Harlech is a seaside resort and community in Gwynedd within the historic boundaries of Merionethshire in north-west Wales. It lies within the Snowdonia National Park. Of a population of 1,447, 51 per cent habitually speak the Welsh language, its best-known landmark, Harlech Castle, was begun in 1283 by Edward I of England, captured by Owain Glyndŵr, served as a stronghold for Henry Tudor. It was built next to the sea, but coastline changes mean it now lies on a cliff face, about half a mile inland; the town has developed housing estates in the low town area and hillside housing in the high town around the shopping street and castle. The two are linked by a steep, winding road called "Twtil"; the exact derivation of the name "Harlech" is unclear. Some older sources claim that it derives from Arddlech, i.e. ardd + llech, referring to the prominent crag on which the castle stands. More recent sources tend to go for a simpler derivation from the two Welsh words llech; as late as the 19th century some texts referred to "Harddlech" and "Harddlech Castle".
This name appears in the mid-19th century translation of the Mabinogion: "And one afternoon he was at Harddlech in Ardudwy, at a court of his. And they were seated upon the rock of Harddlech overlooking the sea." Contemporary documents from the time of the Mabinogion do not mention Harlech, referring only to Llywelyn building his castle "at Ardudwy". An electoral ward in the same name exists; this stretches to include Talsarnau Community. The population of the ward taken at the 2011 census was 1,997; the town's railway station is served by the Cambrian Coast Line. It contains Ffordd Pen Llech, a street which descends the rock spur to the north of the castle, has the steepest signed gradient on a public road in the United Kingdom. Ysgol Ardudwy is the county secondary school for children between the ages of 11–16. Ysgol Tanycastell is the town's primary school for children aged 3–11; the town was until 2017 the home of Wales's only long-term adult residential college, Coleg Harlech known as the "college of second chance".
The premises remain in use as part of Adult Learning Wales - Addysg Oedolion Cymru. Theatr Harlech is located on the Coleg Harlech campus and stages a varied selection of plays and films throughout the year. Other attractions in Harlech include its beach backed with sand dunes and the famous Royal Saint David's Golf Club, which hosted its fifth British Ladies Amateur in 2009; the Rhinogydd range of mountains rises to the east. A World War II-era fighter aircraft was found on Harlech beach in 2007; the discovery of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning has been described as "one of the most important WWII finds in recent history". The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery is not divulging the precise location of the U. S. Army Air Forces plane, known as the Maid of Harlech, but hope to salvage the wreck. Harlech has a Scout hut. A residential street in Harlech, Ffordd Pen Llech, may be recognized by the Guinness World Records as the steepest residential street in the world. In the second branch of the Mabinogi, Harlech is the seat of Bendigeidfran, Branwen's brother and king of the Isle of the Mighty.
The song Men of Harlech is traditionally said to describe events during the seven-year siege of the castle in 1461–1468. ITV Wales & West was known as HTV/Harlech Television. In birth order: Owain Glyndŵr, Welsh Rebellion leader and the last Welshman to claim the title Prince of Wales Ellis Wynne, Welsh-language author Alfred Perceval Graves, poet and songwriter, he and a large family, including his son the poet Robert Graves, spent summers at a large house, "Erinfa", north-east of Harlech. George Davison, photographer Margaret More, was born here. Elinor Lyon, children's writer, she retired here in 1975 with her schoolteacher husband. David Gwilym Morris Roberts, civil engineer, was born here. Morfa Harlech sand dunes Harlech Castle St. David's Hotel Lord Harlech HTV - Harlech Television Harlech Tourism Association Coleg Harlech Theatr Harlech Royal Saint David's Golf Club Aerial photograph of Harlech geograph.co.uk - photos of Harlech and surrounding area
Aberdyfi is a village and community on the north side of the estuary of the River Dyfi in Gwynedd, on the west coast of Wales. The Community had a population of 878 as of the 2011 census; the electoral ward having a larger population of 1282. The village was founded around the harbour and shipbuilding industry, but is now best known as a seaside resort with a high quality beach; the town centre is on the river and seafront, around the original harbour and beach but it stretches back from the coast and up the steep hillside in the midst of typical Welsh coastal scenery of steep green hills and sheep farms. Penhelig, with its own railway station, is the eastern part of the town. Aberdyfi is a popular tourist attraction, with many returning holidaymakers from the metropolitan areas of England, such as the West Midlands, less than 100 miles to the east. A large proportion of houses in the village are now holiday homes, resulting in high house prices; the town is located within the Snowdonia National Park.
In the 2011 census, 38.5% of the population of Aberdyfi ward identified themselves as Welsh. An alternative, anglicised spelling of the village name is Aberdovey; this is historical but still used e.g. for the railway station. Local tradition suggests that the Romans established a track into Aberdyfi as part of the military occupation of Wales around AD78; the strategic location in mid-Wales was the site of several conferences between north and south Wales princes in 540, 1140, for the Council of Aberdyfi in 1216. The hill in the centre of Aberdyfi, Pen-y-Bryn, has been claimed to be the site of fortifications in the 1150s, which were soon destroyed; the site of Aberdyfi Castle however is said to be at the motte earthworks further up the river near Glandyfi. During the Spanish Armada of 1597, a Spanish ship, the Bear of Amsterdam missed her objective at Milford Haven and ended up having entered the Dyfi estuary, she was unable to leave for 10 days because of the wind and could not be boarded as no suitable boats were available.
An attempt to burn her was frustrated by winds and when she did leave she ended up being captured by a waiting English fleet off the Cornish coast. In the 1700s, the village grew with the appearance of several of the inns still in current use. Copper was mined in the present Copperhill Street, lead in Penhelig. An electoral ward in the same name exists; this ward includes Pennal community. The total population of the ward taken at the 2011 census was 1,282. In the 1800s, Aberdyfi was at its peak as a port. Major exports were oak bark. Ship building was based in seven shipyards in Penhelig where 45 sailing ships were built between 1840 and 1880; the railway came to Aberdyfi in 1863 built by the Welsh Coast Railway. The first train was ferried across the River Dyfi, as the line to Dovey Junction and Machynlleth was not completed until 1867. Due to public demand, this section had to use a long tunnel behind Aberdyfi, further major earthworks and tunnels were needed along the bank of the river; this line, which became part of the Cambrian Railways, the Great Western Railway, is scenic.
A jetty was built with railway lines connecting it with the wharf and the main line. The Aberdyfi & Waterford Steamship Company imported livestock from Ireland which were taken further by the railway. Coal and timber were imported. Local coastal shipping links with Liverpool were strong, with many Aberdyfi men sailing on international voyages from Liverpool; the S. S. Dora was one of the last ships trading between Aberdyfi and Liverpool and was scuttled, with no loss of life, by a German submarine in 1917; the jetty and wharf continued in commercial use for coal until 1959. After prolonged negotiations, redevelopments from 1968–1971, including rebuilding the jetty, led to their present use for recreational purposes; some local fishing still occurs. The first Outward Bound centre was opened in Aberdyfi in 1941. Many of their activities involve the river and jetty; the first Aberdyfi lifeboat was bought in 1837. Run by the RNLI since 1853, it has taken part in many rescues, sometimes with loss of life of crew members.
The current lifeboat, an Atlantic 75, is housed in the boathouse by the jetty and is launched using a lifeboat tractor. It is averaging about 25 emergency launches each year. Chapels in Aberdyfi include the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, the English Presbyterian chapel, the Wesleyan Methodist chapel, the Welsh Independent congregational chapel; the Church in Wales is St Peter's. Road access to Aberdyfi is by the A493, with Tywyn four miles to the north and Machynlleth 11 miles to the east. Aberdyfi is on the Cambrian Coast railway line; the village of Aberdyfi has two railway stations and Penhelig. Trains on the Cambrian Line are operated by Transport for Wales; the local bus service is operated by Lloyds Coaches with services to Tywyn, where a connection can be made for Dolgellau, to Machynlleth, where connections are available to Aberystwyth. A ferry used to operate across the Dyfi river to Ynyslas; the last ferryman was Ellis Williams. Popular recreational activities focus on the beach and watersports, such as windsurfing, fishing, crabbing and canoeing on the estuary.
Activities in Aberdyfi The Dovey Yacht Club has a prominent position on the river front of the village. It was helped develop the popularity of the GP14 dinghy class, it organises races for dinghies throughout the season on the estuary of the River Dyfi. The Aberdovey Golf Club, founded in 1892, is a famous 18
Aberdesach is a village in a Welsh speaking area of Gwynedd. It is in the historic county of Caernarfonshire. Www.geograph.co.uk: photos of Aberdesach and surrounding area
Blaenau Ffestiniog is a historic mining town in Wales, in the historic county of Merionethshire, although now part of the unitary authority of Gwynedd. The population of the community of Ffestiniog was 4,875 according to the 2011 census, including the nearby village of Llan Ffestiniog, which makes it the fourth most populous community in Gwynedd, after Bangor and Llandeiniolen. Llan Ffestiniog's population of 864 puts the population of Blaenau itself at around 4,000. Blaenau Ffestiniog was at one time the second largest town in North Wales, behind only Wrexham. After reaching 12,000 at the peak development of the slate industry, the population fell with the decline in the demand for its slate. Today the town relies on tourists, who come for attractions that include the nearby Ffestiniog Railway and Llechwedd Slate Caverns. Before the slate industry developed, the area now known as Blaenau Ffestiniog was a farming region, with scattered farms working the uplands below the cliffs of Dolgaregddu and Nyth-y-Gigfran.
A few of these historic farmhouses survive at Cwm Bowydd, Pen y Bryn and Cefn Bychan. Much of the land was owned by large estates; the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog was created to support workers in the local slate mines. In its heyday it was the largest town in Merioneth. In the 1760s men from the long established Cilgwyn quarry near Nantlle started quarrying in Ceunant y Diphwys to the north east of the present town; this valley had for a number of years been known for its slate beds and had been worked on a small scale. The exact location of this original quarry has been obliterated by subsequent mining activity, but it is that it was on or near the site of the Diphwys Casson Quarry. Led by Methusalem Jones, eight Cilgwyn men formed a partnership and took a lease on Gelli Farm where they established their quarry. In 1800, William Turner and William Casson, quarry managers from the Lake District, bought out the lease and expanded production. In 1819, quarrying began on the slopes of Allt-fawr near Rhiwbryfdir Farm.
This was on land owned by the Oakeley family from Tan y Bwlch. Within a decade, three separate slate quarries were operating on Allt-fawr and these amalgamated to form Oakeley Quarry which would become the largest underground slate mine in the world. Quarrying expanded in the first half of the 19th century. Significant quarries opened at Llechwedd and Votty & Bowydd, while Turner and Casson's Diphwys Casson flourished. Further afield and Wrysgan quarries were established to the south of the town, while at the head of Cwm Penmachno to the north east a series of quarries started at Rhiwbach, Cwt y Bugail and Blaen y Cwm. To the south east another cluster of quarries worked the slopes of Manod Mawr; the workforce for these quarries was taken from nearby towns and villages such as Ffestiniog and Maentwrog. Before the arrival of railways in the district, travel to the quarries was difficult and workers' houses were built near the quarries; these grew up around existing farms and along the roads between them.
An early settlement was at Rhiwbryfdir, serving the Llechwedd quarries. As early as 1801, new roads were being built to serve the quarries. By 1851, there were 3,460 people living in the new town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. During the 1860s and 1870s the slate industry went through a large boom; the quarries expanded as did the nascent town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The town gained its first church and first school, saw considerable ribbon development along the roads. By 1881, the town's population had soared to 11,274; the boom in the slate industry was followed by a significant decline. The 1890s saw several quarries lose money for the first time, several failed including Cwmorthin and Nyth-y-Gigfran. Blaenau Ffestiniog hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1898. Although the slate industry recovered from the recession of the 1890s, it never recovered; the First World War saw many quarrymen join the Armed Forces, production fell. There was a short post-war boom, but the long-term trend was towards mass-produced tiles and cheaper slate from Spain.
Oakeley Quarry took over Cwmorthin, Votty & Bowydd and Diphwys Casson, while Llechwedd acquired Maenofferen. Despite this consolidation, the industry continued to decline; the Second World War saw a further loss of available workers. In 1946, the Ffestiniog Railway closed. In August 1945 the secluded farmhouse of Bwlch Ocyn, at Manod, which belonged to Clough Williams-Ellis, became the home, for three years, of the famous writer Arthur Koestler and his wife Mamaine. During his time at Bwlch Ocyn, Koestler would become a close friend of fellow writer George Orwell; the slate quarries continued to decline after 1950. The remaining quarries served by the Rhiwbach Tramway closed during the 1960s. Oakeley closed with the loss of many local jobs, it re-opened in 1974 on a much smaller scale and was worked until 2010. Maenofferen and Llechwedd continued to operate, but Maenofferen closed in 1998. Llechwedd is still a working quarry; as the slate industry declined, the population of Blaenau Ffestiniog has declined, to 4,875 in 2011.
At the same time the tourism industry has become the town's largest employer. The revived Ffestiniog Railway and the Llechwedd Slate Caverns are popular tourist attractions, as is the Antur Stiniog downhill mountain biking centre. Recent attractions include the Zip World Titan zip-line site, which now features the Bounce Below slate mine activity centre; the English pronunciation of Blaenau Ffestiniog suggested by the BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names is, but the first word is pronounced by locals. Located
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is the devolved parliament of Wales, with power to make legislation, vary taxes and scrutinise the Welsh Government. The Assembly comprises AMs. Since 2011, Members are elected for five-year terms under an additional members system, in which 40 AMs represent geographical constituencies elected by the plurality system, 20 AMs represent five electoral regions using the d'Hondt method of proportional representation; the largest party in the Assembly forms the Welsh Government. The Assembly was created by the Government of Wales Act 1998, which followed a referendum in 1997; the Assembly had no powers to initiate primary legislation until limited law-making powers were gained through the Government of Wales Act 2006. Its primary law-making powers were enhanced following a Yes vote in the referendum on 3 March 2011, making it possible for it to legislate without having to consult the UK parliament or the Secretary of State for Wales in the 20 areas that are devolved.
Legislation has been introduced by the Assembly Commission which will change the name of the institution from National Assembly for Wales to the Senedd, which may be known as the Welsh Parliament. An appointed Council for Wales and Monmouthshire was established in 1949 to "ensure the government is adequately informed of the impact of government activities on the general life of the people of Wales"; the council had 27 members nominated by local authorities in Wales, the University of Wales, National Eisteddfod Council and the Welsh Tourist Board. A post of Minister of Welsh Affairs was created in 1951 and the post of Secretary of State for Wales and the Welsh Office were established in 1964 leading to the abolition of the Council for Wales; the establishment of the Welsh Office created the basis for the territorial governance of Wales. The Royal Commission on the Constitution was set up in 1969 by Harold Wilson's Labour Government to investigate the possibility of devolution for Scotland and Wales.
Its recommendations formed the basis of the 1974 White Paper Democracy and Devolution: proposals for Scotland and Wales, which proposed the creation of a Welsh Assembly. However, Welsh voters rejected the proposals by a majority of four to one in a referendum held in 1979. After the 1997 general election, the new Labour Government argued that an Assembly would be more democratically accountable than the Welsh Office. For eleven years prior to 1997 Wales had been represented in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom by a Secretary of State who did not represent a Welsh constituency at Westminster. A second referendum was held in Wales on 18 September 1997 in which voters approved the creation of the National Assembly for Wales with a total of 559,419 votes, or 50.3% of the vote. The following year the Government of Wales Act was passed by the United Kingdom parliament, establishing the Assembly. In July 2002, the Welsh Government established an independent commission, with Lord Richard as chair, to review the powers and electoral arrangements of the National Assembly to ensure that it is able to operate in the best interests of the people of Wales.
The Richard Commission reported in March 2004. It recommended that the National Assembly should have powers to legislate in certain areas, whilst others would remain the preserve of Westminster, it recommended changing the electoral system to the single transferable vote which would produce greater proportionality. In response, the British government, in its Better Governance for Wales White Paper, published on 15 June 2005, proposed a more permissive law-making system for the Welsh Assembly based on the use of Parliamentary Orders in Council. In so doing, the Government rejected many of the cross party Richard Commission's recommendations; this has attracted criticism from opposition others. The Government of Wales Act 2006 received Royal Assent on 25 July 2006, it conferred on the Assembly legislative powers similar to other devolved legislatures through the ability to pass Assembly Measures concerning matters that are devolved. Requests for further legislative powers made through legislative competence requests were subject to the veto of the Secretary of State for Wales, House of Commons or House of Lords.
The Act reformed the assembly to a parliamentary-type structure, establishing the Welsh Government as an entity separate from, but accountable to the National Assembly. It enables the Assembly to legislate within its devolved fields; the Act reforms the Assembly's electoral system. It prevents individuals from standing as candidates in regional seats; this aspect of the act was subject to a great deal of criticism, most notably from the Electoral Commission. The Act was criticised. Plaid Cymru, the Official Opposition in the National Assembly from 1999–2007, attacked it for not delivering a fully-fledged parliament. Many commentators have criticised the Labour Party's partisan attempt to alter the electoral system. By preventing regional Assembly Members from standing in constituency seats the party has been accused of changing the rules to protect constituency representatives. Labour had 29 members in the Assembly at the time; the changes to the Assembly's powers were commenced on 4 May 2007, after the election.
Following a referendum on 3 March 2011, the Welsh Assembly gained direct law making powers, without the need to consult Westminster. The Conservative-Liberal coalition government created the Commission on Devolution in Wales
Arfon (Assembly constituency)
Arfon is a constituency of the National Assembly for Wales, created for the 2007 Assembly election. It elects one Assembly Member by the first past the post method of election. However, it is one of nine constituencies in the North Wales electoral region, which elects four additional members, in addition to nine constituency members, to produce a degree of proportional representation for the region as a whole; the constituency has the boundaries of the Arfon Westminster constituency within the preserved county of Gwynedd, which will come into use for the 2010 United Kingdom general election. The new constituency merged areas within the Caernarfon constituency and the Conwy constituency; the Caernarfon constituency was within the preserved county of Gwynedd. The Conwy constituency was a Gwynedd constituency and within the preserved county of Clwyd; the North Wales region was created for the first Assembly election, in 1999. For the 2007 election, however, it had new boundaries, it includes the constituencies of Aberconwy and Deeside, Clwyd South, Clwyd West, Vale of Clwyd and Ynys Môn.
This can be considered a safe Plaid Cymru seat having a 20.8% majority of the Welsh Labour Party. Party averages from 5 elections: Plaid Cymru - 54.6%, Labour - 29%, Conservative - 10.1%, Lib Dem - 4.9% In general elections for the National Assembly for Wales, each voter has two votes. The first vote may be used to vote for a candidate to become the Assembly Member for the voter's constituency, elected by the first past the post system; the second vote may be used to vote for a regional closed party list of candidates. Additional member seats are allocated from the lists by the d'Hondt method, with constituency results being taken into account in the allocation
Bala is a market town and community in Gwynedd, Wales. An urban district, Bala lies within the historic county of Merionethshire, it lies at the north end of Llyn Tegid, 17 miles north-east of Dolgellau, with a population taken in the United Kingdom Census 2011 of 1,974. It is little more than this being Stryd Fawr; the High Street and its shops can be quite busy in the summer months with many tourists. Bala was ranked as having the 20th highest percentage of Welsh language speakers in Wales by electoral division, in the United Kingdom Census 2011. According to the census, 78.5% of Bala's population can speak Welsh. The Tower of Bala is a tumulus or "moat-hill" thought to mark the site of a Roman camp. In the 18th century, the town was well known for the manufacture of flannel, stockings and hosiery; the large stone-built theological college, Coleg Y Bala, of the Calvinistic Methodists and the grammar school, founded in 1712, are the chief features, together with the statue of the Rev. Thomas Charles, the theological writer, to whom was due the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
In 1800 a 15-year-old girl, Mary Jones, walked the 25 miles from her home village Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to purchase a bible in Bala. The scarcity of the Bible, along with the determination of Mary to get one, was a major factor in the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804. Betsi Cadwaladr, who worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, who gave her name to the Health Board, came from Bala. Other famous people from the Bala area include Michael D. Jones, Christopher Timothy, Owen Morgan Edwards, born in Llanuwchllyn, T. E. Ellis, born in Cefnddwysarn. Bala hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1967, 1997 and 2009; the 2009 Eisteddfod was notable because the chair was not awarded to any of the entrants as the standard was deemed to be too low. Bala hosted the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yr Urdd Gobaith Cymru, National Eisteddfod for the Welsh League of Youth, in 2014. On 16 June 2016, Bala's name was changed to Bale temporarily in honour of Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale; this was only for the duration of UEFA Euro 2016.
The Welsh word bala refers to the outflow of a lake. Bala, Canada, was named after the town in 1868, they have become twin towns. Set within the Bala Fault, Bala Lake is the largest natural lake in Wales at 4 miles in length and half a mile wide. At 138 feet, its depths could hide the tower of St Giles Church in Wrexham and still have 3 feet of water above; the lake has been known to freeze over—most in the severe winters of 1947 and 1963. The rare Gwyniad fish — trapped in the lake at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago — is in danger because its natural home is unsuitable. A member of the whitefish family, it is found only in Bala Lake. Cwm Hirnant, a valley running south from Bala, gives its name to the Hirnantian Age in the Ordovician Period of geological time; the town lies on the A494, a major trunk road that leads to Dolgellau, 18 miles to the southwest, to Ruthin and Queensferry to the northwest. The closest major urban areas to Bala are Wrexham at 30 miles, Chester at 40 miles, Liverpool, 52 miles to the northeast.
Nearby villages include Llanfor, Llanycil, Llangywer and Rhos-y-gwaliau. The Afon Tryweryn, a river fed from Llyn Celyn which runs through Bala, is world-famous for its white water kayaking. International governing bodies, the International Canoe Federation, the European Canoe Union and the British Canoe Union all hold national and international events there; the Canolfan Tryweryn National Whitewater Centre has its home in Bala. There are at least three local campsites that cater for the influx of canoeists from many parts of the world. An annual music festival known as'Wa Bala' is held in the town; the venue is similar in format to Dolgellau's Sesiwn Fawr. Nearby are the mountains Aran Fawddwy and Arenig Fawr. Coleg y Bala is at the top of the hill on the road towards Llyn Celyn; the Victoria Hall is a small old cinema, a community hall. There are several chapels: notably Capel Capel Bach; the livestock market on Arenig Street is still going strong. Bro Eryl estate was built just after World War II.
Mary Jones World, a heritage centre about Mary Jones and her Bible is located just outside the village. Bala has been served by various railway stations on the Great Western Railway: Bala Lake Halt railway station was Bala's first station, on the Bala and Dolgelly Railway Bala railway station - Bala's second station, on the Festiniog and Blaenau Railway Bala Junction railway station - The meeting point of the Bala and Dolgellau Railway and Bala Railway and the Bala and Festiniog Railway The Bala Lake Railway runs for 4.5 miles from Llanuwchllyn to the edge of the town, along a section of the former trackbed of the Great Western Railway line between Ruabon and Barmouth. It terminates at Bala railway station, which opened in 1976 on the site of the former Lake Halt station. Bala is home to Welsh Premier League football club Bala Town F. C. who play at Maes Tegid. Bala's local rugby club is Bala RFC. Michael D. Jones, a Welsh Congregationalist minister, principal of Bala theological college, a founder of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia and one of the fathers of modern Welsh nationalism, was born in Llanuwchlyn.
Christopher Timothy, born in Bala. As with the rest of the UK, Bala benefi