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September 21, 2019 4 min read

Harlech Castle Wales

Harlech town is located in north west Wales in the Snowdonia National Park and is particularly famous for its clifftop medieval fortifications, namely Harlech castle. The views from the castle walls are spectacular, spanning from the Llyn Peninsular, to Snowdon and Snowdonia and to Cardigan Bay in the south. It is a small town of less than 2,000 inhabitants in the historic county of Meirionydd or Meirioneth in  Tremadog Bay, today in the County of Gwynedd. It is part of the three UNESCO world heritage sites in Wales, namely the Castles and Town Walls of Edward I at Caernarfon, Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech in north-west WalesUNESCO considers the sites to be the "finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe".

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Harlech Castle was built by Edward 1st of England in the late thirteenth century at the same time as Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle and Beaumaris Castle. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in north Wales. The views from the castle walls over Harlech beach and sea to the west and to Snowdonia in the north are spectacular.

Prior to the construction of Harlech Castle, in the thirteenth century the commote of Ardudwy (where Harlech is located) was governed by the princes of Gwynedd from a Llys, or royal court, located in Ystumgwern.  The construction was commenced by King Edward 1st and became part of the so-called iron ring of castles on the coast of north Wales which in on completion stretched from Flint, Rhuddlan and Conway in the nor and Beaumares, Caernarfon and Harlech in the south and west. These castles were intended to prevent the region from ever again becoming a focal point of insurrection and a last bastion of resistance by Welsh Princes. The construction of Harlech Castle began in 1283 and was completed in 1289 -  the final result was a perfectly concentric castle, where one line of defences is enclosed by another.

Owain Glyndwr's Conquest of Harlech Castle

From 1289 onward, the castle played an important part in several wars over the next few centuries withstanding the siege of Madog ap Llywelyn between 1294 and 1295, but falling to Owain Glyndwr in 1404. Following Glyndwr's conquest, he established the castle as his residence and military headquarters for the remainder of the uprising until being recaptured by English forces in 1409. 

Harlech Town

Harlech is a very attractive seaside town that boasts award winning beaches, a championship golf course, many interesting shops and a vibrant arts and crafts scene but it is chiefly known for its castle. Harlech Castle is the towering medieval fortification which rises from the cliff face and affords visitors breathtaking views over the sea and Snowdonia.

It is now also known for the location of the Steepest Street in the World as per the Guinness Book of Records. In July 2019, Guinness officially pronounced the street named (in Welsh) Ffordd Pen Llech, taking the record from Baldwin Street, Dunedin, in New Zealand.

Royal St David's Golf Course

Royal St. David’s Golf Club, established in 1894, is one of Wales’s top golf courses and is often rated 'Best golf course in North Wales'. It provides a challenging test of links golf in a picturesque setting in the most beautiful and scenic part of Wales with the sea and the dunes at one end of the course and Harlech Castle at the other. The Club is host to Wales, UK and International golf  Tournaments, including the Ladies European Tour and the European Seniors Tour.

The Steepest Street in the World

In July 2019, a street in north Wales has been declared the steepest signed public tarmacked road in the world.

The Steepest Street in the world - Ffordd Pen Llech Harlech

Guinness World Records verified the gradient of Ffordd Pen Llech at 37.45%. Surveyors and took measurements in January 2019 which showed that Ffordd Pen Llech had a one in 2.67 gradient at its steepest part, compared with the current record holder's one in 2.86.

However, in April 2020, Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, New Zealand, has been reinstated as the world’s steepest street/road after a formal appeal and record review. The decision to reinstate the previous record holder was reached following the completion of an extensive review of an appeal, brought by representatives of Baldwin Street.

So it appears that Harlech now has the second steepest street in the world!!!

Things you may not know about Harlech

  • South of Harlech is the Fairbourne Steam Railway, Wales' smallest narrow gauge railway. One of the stations is called Gorsafawddacha'idraigodanheddogleddollônpenrhynareurdraethceredigion which claims to be the longest name in Wales as it is longer that Llanfairpwyll in Anglesey. Both names are in the Guinness Book of Records It means 'The Mawddach station and its dragon teeth at the northern Penrhyn Road on the golden beach of Cardigan Bay
  • In the War of the Roses, Harlech was the last royalist castle in Wales to surrender to Oliver Cromwell's army.
  • The writer and philosopher Bertrand Russell lived in Penrhyndeudraeth, near Harlech, in the final years of his life. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950.

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets, Welsh woollen blankets and throws which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, Global Welsh and Wales International.

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Last updated 12th September 2020



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