NORTH WALES


Cricceith CastleNorth Wales is steeped heavily in druidic culture, a practice that left behind not only the legend described in the prose stories of Mabinogion, but the physical mythology of the desolate and mysterious standing stones of their ancient rituals. These circular arrangements of rough stone columns, some low, some towering frighteningly against the hills, have long been associated with the ancient religion practiced by those in hooded vestments, their rituals and their rites. Low stone circles are scattered across Gwynedd, in places like Tyfos and Moel Ty Uchaf, and the aptly named Druid’s Circle is within visible distance of Circle 275.

The North Coast has a number of seaside resort towns in the grand Victorian tradition, including Llandudno, the Queen of the Welsh Resorts, with its long sweep of bay headed by rocky Great Orme. Aside from its sandy beachs, this stretch of Wales is famous for King Edward I's Iron Ring of castles, built to show the strength of the English king and his dominance over the Welsh after a widescale revolt against the introduction of English laws. These castles include Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle, and Beaumaris Castle, which is situated on the Isle of Angelsey.

Angelsey or Ynys Môn lies off the coast. A popular spot for outdoor activities because of its beautiful and pristine environment, Angelsey is also known as the mysterious and ancient home of the Druids. There is a lot of history to take in. 

It is also on the North Coast that you can find Portmeirion, a seaside village of unusual charm. It was built over 50 years during the course of the 20th century in order to mimic the breezy and colourful nature of a Mediterranean seaside village.

One of the more amazing prehistoric monuments in Wales can be found in Snowdonia. Tre'r Ceiri, an Iron Age settlement dating back to around 100 BC, is situated on the Llyn Peninsula. The hillfort provided sanctuary for over 150 huts and was built upon the slopes of Yr Eifl, revealing a settlement of industrious villagers.

Despite the fierce opposition of the Ordovices, the Welsh tribes in the North were eventually defeated by the Roman cavalry. Much of what is left of Roman architecture is in the form of forts and training grounds for the Roman soldiers. Built after successfully subduing the local clans, Segontium was built on the outskirts of Caernarfon, overlooking the Menai Strait and the Isle of Anglesey. Designed to hold a thousand men, Segontium acted as the main fort for the Roman military in the north of Wales.

Once the Roman reign ended, the English monarchy began to show their interest in the Welsh provinces. Castles were won and lost between the Welsh princes and the English kings, until Wales inevitably fell to English dominion. To ensure that the people of North Wales would not forget the English might, Edward I sought to create a structure to symbolize his strength and power, building a ring of castles surrounding the seat of Welsh royalty, Garth Celyn in Gwynedd, and forcing it into the pitiable shadow. Chief among these grand castles was Caernarfon, and the rest of the imposing fortresses consisted of the castles Conwy, Beaumaris, and Harlech.

Eventually under the diligence and maneuvering of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, who,  from his seat in Gwynedd, managed to wrest back the power that was due to the Welsh, forming alliances and creating an uneasy but accepted peace with the English.

 

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Click on the link to download your 16-page PDF version of NORTH WALES.  It covers the Isle of Anglesea, North Coast and Snowdonia National Park.