As the Dyfi Valley Way is not mapped, our first job was to determine the exact route and the only source of information seemed to be the guide book. We ordered it online and eagerly awaited this guide to the route...
The introduction sounded great and exactly what was required, and a quick glance at the strip maps showed a lot of detail. Turning to the first chapter, it begins with some history and legends of Aberdyfi. Fair enough, some background embellishment is fine and makes a nice souvenir to preserve the memories, and I quickly scanned forward looking for the start of the useful stuff that would help us plan our schedule - the route description. I scanned...and scanned...to the end of the chapter. There isn't one. The entire chapter is history and legends with not a word about the route. Looking in disbelief at the other chapters, they are all the same, though some have very brief practical notes included on the maps. This made all the main text of the book useless for practical planning and as we later discovered, some explanatory narrative would have been very helpful in quite a few places on this route.
The strength of the maps is the impressive amount of detail shown and the annotations pointing out items of interest along the way, but the assumption seems to be that people will take the book itself on the trip (do people actually do that?) because many of the maps are upside down, and when aligned with the OS map, so is the annotation. After a frustrating few hours turning the book backwards and forwards we got the route pencilled on the OS maps. The fact that all the roads, from A-roads to tiny lanes, are the same thickness and colour didn't help either, but that's a minor point.
The book appears to have comprehensive details of facilities available along the route, but the problem is that this kind of information is volatile, especially in relation to small villages, and we never rely on them (which is just as well in this case). We started the route at the north end which meant that we would pass through the towns of Machynlleth (twice) and Borth in mid-trip, which are totally reliable for restocking supplies, and we had no need to rely on small village shops.
Of the villages listed, we can only comment from memory on these:-
If you have a strong sense of history and want to know all the folklore about the route, this is a thorough piece of work and the text talks of almost nothing else. If not, the map annotations are very good and some of the facilities information will be useful if checked beforehand, but there is virtually nothing about the route itself. We would advise a significant time allowance for navigation (very significant in the forest sections).