January 05, 2021 8 min read

Snowdonia

This national park is located on the west coast of Wales, which covers a diverse area of approximately 823 square miles. Within this vast area, there is Hiraethog, the Cambrian Coastline, Llyn Peninsula and Conwy Valley. 26,000 fortunate people call Snowdonia National Park their home. Snowdonia is the largest national park in Wales. It also claims the highest mountain in both England and Wales, and it has the largest natural lake in the whole of Wales. More than half the population are Welsh speakers.

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Within the national park, there are nine mountain ranges, which cover 52% of the park. Within these ranges, the peaks reach over 3,000 feet.

Each year, approximately six million visitor days are spent at Snowdonia National Park.

Visitor centres

Snowdonia National Park has many visitor/information centres, available to all visitors:

  • Bettws y Coed
  • Beddgelert
  • Aberdyfi

These centres are able to help with accommodation and local information. They also have exhibits available.

Snowdonia National Park Authority

Snowdonia was named as a national park in 1951, the aim of naming it a national park was to ensure that its spectacular views were protected and maintained. Within the park, there are waterfalls, valleys, mountains, lakes and beautiful beaches. There are 18 members of the authority. Their role is to safeguard these natural beauties. The main purposes of the authority are to:

  • “Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area;
  • Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Park by the public;
  • We also have a duty to seek to foster the economic and social wellbeing of local communities within the Park”.

It is possible to watch the authority committee meetings and view the agendas for each meeting, further information can be found here.

Walks/Hikes

Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa:

Stands at 3,560 feet tall.

There are six paths to choose from, to reach the top:

  • Llanberis path
  • Pyg track
  • Miners’ track
  • Watkin path
  • Rhyd-Ddu path
  • Snowdon Ranger path

Views of Anglesey, Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire and Ireland can be seen from the peak.

There are six main paths to the summit of Snowdon.

  • Llanberis Path- 9 miles. The total climb is 975m and takes approximately six hours. Historically, this has been used to carry visitors to the summit via ponies and mules.
  • Miners track- 8 miles. The total climb is 732m and takes approximately six hours. This path was built to transport copper from the Britannia Copper works. This ended in 1916.
  • Pyg Track- 7 miles. The total climb is 723m and takes approximately six hours.
  • Watkin Path - 8 miles. The total climb is 1,015m and takes approximately six hours. The path was originally named after an MP and railway entrepreneur, Sir Edward Watkin.
  • Rhyd Ddu Path - 8.5 miles. The total climb is 895m and takes approximately six hours. This path was previously known as the Beddgelert Path.
  • Snowdon Ranger - 8 miles. The total climb is 936m and takes approximately six hours. This path begins near the Snowdon Ranger youth hostel.

At the summit of Snowdon, there is a café and visitor centre, Hafod Eryri. It opened in 2009, it replaced a building from the 1930’s which Prince Charles once described as “the highest slum in Europe”.

Snowdon mountain railway

The Snowdon Mountain Railway dates back to 1896, that departs from Llanberis. The journey from the top to the bottom takes 2.5 hours (4.7miles). There are two options available, diesel or steam ( the steam option is more expensive!) The journey consists of beautiful views of the mountain, fantastic lakes and over two viaducts whilst enjoying local wildlife such as sheep and goats.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Further information can be found here.

A return ticket on the diesel locomotive it is £31 for an adult and £21 for a child. For a steam locomotive, it is £40 for an adult and £30 the ‘Heritage Steam Experience’. Early bird tickets are available for those who board the 9am train, there are discount available.

Peaks within the national park include Snowdon, Glyders Fawr and Fach (1001 and 994m), Carnedd Dafydd (1044m) and Llewelyn (1064m), Moel Siabod (872m) and Cadair Idris (893m).

A map of Snowdonia National Park is available here.

Fun facts

  • Thomas Johnson was the first recorded person to climb Snowdon, in 1639.
  • In 1838, the first refreshments were sold at the top of Snowdon, by Morris Williams, a miner.
  • Before climbing Mount Everest, Edmund Hillary trained on Snowdon.
  • Snowdon is the only known location of a rare flower, The Snowdon Lily. This flower is found in alpine and artic regions. It is believed that these flowers have survived on the top of Snowdon since the last ice age.

Where to stay?

Snowdonia National Park, camping:

There are many options available around accommodation whilst in Snowdonia. To find further information on camp sites and options available, please see here.

Snowdonia National Park, Hotels/cottages:

There are limited hotels available. Further information can be found here.

Snowdonia National Park, weather

It is recommended to check the weather prior to any climbs of Snowdon. The weather can change quickly and become dangerous to the novice climber. To check the weather, please see here.

What to do?

There are many things to do whilst visiting Snowdonia. For example, Zip World is close by, for those adrenaline junkies. There are also some activities for those who might be interested in history.

  • Yr Ysgwrn

Hedd Wyn was a farmer, a poet and a reluctant solider during the First World War. Hedd Wyn won the National Eisteddfod Chair for his contribution to Welsh literature. Unfortunately, Hedd Wyn had been killed during the war before accepting this wonderful honour.

In 2012, the Snowdonia National Park bought his farmhouse, a grade two listed building. As a symbol of an entire generation of young men, from Wales, the United Kingdom and from Europe who sadly sacrificed themselves during the first world war.

Further information on this wonderful experience can be found here.

  • Caernarfon Castle

The construction of the castle began in 1283, on the orders of Edward I. The purpose of the castle was to reflect the new English rule in Wales. The castle was designed by a local architect, Master James of St George. The castle is laced with murder holes, where hot liquid could be poured over attackers and arrow slits, which gave archers protection and an excellent range of vision. In 1986, Caernarfon was named as a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

Caernarfon Castle - UNESCO World Heritage Site

More information can be found here.

  • Portmeirion

It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis and it took over 50 years to complete. Portmeirion can be found on estuary of River Dwyryd. Williams-Ellis bought the land in 1925, he stopped building when he reached 90 years old! A great deal of work when into building this small village. For example, the 1760 Old Bristol Colonnade was relocated from its original location and painstaking rebuilt. Within this small village, there are beautiful and vibrant buildings, a green, lush park, a beach, 70 acres of grounds and a boutique hotel.

  • Harlech Castle

The castle can be found on the western edge of the national park, atop a 60m outcrop. During the winter months, it’s a quiet town of 2000. During the summer, Harlech is bustling with tourists enjoying food and drink. There are also amazing views across Tremadog Bay to the west, to the east there are view of the mountains and of course the fantastic castle.

The castle was completed in 1289, on the orders of King Edward I. It cost £8,190 to complete. It is built of grey sandstone, it has a large gatehouse, with four corner towers and many fortifications. UNESCO described Harlech Castle as “one of the finest examples of 13.14th century medieval architecture in Europe”.

More information can be found here.

  • For railway enthusiasts there are many trains to be enjoyed!

Llyn Padarn Railway:

Originally, this railway was used to transport slate from Dinorwig, in Llaneberis to Felinheli, to the port. This railway also transported the quarrymen to work via ceir gwyllt (wild cars).

Now, this railway is enjoyed by visitors to enjoy amazing views of Llyn Padarn and of course of Snowdon. The railway runs for 2.5miles along the shore of the Llyn Padaran, returning to Llanberis.

For more information.

Talyllyn Railway:

Originally built in 1865, this railway was used to carry slate from the quarry in Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn. There is a railway between Tywyn and Nant Gwernol which allows visitors to enjoy a seven-mile journey, with outstanding views of the national park.

For more information.

Bala Lake Railway:

Originally this railway was built to serve the Great Western Railway link from Ruabon to Barmouth. This railway has never transported slate, unlike many others in the area. However, historically it did carry copper and slate from the quarries in Dolgellau for a brief time.

This railway is a narrow gauge, it runs for approximately 4.5miles along Llyn Tegid; offering beautiful views of the mountains and of the lake.

For more information.

Welsh Highland Railway:

This railway is the most recent addition to Snowdonia. It runs for 25 miles, between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. It reaches over 650 feet and follows the foothills of Snowdon before climbing down to Beddgelert village.

For more information.

There are also othe amazing activities to do in Snowdonia.

Cycling:

The Marin Trail: 15.5 miles and takes approximately three hours. This is very much a mountain bike trail, with big hills and big drops. This is a single-track trail with amazing views of the mountains.

Mawddach Trail: 9 miles and takes approximately two hours. This trail follows the river from Morfa Mawddach to Dolgellau along a former railway track.

Horse riding:

There are many riding schools available in Snowdonia. This offers the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views on horseback. From leisurely trots through to exhilarating gallops are optional, whilst enjoying the views!

Cilan Riding Centre
Abersoch, Pwllheli
01758 713276

Bwlchgwyn Farm Caravan Park & Pony Trekking Centre
Arthog
01341 250107

Pen Llŷn Riding Centre & Lusitano Stud
Llaniestyn
01758 730741

Snowdonia Riding Stables
Waunfawr, Caernarfon
01286 650342

Gwydyr Stables Riding and Trekking Stables
Penmachno, Conwy
01690 760248

Beaches:

Snowdonia is home to more than 35 beaches and approximately 200miles of beautiful coastline.

Snowdonia Beaches with mountains in the distance
  • Penmaenmawr, is a long and sandy beach. It has a beautiful promenade and a sailing club.
  • Llanfairfechan, a small seaside village that is family friendly. It has a large sandy beach.
  • Dinas Dinlle, the perfect beach for power kiters and windsurfers.
  • Nefyn, a few miles of beautiful, secluded beaches.
  • Abersoch, great for water sports and families.
  • Pwllheli South Beach, a shingle beach surrounded by dunes.
  • Harlech, a beautiful beach with great views of the castle.
  • Shell Island, so many amazing shells!!
  • Tywyn, perfect for surfers! Great fir spotting dolphins and porpoises.

The following beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag Award: Abersoch, Barmouth, Black Rock Sands (Morfa Bychan), Criccieth (Promenade), Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr and Pwllheli (Marian y De).

Aberdaron and Tywyn have been awarded the Seaside Award.

The Welsh language

Within Snowdonia and along the coast, Welsh is the most spoken language. It is spoken day to day and understood by most of the population.

Welsh belongs to the Info European family of languages. It is one of the oldest languages within Europe. Descendants of Celtic tribes who travelled to Britain in 600 B.C. When the UK was occupied by the Romans, the Celts spoke Brythoneg. This was very close to Latin, similar words were pont, eglwys and ystafell. These three words are still used in the Welsh language today.

The 2001 census suggests that 81% of the population in Bala are fluent in Welsh. The same census concludes an increase of over 80,000 people have learnt Welsh in Wales. 37.7% of young people between 3 and 15 years old in Wales can speak Welsh, this is a 13.4% increase since the census in 1991.

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 and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets 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 also offer Sheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters - Cocoknits, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few!. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool and Global Welsh.

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Last update 29th January 2021



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