Aberdyfi

Last updated

Aberdyfi
Aberdovey
Aberdyfi (0).jpg
Aberdyfi viewed from Penhelyg
Gwynedd UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Aberdyfi
Aberdovey
Location within Gwynedd
Population1,282 (2011) [1]
OS grid reference SN615965
Community
  • Aberdyfi
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Historic county
Post town ABERDYFI / ABERDOVEY
Postcode district LL35
Dialling code 01654
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
UK
Wales
Gwynedd
52°32′38″N4°02′38″W / 52.544°N 4.044°W / 52.544; -4.044 Coordinates: 52°32′38″N4°02′38″W / 52.544°N 4.044°W / 52.544; -4.044

Aberdyfi (Welsh pronunciation:  [abɛrˈdəvi] ) also known in English as Aberdovey ( /ˌæbəˈdʌv/ ) is both a village and a community in Gwynedd, Wales, located on the northern side of the estuary of the River Dyfi.

Contents

The population of the community was 878 at the 2011 census. The electoral ward had a larger population of 1,282 and includes the community of Pennal.

Founded by shipbuilding, Aberdyfi is now a seaside resort with a high quality beach. [2] [3] The centre is on the river and seafront, around the original harbour, jetty and beach; 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 railway station (Welsh : Penhelyg) is in the eastern part of the village.

Being less than 100 miles (160 km) from the West Midlands, the area is popular with tourists. 43.3% of houses in the village are holiday homes. [4] 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 (or combined). [1] 59.4% of the population were born outside Wales. [4]

Name

Bilingual welcome sign, using both the Welsh and anglicised spellings, on the approach to the village in 2019. Aberdyfi-Aberdovey western approach sign.jpg
Bilingual welcome sign, using both the Welsh and anglicised spellings, on the approach to the village in 2019.

The anglicised spelling for the village and community is Aberdovey. The Welsh Aberdyfi is now widely used locally and by the Gwynedd Council [5] and the Welsh Government. The body responsible for providing advice on the standard forms of Welsh place-names, the Welsh Language Commissioner, recommends Aberdyfi to be the standard form for use in both English and Welsh. [6] Some entities continue to use the anglicisation [7] e.g. in their name and/or address [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] and some use the two spellings interchangeably e.g. the Aberdyfi Community Council [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

History

The village in 1860 Aberdovey, north Wales.jpeg
The village in 1860
The village from across the river. Aberdyfi 1.jpg
The village from across the river.

Local tradition suggests that the Romans established a track into the area as part of the military occupation of Wales around AD78. [22]

The strategic location in mid-Wales was the site of several conferences between north and south Wales princes in 540, 1140, and for the Council of Aberdyfi in 1216. The hill in the centre of the village, Pen-y-Bryn, has been claimed to be the site of fortifications in the 1150s, which were soon destroyed. [22] The site of Aberdyfi Castle however is usually said to be at the motte earthworks further up the river near Glandyfi. [23]

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. [22] 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. [24]

In the 1700s, the village grew with the appearance of several of the inns still in current use (The Dovey Hotel, Britannia and Penhelig Arms). Copper was mined in the present Copperhill Street, and lead in Penhelig.

The harbour Aberdyfi - 2009-02-27.jpg
The harbour

Governance

An electoral ward of the same name stretches inland along the A494 road and includes Pennal community. The total population of the ward taken at the 2011 census was 1,282. [1]

Port and railway

In the 1800s, Aberdyfi was at its peak as a port. Major exports were slate and oak bark. Ship building was based in seven shipyards in Penhelig where 45 sailing ships were built between 1840 and 1880. [22]

The railway came to the village in 1863 built by the Aberystwith and Welsh Coast Railway. The first train was ferried across the river, as the line to Dovey Junction and then Machynlleth was not completed until 1867. Due to public demand, this section had to use a long tunnel behind the village centre, and further major earthworks and tunnels were needed along the bank of the river. This line, which became part of the Cambrian Railways, and later the Great Western Railway, is particularly scenic. [25]

A jetty was built in 1887, with railway lines connecting it with the wharf and the main line. The Aberdyfi & Waterford Steamship Company imported livestock from Ireland which were then taken further by the railway. Coal, limestone and timber were also imported.

Crowds on the shore watching the regatta, circa 1885 Crowds on shore at Aberdyfi watching the regatta NLW3361114.jpg
Crowds on the shore watching the regatta, circa 1885
A view of the village from Penhelyg Rock, circa 1885 A view of Aberdyfi from Penhelyg Rock NLW3360962.jpg
A view of the village from Penhelyg Rock, circa 1885

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. [22]

The jetty and wharf continued in commercial use for coal until 1959. After prolonged negotiations, redevelopments from 1968 to 1971, including rebuilding the jetty, led to their present use mainly for recreational purposes. [22] Some local fishing still occurs.

The first ever Outward Bound centre was opened in the village in 1941. [26] Many of their activities involve the river, boats and jetty.

Lifeboat

The village's first 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. Currently it is averaging about 25 emergency launches each year. [27]

Worship

Chapels in Aberdyfi include the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, the English Presbyterian chapel, the Wesleyan Methodist chapel, and the Welsh Independent congregational chapel. The Anglican (Church in Wales) is St Peter's.

Transport

Road access to Aberdyfi is by the A493, with Tywyn four miles to the north and Machynlleth 11 miles to the east. The village is on the Cambrian Coast railway line and has two railway stations, Aberdovey 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, and to Machynlleth, where connections are available to Aberystwyth.

A ferry used to operate across the River Dyfi to Ynyslas. The last ferryman was Ellis Williams. [28]

Recreation

Popular recreational activities focus on the beach and watersports, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, fishing, crabbing, sailing, and canoeing on the estuary. [3]

The Dovey Yacht Club has a prominent position on the river front of the village. It was founded in 1949 and helped develop the popularity of the GP14 dinghy class. [29] [30] 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 hole links course located near the railway station. It is world-renowned, having been described frequently and lyrically in the press by Bernard Darwin, the famed golf writer, who was a notable member of the club. In 1895, it was the location of the first Welsh Golfing Union Championship. Current members include Ian Woosnam and Peter Baker. [31]

Located by the Aberdovey Golf Club is Aberdyfi Football club boasting one of the best football pitches in Mid-Wales. The football team won the Welsh Amateur Cup Competition in 1934. [32]

The Aberdyfi Rowing Club rows in the Dyfi Estuary and Cardigan Bay and takes part in races all round the coast of Wales and internationally. They row 24’ long Celtic longboats, with four rowers (each with one oar) and a cox. They have three of these traditional Welsh boats with fixed seats and use these for races in Wales. [33]

The Aberdovey Literary Institute, founded in 1882, is situated on the river front. The deeds of 1923 state it was established in perpetuity as "a non-sectarian, non-political place of recreation, education and social intercourse including ... reading rooms, writing rooms, library, billiard rooms, concert rooms ..."

Neuadd Dyfi is a community hall, conference centre and theatre owned by the village for village activities. It caters for a range of local organisations and events.

Cultural references

The Bells of Aberdovey

The bells of St Peter's Church can play The Bells of Aberdovey St Peter's Church and Terrace Road Aberdyfi - geograph.org.uk - 1005740.jpg
The bells of St Peter's Church can play The Bells of Aberdovey

Aberdyfi is closely linked to the legend of the submerged lost kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod (English: Lowland Hundred) beneath Cardigan Bay, and bells which, it is said, can be heard ringing beneath the water at the beach. The Bells of Aberdovey (Welsh : Clychau Aberdyfi) is a well-known song referring to this legend. This song first appeared in the English opera Liberty Hall in 1785, written by Charles Dibdin, and is not thought to be a traditional folk-song as Welsh words were written by John Ceiriog Hughes, during the 19th century.

The legend and the song have inspired local cultural projects involving bells.

A new chime of bells was installed in September 1936 in the tower of St Peter's Church, which overlooks the harbour. The ten bells, tuned in the key of A flat, were specifically designed to allow the playing of The Bells of Aberdovey and are played from a mechanical carillon inside the church. [34]

A bell installed beneath the pier rings at high tide The Pier At Aberdyfi - geograph.org.uk - 1005757.jpg
A bell installed beneath the pier rings at high tide

In 2010 an art installation was commissioned from sculptor Marcus Vergette as a homage to The Bells of Aberdovey. The work is a bronze time-and-tide bell suspended beneath the pier which is rung by the action of water at high tide. It was installed in July 2011 and is one of several such bells around the United Kingdom. [35] [36]

Other

Bugail Aberdyfi (the Shepherd of Aberdovey) is a poem written by John Ceiriog Hughes [37] which has been set to music and recorded by several singers including Bryn Terfel.

The children's novel, Silver on the Tree, by Susan Cooper, the final book of The Dark is Rising , is largely set around Aberdyfi, with many references to local landmarks.

The novel, Megan's Game by Tony Drury, published in 2012, contains many references to Aberdyfi, surrounding areas and the legend of The Bells of Aberdovey. [38]

Notable people associated with Aberdyfi

Aberdyfi and the Dyfi valley from Ynyslas Sand Dunes, April 2011 Aberdyfi from Ynyslas Sand Dunes.jpg
Aberdyfi and the Dyfi valley from Ynyslas Sand Dunes, April 2011

See also

Related Research Articles

Snowdonia Region in north Wales

Snowdonia is a mountainous region in northwestern Wales and a national park of 823 square miles (2,130 km2) in area. It was the first to be designated of the three national parks in Wales, in 1951. It contains the highest peaks in the United Kingdom outside Scotland.

John Ceiriog Hughes Welsh poet and folk-tune collector

John Ceiriog Hughes, was a Welsh poet and collector of Welsh folk tunes. He was sometimes described as a Robert Burns of Wales. Ceiriog was born at Penybryn Farm, overlooking the village of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog in the Ceiriog Valley of north-east Wales, in Denbighshire at the time and now part of Wrexham County Borough. One of eight children, he was a favourite of his mother, Phoebe, who was a midwife and an expert in herbal medicine.

Merionethshire

Merionethshire or Merioneth is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, a vice county and a former administrative county.

Machynlleth Human settlement in Wales

Machynlleth is a market town, community and electoral ward in Powys, Wales and within the historic boundaries of Montgomeryshire. It is in the Dyfi Valley at the intersection of the A487 and the A489 roads. At the 2001 Census it had a population of 2,147, rising to 2,235 in 2011. It is sometimes referred to colloquially as Mach.

Barmouth Human settlement in Wales

Barmouth is a seaside town and community in the county of Gwynedd, northwestern Wales, lying on the estuary of the Afon Mawddach and Cardigan Bay. Located in the historic county of Merionethshire, the Welsh form of the name is derived from aber (estuary) and the river's name, "Mawddach". The English form of the name is a corruption of the earlier Welsh form Abermawdd. The community includes the tiny villages of Llanaber, Cutiau, and Caerdeon.

Tywyn Small coastal town in mid Wales

Tywyn, formerly spelled Towyn, is a town, community, and seaside resort on the Cardigan Bay coast of southern Gwynedd, Wales. It was previously in the historic county of Merionethshire. It is famous as the location of the Cadfan Stone, a stone cross with the earliest known example of written Welsh, and the home of the Talyllyn Railway.

Pennal Village in Gwynedd, Wales

Pennal is a village and community on the A493 road in southern Gwynedd, Wales, on the north bank of the Afon Dyfi/River Dovey, near Machynlleth.

Dovey Junction railway station

Dovey Junction railway station is a railway station on the Cambrian Line in Wales. It is the junction where the line splits into the line to Aberystwyth and the Cambrian Coast Line to Pwllheli. Passenger services are provided by Transport for Wales. There is a single island platform.

River Dyfi River in Mid Wales

The River Dyfi, sometimes anglicised to River Dovey, is an approximately 30-mile (48 km) long river in Wales.

Llwyngwril railway station

Llwyngwril railway station serves the village of Llwyngwril in Gwynedd, Wales. The station is an unstaffed halt on the Cambrian Coast Railway with passenger services to Barmouth, Harlech, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Tywyn, Aberdovey, Machynlleth and Shrewsbury. Trains stop on request.

Tywyn railway station

Tywyn railway station serves the town of Tywyn in Gwynedd, Wales. The station is on the Cambrian Coast Line, with passenger services to Barmouth, Harlech, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Aberdovey, Machynlleth and Shrewsbury.

Aberdovey railway station

Aberdovey railway station serves the seaside resort of Aberdyfi in Gwynedd, Wales. The station is on the Cambrian Coast Railway with passenger services every two hours calling at all stations between Machynlleth and Pwllheli, including Tywyn, Barmouth, Harlech and Porthmadog. Passengers can connect at Machynlleth for trains to Aberystwyth or Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International.

Ffridd Gate railway station

Ffridd Gate was a station on the Corris Railway in Merioneth, Wales, UK. It was built at the level crossing over the B4404 road to Llanwrin, near the hamlet of Fridd. A small hamlet also grew up around the station and a nearby (pre-existent) toll-house. The hamlet and former station are near to the confluence of the Afon Dulas and the River Dyfi, around 2+14 miles (3.6 km) west of the village of Llanwrin and 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the town of Machynlleth.

Bryn Eglwys quarry Disused slate quarry in north Wales

Bryn Eglwys quarry was a slate quarry and mine near Abergynolwyn, in Gwynedd, Wales. More than 300 men worked at the site, making it the principal employer in the area. Two veins of slate, known as the Broad Vein and the Narrow Vein, were worked. The geology continues eastwards towards Corris and Dinas Mawddwy, and westwards towards Tywyn. It was one of many quarries in Mid Wales that worked these veins.

The Aberystwith and Welsh Coast Railway was a standard gauge railway company, running a line along the west coast of Wales.

Ynyslas Human settlement in Wales

Ynyslas is a small Welsh village about 1.5 miles north of Borth and 8 miles north of Aberystwyth, within the county of Ceredigion. It is sandwiched between a long sandy beach in Cardigan Bay and the beach in the Dyfi Estuary. The area between the sea and the estuary beach is made up of the Ynyslas Sand Dunes which are part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve and home to many rare plants and animals. The sands of the estuary beach can be driven onto and parked upon. The nature reserve has a visitor centre with toilets and a small shop. At the start of some BBC 1 programmes it shows people flying kites on sand dunes, and this was filmed at Ynyslas.

The Dyfi Valley Way is a long distance footpath in Mid Wales.

The Bells of Aberdovey is a popular song which refers to the village now usually known locally by its Welsh-language name of Aberdyfi in Gwynedd, Wales, at the mouth of the River Dyfi on Cardigan Bay. The song is based on the legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod, which is also called Cantref Gwaelod or Cantref y Gwaelod. This ancient sunken kingdom is said to have occupied a tract of fertile land lying between Ramsey Island and Bardsey Island in what is now Cardigan Bay to the west of Wales. The legend supposes that the bells of the submerged lost kingdom can be heard ringing below the waves on the beach at Aberdyfi.

Aberdovey Lifeboat Station

Aberdovey Lifeboat Station is an RNLI lifeboat station in the coastal village of Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, West Wales, on the Dyfi estuary in Cardigan Bay. It was established in 1853, but there has been a lifeboat serving the village since 1837.

Frongoch quarry, Aberdyfi Disused slate quarry in Mid Wales

Frongoch slate quarry was a slate quarry and mine in Mid Wales, approximately halfway between Aberdovey and Pennal. The quarry was named after a nearby farm of the same name. 'Fron-gôch' is Welsh for 'Red-breast'.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Neighbourhood statistics". Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  2. "Aberdyfi.org" . Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  3. 1 2 "Aberdyfi.com" . Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Managing the use of dwellings as holiday homes" (PDF). Gwynedd Council. December 2020.
  5. "Gwynedd Council supports scheme that will deliver affordable homes in Aberdyfi". Gwynedd Council. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  6. "Comisiynydd y Gymraeg - Details". www.comisiynyddygymraeg.cymru. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  7. "Aberdyfi". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  8. "Aberdovey Post Office". Post Office. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  9. "Aberdovey (AVY) details". National Rail. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  10. "Aberdovey Lifeboat Station". Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  11. "Contact Us/Contact Details". Aberdovey Golf Club. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  12. "The Dovey Inn". S.A. Brain & Co Ltd. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  13. "Contact Us". The Braided Rug Company. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  14. "Contact". Aberdyfi Community Council. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  15. "Gasworks site 'gifted' to Aberdyfi for wildlife". BBC News. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. "Body found in sea between Aberdovey and Tywyn, say police". BBC News. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  17. "'Dark web' drug dealer operating from an idyllic Welsh resort is jailed". The Telegraph. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  18. "10 of the best beaches in Wales for a family day out". The Telegraph. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  19. "This Welsh chalet with one of the best views in the UK is up for sale". Wales Online. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  20. "The £1.7m dream home that comes with its very own island". Wales Online. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  21. "Aberdyfi/Aberdovey Beach". VisitWales. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lewis, Hugh (1997). Aberdyfi: a chronicle through the centuries. Aberdyfi: Author.
  23. Northall, John. "Aberdyfi Castle". Castles of Wales. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  24. Pickering, W (1932). Archaeologia Cambrensis, Volume 87. Cambrian Archaeological Association. p. 392.
  25. Christiansen, Rex & Miller, R.W. The Cambrian Railways, Vol. 1 David & Charles (1967)
  26. Outward Bound International. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  27. "Aberdovey Lifeboat". Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  28. "The Williams Family Tree" . Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  29. "Dovey Yacht Club". Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  30. Stuart Fisher (5 January 2012). Rivers of Britain: Estuaries, Tideways, Havens, Lochs, Firths and Kyles. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 47–. ISBN   978-1-4081-5931-6.
  31. "Aberdovey Golf Club". Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  32. "FAW Welsh Trophy - over 100 years of history" . Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  33. "Aberdyfi Rowing Club" . Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  34. "About us". St Peter's Church website. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  35. "New bell rings as the tide rises in Aberdyfi, Gwynedd". BBC News. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  36. "Time and Tide Bell". Marcus Vergette official website. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  37. "The Project Gutenberg Etext of Ceiriog, by John Ceiriog Hughes" (PDF). Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  38. "City veteran wields pen against dodgy brokers". The Telegraph. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  39. "Scientist's climate change honour". BBC. 16 January 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2014.