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Snowdonia

Snowdonia National Park covers 823 square miles of the most beautiful and unspoilt countryside in North Wales. It is an area where people live and work but also where thousands come to relax and enjoy a wide range of leisure activities.

Little was known of Snowdonia outside Wales until the 18th century when many tours of the area were undertaken by gentleman travellers. These were frequently documented in a plethora of publications ranging from rather unreliable, third rate romantic descriptions to the often more reliable observations of writers such as John Craddock's "Letters from Snowdon" 1770.

Snowdonia is also the classic ground for the study of geology and the effects of the ice age - the setting in the 19th century for the first scientific investigations of some of the world's oldest rocks. Building on those early studies, geologists have been able to piece together a very full description of its creation over the course of hundreds of millions of years of submersion, lifting and erosion. Today you can clearly see a variety of geological features like the flat glacial valleys that below the jagged peak of the mountains.

Nowadays Snowdonia National Park is well recorded and its importance for wildlife and geology is well understood. The National Park contains several National Nature Reserves (NNRs) including the stunning waterfalls at Coedydd Aber NNR at the foot of the Y Carneddau mountain in the north of the Park, mountain reserves such as Cwm Idwal, Snowdon, Cadair Idris, the Rhinogs and Berwyns as well as a variety of woodland NNRs such as Coed Llyn Mair and the beautiful coastal reserves of Morfa Harlech and Morfa Dyffryn.

Beddgelert

Snowdonia's prettiest village, Beddgelert, nestles beneath Mount Snowdon. The area around Beddgelert was once described by George Borrow in his book of 1862 as 'a wondrous valley, rivalling for grandeur and beauty any vale either in the Alps or Pyrenees'.

Set in some of the most majestic scenery Wales has to offer, its cluster of stone buildings are strewn with imaginative floral displays. Beddgelert has been a winner in the Britain in Bloom and Wales in Bloom competitions on many occasions. In 1997 it also received the prestigious gold award from 'Europe in Bloom'.

There is a free National Trust Exhibition and shop in the village, Ty Isaf, housed in a picturesque seventeenth century former farmhouse. Ty Isaf, formerly known as Bwthyn Llywelyn, is the oldest house in the village and occupies the site of the medieval hunting lodge of Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales. It features highly interesting displays on the history and wildlife of the area and a nineteenth century kitchen.


Betws-Y-Coed

Betws-y-Coed was founded around a monastery in the late sixth century, and grew very slowly with the development of the local lead mining industry. In 1815, the Waterloo Bridge built by Thomas Telford to carry A5 road across the River Conwy and through the village brought considerable transport-related development. The village became a major coaching center between Corwen (to the east) and Capel Curig (to the west) on the Irish Mail route from London to Holyhead, which led to the improvement of the roads south to Blaenau Ffestiniog and north to Llanrwst and Conwy.

Capel Curig

Capel Curig is a small village popular with walkers and climbers, with views along Dyffryn Mymbyr towards Snowdon. It is about 5 miles to the west of Betws-y-Coed, and is home to Plas-y-Brenin, the National Mountain Centre.

The village gains its name, which means Curig's Chapel, from its small church set in an ancient graveyard on the Llanberis road. Traditionally, the church is said to be a sixth century construction, founded by St. Curig, a Celtic Bishop.

Capel Garmon

Capel Garmon is a small peaceful village set above the Conwy Valley some 2 miles from Betws-y-Coed. It is surrounded by pasture land and there are fine views towards the peaks of Snowdonia.

Cerrig-Y-Drudion

The village of Cerrig-y-Drudion is the focal point for the surrounding smaller villages and farms. It is surrounded by dramatic moorland, and lies between Betws-y-Coed and Llangollen.

Dolgellau

The thriving town of Dolgellau provides an excellent base from which to tour Snowdonia. Dolgellau stands at the foot of the Cadair Idris mountain range and was the county town of Meirionydd in the late nineteenth century. The town's name is of uncertain origin, but is suspected to derive from the Welsh words dol, meaning meadow, and gelli, meaning grove.

The Quaker Heritage Centre, covers the development of the movement in the town. ( Open:- every day in Summer 10.00am - 6.00pm, Winter Thurs - Mon 10am - 5pm) Following a visit by George Fox in 1657, many of the town's inhabitants were converted to Quakerism. A prominent local Quaker, Roland Ellis, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1686 and founded Bryn Mawr, the women's college at the University in Pennsylvania , named after his home near the town. St, Mary's church dates from 1716, but occupies the site of a much earlier church.

It was in Dolgellau that the renowned Welsh hero Owain Glyndwr , who in the early fifteenth century was the last Welshman to actively challenge the supremacy of the English in Wales, assembled the last Welsh Parliament of 1404.

Harlech

Harlech Castle perches on a two hundred feet rock above the town of Harlech.The castle is a World Heritage inscribed site, founded by King Edward I in 1283, during his second campaign in North Wales, as one of an iron ring of fortresses to subdue the Welsh.

Designed by Edward's master architect, Master James of St. George, Harlech Castle cost £8,100 to build. Construction began in the spring of 1283 and was largely complete by 1289, at its height it occupied some 950 workmen. Situated high on a rocky outcrop, defended by sheer cliffs on one side, with a deep moat on the other sides, the castle is built in a concentric plan, with one line of defences enclosing another. All the exterior surfaces were originally rendered and whitened.

Today Harlech offers it's visitors a selection of restaurants, cafe's and pubs. The wide expence of sand dunes known as Morfa Harlech is amongst some of the most photographed stretches of beach in the world.

Dolwyddelan

The village of Dolwyddelan is situated on the A470 about halfway between Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. It lies at the foot of Moel Siabod, in the beautiful Lledr Valley, and is overlooked by the impressive 12th century Welsh castle.

Penmachno

Penmachno is the main village in the Machno Valley, a rural and hidden valley, away from the hurly-burly of modern life. Its small houses are clustered around a five-arched stone bridge built in 1785.

Llandanwg

The ancient and atmospheric church of St. Tanwg is situated in the sand dunes at Llandanwg. The church is reputed to have been founded in the fifth century by St. Tanwg and can be said to be one of the oldest Christian foundations in Britain. The present building dates to the early Medieval period.

Machynlleth

The attractive market town of Machynlleth lies in the Dyfi Valley , between the river's mountain source above Llanymawddwy and its estuary at Aberdyfi. The town claims to be the 'ancient capital of Wales' and has strong associations with the Welsh national hero Owain Glyndwr.

At the end of the main street in the small market town of Machynlleth stands its curious and distinctive clock tower, which was built in 1872. It was erected by the people of Machynlleth to mark the coming of age of Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest, Viscount Castlereagh, the eldest son of the fifth Marques of Londonderry of Plas Machynlleth. The foundation stone was laid on 15 July 1874.

The town has a population of just over 2,000 and offers the visitor a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and pubs. Its independent shops provide a refreshing change from the retail chain stores. The Royal House, possibly dates to the fourteenth century and is so named as Charles II is reputed to have stayed there in 1643, is situated where Garsiwn Lane joins Penrallt Street, it now houses a tourist information desk.

The town's main street, Maengwyn Street, is the venue for Machynlleth's famous Wednesday Markets. The town was granted its charter in 1291 by King Edward I.

 



 

SESSION FAWR MUSIC FESTIVAL

Like so many festivals of some renown, Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau ('the big session') started tiny and grew through word of mouth.


In 1992 a group of "traditional music freaks" felt that their small corner of Gwynedd needed a music that would put the town on the musical map. "It was initially on a very small scale and tight budget" says Sesiwn Fawr's Ywain Myfyr.

The musical line-up was always intended to be as wide as possible within the 'world music' genre; it was so different and such a success that over the next 11 years the audiences became too large for the town's streets to handle.

In 2002 it was forced to move to a site just outside the town centre, and became a ticketed event rather than a free one. In excess of 5000 people now attend each of the days.

Public and critical acclaim has been effusive. FRoots magazine said of it, "A blast of an event that unites community, Sesiwn Fawr is the place to make discoveries and reaffirm your faith in live music," while it was voted Welsh Event of the Year by the Welsh Tourist Board in 2001.

The list of bands who have appeared on Sesiwn Fawr's numerous stages include Super Furry Animals, Cerys Matthews, Burning Spear, The Alarm, The Levellers, Capercaillie, Oysterband, Susheela Raman, Dick Gaughan, The Saw Doctors, Mozaik, Karine Polwart, Brendan Power and Shooglenifty.

World music bands such as Yat Kha, Sharon Shannon, Jazz Jamaica and numerous Welsh language bands have also appeared. "Pride and place on every line-up goes to our own Welsh bands," says Myfyr. Acts have included Anweledig, Meic Stevens, Bryn Fôn a Sobin!, Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion, Gwerinos, Frizbee, Ar Log, Meinir Gwilym, and Y Moniars.


GOLFING ON THE CAMBRIAN COAST

Forget the English Belfry, the Scottish St. Andrews and the Irish K Club.

A combination of all three of these golfing venues could never compare with the breathtaking mountain, sea and coastal views which provide a natural backdrop to the golf courses of Snowdonia Mountains and Coast.

There’s nothing pretentious or pompous about golf in North Wales. We’re talking about unspoiled courses at affordable prices. You play at your own pace.

This is an area of outstanding beauty and is exceptional. The highest peaks in England and Wales and the beautiful unspoilt coastline of the Llyˆn Peninsula offer the most magnificent of vistas.You are invited to experience an exciting game of golf in Snowdonia, where breathtaking mountain, coastal and sea views provide some of the most renowned of courses at Aberdovey, Abersoch, Harlech, Nefyn, Porthmadog and Pwllheli.

 


 

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