberdovey / Aberdyfi is on the coast in Snowdonia National Park. Our location means you don’t have to choose between beach based water activities, expeditions in the mountains or sleeping out in a cabin in the forest – they’re all here waiting for you.

The Outward Bound Trust
Aberdovey / Aberdyfi
LL35 0RA
01654 767464

What to expect at Aberdovey

Your programme

Aberdovey is the original Outward Bound centre. Young people have been coming here since 1941! No two weeks are the same, but your programme will likely include a mix of activities - perhaps a night in one of our cabins in the forest or braving the iconic jetty jump from the wharf, maybe a beach camp fire or an expedition on Cadair Idris or its surrounding mountains. These places will be your classroom for your course, giving you space to learn, try a new challenge and have fun.

Life at centre

We made the film below at Aberdovey to give you a feel of what life is like at an Outward Bound centre. Aberdovey is our biggest centre, accommodating 184 young people in dorm rooms that sleep 4-8. Group leaders and visiting staff have their own twin rooms, some with ensuite facilities. Although we're remote, most networks can get 4G and you can access wifi from the social areas.

We provide all the specialist kit, waterproofs and boots you'll need. If they get wet just pop them in our big drying room, and you'll be kept warm in the main building with our ground source heat pump heating.

Our kitchen team are passionate about providing the tastiest food they can, with lots of the ingredients coming from local suppliers. If you have any dietary requirements be sure to mention them on your personal information form before you come.

800x500 Aberdovey cutter
400x250 climbing
400x500 Aberdovey cabin
400x250 Aberdovey sunset beach
400x500 Aberdovey jetty jump
800x500 Aberdovey woodland walk
Sunsets on the beach
Getting to Aberdovey

From the North
From the M6 junction 20A, take the M56 West and follow the signs to the M53, which then becomes the A55 towards Chester. From the A55 take the A483 past Wrexham, turn right onto the A5 towards Llangollen and then onto Corwen. Two miles after Corwen, turn left onto the A494 towards Bala and then onto Dolgellau. At Dolgellau turn left onto the A470 and after three miles turn right onto the A487 towards Machynlleth. After 14 miles turn right onto the A493 to Aberdovey. Follow paragraph 'From Machynlleth' as opposite.

From South West
From the M4 junction 24, follow the A449 and then the A40 towards Abergavenny and onto Crickhowell. One and a half miles past Crickhowell turn right onto the A479 towards Talgarth and follow the signs to Builth Wells. On approaching Builth Wells, remain on the A470 and follow the signs to Rhayader, then onto Llangurig, then Caersws and finally Machynlleth. At a roundabout in Cemmaes Road, turn left onto the A489 towards Machynlleth. Follow paragraph ‘From Machynlleth’ as below.

From the South East and Midlands
Take the M54, which becomes the A5, heading towards Shrewsbury. Leave the A5 to the west of Shrewsbury on the A458 towards Welshpool and then onto Dolgellau. Once you reach a roundabout in Mallwyd, (the Brigands Inn will be on your left), turn left onto the A470 towards Machynlleth. Follow the A470 for 6 miles, at a roundabout in Cemmaes Road turn right onto the A489 towards Machynlleth. Follow paragraph 'From Machynlleth' as opposite.

From Machynlleth
On approaching the clock tower in Machynlleth turn right towards Aberdovey. After half a mile turn left, (immediately after crossing river bridge), onto the A493 to Aberdovey. Follow the A493 for
approximately 9 miles. The entrance to the centre is on the right immediately after the 40 MPH speed restriction signs. CAUTION, the entrance is difficult to negotiate and large vehicles should only attempt to arrive from or depart towards Machynlleth.

A bit of history

In 1941 Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist and Lawrence Holt launched Outward Bound. Holt was a businessman linked to a shipping line and he despaired of the number of young sailors who were dying at sea during the war. Many lacked essential survival skills – from the practical how to escape a sinking ship to the physical strength to do so after growing up during the depression. But mostly, they didn’t have the determination to survive when things got really tough, the older, more experience sailors had much more tenacity.

Holt and Hahn were convinced using learning and adventure in the outdoors would teach these young seamen to manage risk, to build themselves up and to develop resilience, self-belief and confidence. And thanks to their vision and the dedication, skills and creativity of key individuals like Jim Hogan and Dr B Zimmerman, Outward Bound was born.

Outward Bound Sea School at Aberdovey was our first centre. It soon started welcoming young men from industry, the police and cadets as well as seamen. Today Aberdovey is our biggest and busiest centre – and we think there’s something pretty special about going Outward Bound in a place where so many have gone before you.

Have you been to Aberdovey?

Are you one of the 1.2 million people who've been on an Outward Bound course since 1941? We’d love to keep in touch. Find out more at our alumni community hub.

Make a donation

We know there are lots of reasons people choose to support Outward Bound. Many do because they had a life-enhancing experience themselves and want to 'pay it forward' to the next generation. Whatever your reason, we thank you.

Adventures from Aberdovey