Trawsfynydd is situated within the Snowdonia National Park, in the county of Gwynedd, North Wales. The village is found 6 miles south of the land locked Blaenau Ffestiniog, and 10 miles east of Harlech (as the crow flies). With plenty of natural countryside and fascinating history of a 20th century Welsh poet, Trawsfynydd is an interesting little place to visit.
The village sits on the banks of a man made reservoir, known as Lake Trawsfynydd, (Welsh: Llyn Trawsfynydd). One of the largest lakes in Wales, covering 1,180 acres, it is the ideal place for fishing, particularly for trout, perch, and rainbow. A walk around the lake rewards the visitor with a wide variety of flora and fauna and fantastic views of the Moelwyns and Arenig Mountains. Visit the historic little church of St Madryn on the banks of the lake. Close by are Blaenau Ffestiniog, and Llan Ffestiniog, two villages dominated by massive mountains of slate, and offering rides on both the Ffestiniog Railway and the Llechwedd Slate Caverns attraction. Many pass the village by while travelling from north to south Wales on the busy A470, but pause a while and pay a visit to this little village on the banks of Llyn Trawsfynydd.
Blink and you might just miss Trawsfynydd village centre. The village is to be found via a short detour from the main highway, ensuring Trawsfynydd is a peaceful backwater. With two grocery stores, a butcher, baker, post office and a newsagent the shopping is adequate for restocking the larder on a self catering holiday but its not exactly Oxford Street. Then you don't visit North Wales for the shopping. And hey! …there are two friendly public houses from which to choose.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
Lakeside Walk: The Trawsfynydd lakeside walk explores one of the most beautiful lakes in Wales with fantastic views of the Moelwyn and Arenig Mountains. However, what make it particularly special are the open countryside and the natural broadleaf woodlands around the lake. There are oak, birch, and hazel trees in abundance, and tremendous views of the Arenig and Moelwyn mountain ranges.
Cycle Trail: Cyclists will appreciate the cycle trail through the village. Take a short trip with the kids to a lakeside picnic spot on dedicated bike paths, or take the long distant trail through the forests and mountains all the way to the west coast.
Fishing: Being Wales's third largest lake and covering over 13 acres of land, Trawsfynydd Lake is home to trout, rainbow and perch. You can fish between the hours of 8am (if you're an early bird) to one hour after sunset and fishing boats are also available for hire if you really want to 'push the boat out' with your angling experience.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns: Travel 8 miles to Blaenau Ffestiniog to experience the wonderful attraction of the Llechwedd Slate Caverns. Re-enacting the life of the Victorian miner, visitors have a number of areas of the mine to explore. Take the Deep Mine tour with your 'ghost' guide Sion Dolgarregddu, who will guide you down to the depths of the mine where you will wind your way through pitch-black tunnels and incredible caverns. Do not forget to pay attention to the underground lake either, a fascinating sight to see! The Llechwedd Slate Caverns are open all year round excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Many events are held at the mine throughout the year, including an annual visit from Santa.
Trawsfynydd (Welsh: across [the] mountain), an apt name given that Trawsfynydd sits in the heart of the Welsh mountains. Roman remains can be found at nearby Tomen y Mur, as can a Norman motte and bailey castle. During the Second World War, the War Office used a site near Trawsfynydd for training exercises.
In the 20th century the town developed around the now redundant Nuclear Power Station situated on the northern edge of the Trawsfynydd reservoir. The power station was the source of considerable employment for several decades, and provides employment during de-commissioning to this day.
Tomen y Mur: Tomen-y-Mur is a Roman military settlement set on a mountain shoulder overlooking the Trawsfynydd basin. It was established in the late first century and occupied into the second century if not later. The site continued to be important into the early medieval period and the fort defences may have been refortified possibly when Norman armies encamped here in the late 11th to early 12th century. The 'Tomen', the great castle mound, was probably raised in the 12th or 13th century and may have been associated with a llys or princely court. The ruins of the walls, which would have once surrounded the motte and the bailey, can still be seen, giving a fascinating insight into how the settlement would have once looked. Today however, sheep and not soldiers roam the bailey area below the motte.
Hedd Wyn: To the Welsh people Trawsfynydd is renowned as the home of the late poet, Ellis Humphrey Evans, known by his bardic name of 'Hedd Wyn'. A talented poet, Evans won six bardic chairs at the Eisteddfod (a Welsh literature, arts, and music festival) between 1907 and 1917. During the First World War, he was a soldier with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. On September 6th 1917, the National Eisteddfod was held at Birkenhead and it was announced that Hedd Wyn had won that year's bardic chair for his poem 'The Hero'. Alas, the devastating news came that Hedd Wyn had been killed whilst in battle in France. He is commemorated in a statue, which stands at the top of the main street in Trawsfynydd.
Ellis Humphrey Evans was born on 13th January 1887, the oldest of eleven children belonging to Evan and Mary Evans. He grew up in the Penlan area of Trawsfynydd, working as a shepherd on the farm that his family owned; however, unlike his father, farming was not Ellis's main hobby. He had a strong passion for poetry and under the bardic name Hedd Wyn, he would constantly write his own poems and submit them to local competitions and the national Eisteddfod (an annual Welsh arts, literature and music festival). By 1917 Hedd Wyn had won four Eisteddfod chairs for his poetry. In 1917 during the First World War, he was a soldier with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Amid the horrific conditions of the war, Ellis managed to compose a poem named 'Yr Arwr' (The Hero) and submitted it to the National Eisteddfod, this time under the name 'Fleur de Lis'. In the September of that year, the National Eisteddfod was held at Birkenhead near Liverpool. When it was announced that 'Yr Arwr' had won the Bardic Chair, silence fell over the audience and it was then announced that Ellis Humphrey Evans had been tragically killed during the battle of Passchendaele on August 31st 1917. The Bardic Chair was draped with a black cloth and now sits in the old home of Hedd Wyn, 'Yr Ysgwrn' in Trawsfynydd.
Accommodation and Services
Accommodation in Trawsfynydd includes self-catering cottages, a comfortable hostel, and hotels in the surrounding villages of Maentwrog, Llangrug and Blaenau Ffestiniog.