|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Established||1 April 1996|
|Admin HQ||Council Offices, Caernarfon|
The Arms of the former Gwynedd County Council
|• Control||TBA (council NOC)|
|• Total||2,548 km2 (984 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 2nd|
|• Rank||Ranked 14th|
|• Density||49/km2 (130/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 20th|
|• Ethnicity||99.0% White|
|• Rank||Ranked 1st|
|• Any skills||76.1%|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-GWN|
Gwynedd (English: // ; Welsh: [ˈɡʊɨnɛð] ) is a county in Wales, sharing borders with Powys, Conwy, Denbighshire, Anglesey over the Menai Strait, and Ceredigion over the River Dyfi. The scenic Llŷn Peninsula and most of Snowdonia National Park are in Gwynedd. Bangor is the home of Bangor University.
As a local government area, it is the second largest in Wales in terms of land area and also one of the most sparsely populated. A majority of the population is Welsh-speaking. Gwynedd also refers to being one of the preserved counties of Wales, covering the two local government areas of Gwynedd and Anglesey. Named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd, both culturally and historically, Gwynedd can also be used for most of North Wales, such as the area that was policed by the Gwynedd Constabulary. The current area is 2,548 square kilometres (984 square miles), with a population of 121,874 as measured in the 2011 Census.
In the past, historians such as J. E. Lloyd assumed that the Celtic source of the word "Gwynedd" meant "collection of tribes" – the same root as the Irish fine, meaning "tribe".Further, a connection is recognised between the name and the Irish Féni, an early ethnonym for the Irish themselves, related to fían, "company of hunting and fighting men, company of warriors under a leader". Perhaps *u̯en-, u̯enə (strive, hope, wish) is the Indo-European stem. The Irish settled in NW Wales, and in Dyfed, at the end of the Roman era. Venedotia was the Latin form, and in Penmachno there is a memorial stone from c. AD 500 which reads: Cantiori Hic Iacit Venedotis ("Here lies Cantiorix, citizen of Gwynedd"). The name was retained by the Brythons when the kingdom of Gwynedd was formed in the 5th century, and it remained until the invasion of Edward I. This historical name was revived when the new county was formed in 1974.
Gwynedd was an independent kingdom from the end of the Roman period until the 13th century, when it was conquered by England. The modern Gwynedd was one of eight Welsh counties created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. It covered the entirety of the historic counties of Anglesey and Caernarfonshire, and all of Merionethshire apart from Edeirnion Rural District (which went to Clwyd); and also a few parishes of Denbighshire: Llanrwst, Llansanffraid Glan Conwy, Eglwysbach, Llanddoged, Llanrwst and Tir Ifan.
The county was divided into five districts: Aberconwy, Arfon, Dwyfor, Meirionnydd and Anglesey.
The Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 abolished the 1974 county (and the five districts) on 1 April 1996, and its area was divided: the Isle of Anglesey became an independent unitary authority, and Aberconwy (which included the former Denbighshire parishes) passed to the new Conwy County Borough. The remainder of the county was constituted as a principal area, with the name Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire, as it covers most of the areas of those two historic counties. As one of its first actions, the Council renamed itself Gwynedd on 2 April 1996. The present Gwynedd local government area is governed by Gwynedd Council. As a unitary authority, the modern entity no longer has any districts, but Arfon, Dwyfor and Meirionnydd remain as area committees.
The pre-1996 boundaries were retained as a preserved county for a few purposes such as the Lieutenancy. In 2003, the boundary with Clwyd was adjusted to match the modern local government boundary, so that the preserved county now covers the two local government areas of Gwynedd and Anglesey. Conwy county borough is now entirely within Clwyd.
A Gwynedd Constabulary was formed in 1950 by the merger of the Anglesey, Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire forces. A further amalgamation took place in the 1960s when Gwynedd Constabulary was merged with the Flintshire and Denbighshire county forces, retaining the name Gwynedd. In one proposal for local government reform in Wales, Gwynedd had been proposed as a name for a local authority covering all of north Wales, but the scheme as enacted divided this area between Gwynedd and Clwyd. To prevent confusion, the Gwynedd Constabulary was therefore renamed the North Wales Police.
The Snowdonia National Park was formed in 1951. After the 1974 local authority reorganisation, the park fell entirely within the boundaries of Gwynedd, and was run as a department of Gwynedd County Council. After the 1996 local government reorganisation, part of the park fell under Conwy County Borough, and the park's administration separated from the Gwynedd council. Gwynedd Council still appoints nine of the eighteen members of the Snowdonia National Park Authority; Conwy County Borough Council appoints three; and the Welsh Government appoints the remaining six.
The county has a mixed economy. An important part of the economy is based on tourism: many visitors are attracted by the many beaches and the mountains. A significant part of the county lies within the Snowdonia National Park, which extends from the north coast down to the district of Meirionnydd in the south. But tourism provides seasonal employment and thus there is a shortage of jobs in the winter.
Agriculture is less important than in the past, especially in terms of the number of people who earn their living on the land, but it remains an important element of the economy.
The most important of the traditional industries is the slate industry, but these days only a small percentage of workers earn their living in the slate quarries.
Industries which have developed more recently include TV and sound studios: the record company Sain has its HQ in the county.
The education sector is also very important for the local economy, including Bangor University and Further Education colleges, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and Coleg Menai, both now part of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
Gwynedd has the highest proportion of people in Wales who can speak Welsh. According to the 2011 Census, 65.4% aged three and over stated that they could speak Welsh.It is estimated that 83% of the county's Welsh-speakers are fluent, the highest percentage of all counties in Wales. The highest percentages of Welsh speakers in Gwynedd are within the 5–15 age group, with 92.3% of those people stating that they could speak Welsh.
The proportion of Welsh speakers in Gwynedd declined between 1991 and 2001,from 72.1% to 68.7%, even though the proportion of Welsh speakers in Wales as a whole increased during that decade to 20.5%. The Annual Population Survey conducted in 2018, estimates that 76.8% of those in Gwynedd who are three-years-old and above can speak Welsh.
Caernarfon is a royal town, community, and port in Gwynedd, Wales, with a population of 9,852. It lies along the A487 road, on the eastern shore of the Menai Strait, opposite the Isle of Anglesey. The city of Bangor is 8.6 miles (13.8 km) to the north-east, while Snowdonia fringes Caernarfon to the east and south-east. Carnarvon and Caernarvon are Anglicised spellings that were superseded in 1926 and 1974 respectively.
Caernarfonshire, historically spelled as Caernarvonshire or Carnarvonshire in English, is one of the thirteen historic counties, a vice-county and a former administrative county of Wales.
Merionethshire or Merioneth is one of thirteen historic counties of Wales, a vice county and a former administrative county.
Conwy County Borough is a unitary authority area in North Wales.
Meirionnydd is a coastal and mountainous region of Wales. It has been a kingdom, a cantref, a district and, as Merionethshire, a county.
Denbighshire is a county in north-east Wales. Its borders differ from the eponymous historic county. This part of Wales contains the country's oldest known evidence of habitation – Pontnewydd (Bontnewydd-Llanelwy) Palaeolithic site has Neanderthal remains from some 225,000 years ago. Castles include Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Ruthin, Castell Dinas Bran and Bodelwyddan. St Asaph, one of Britain's smallest cities, has one of its smallest Anglican cathedrals. Denbighshire is bounded by coastline to the north and hills to the east, south and west. The River Clwyd dominates a broad valley with little industry: crops appear in the Vale of Clwyd and cattle and sheep in the uplands. The coast attracts summer visitors, while hikers frequent the Clwydian Range, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the upper Dee Valley. Llangollen hosts the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod each July.
Historic Denbighshire is one of thirteen traditional counties in Wales, a vice-county and a former administrative county, which covers an area in north east Wales. It is a maritime county, bounded to the north by the Irish Sea, to the east by Flintshire, Cheshire and Shropshire, to the south by Montgomeryshire and Merionethshire, and to the west by Caernarfonshire.
Clwyd is a preserved county of Wales, situated in the north-east corner of the country; it is named after the River Clwyd, which runs through the area. To the north lies the Irish Sea, with the English ceremonial counties of Cheshire to the east and Shropshire to the south-east. Powys and Gwynedd lie to the south and west respectively. Clwyd also shares a maritime boundary with Merseyside along the River Dee. Between 1974 and 1996, a slightly different area had a county council, with local government functions shared with six district councils. In 1996, Clwyd was abolished, and the new unitary authorities of Wrexham, Conwy County Borough, Denbighshire, and Flintshire were created; under this reorganisation, "Clwyd" became a preserved county, with the name being retained for certain ceremonial functions.
Meirionnydd Nant Conwy was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.
Llanrwst is a small market town and community on the A470 road and the River Conwy, in Conwy County Borough, Wales and in the historic county of Denbighshire. Llanrwst developed around the wool trade and became known also for the making of harps and clocks. Today, less than a mile from the edge of Snowdonia, its main industry is tourism. Notable buildings include almshouses, two 17th-century chapels, and the Parish Church of St Grwst, which holds a stone coffin of Llywelyn the Great. The 2011 census gave the town a population of 3,323.
North Wales is the northernmost region of Wales. It is bordered by the principal areas of Ceredigion, Powys, and the rest of Wales to the south, England and its counties of Shropshire, and Cheshire to the east, and the Irish Sea to the north and west. It is highly mountainous and rural, with Snowdonia National Park, known for its mountains, waterfalls and trails, located wholly within the region. North Wales has no official designation; it is mostly used for organising the 6 northern principal areas for the public purposes of health, policing and emergency services, and for statistical, economic and cultural purposes.
The Borough of Aberconwy was one of five districts of Gwynedd, north-west Wales, from 1974 to 1996.
Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Baron Elis-Thomas is a Welsh politician, representing the Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency in the Senedd. Born in Carmarthen, Wales, he was raised in Ceredigion and the Conwy Valley. He represented Merioneth, then Meirionnydd Nant Conwy constituencies as a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1992 and was the Llywydd of the Senedd from its inception in 1999 to 2011. He is a member of the House of Lords, a former leader of Plaid Cymru, and, since 2004, a privy counsellor. On 14 October 2016 he left the party in order to support the Welsh Government and now sits as an independent in the Senedd. In November 2017, he joined the Welsh Government. He is the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.
The Bishop of Wrexham is the Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wrexham in the Province of Cardiff in Wales.
The Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which amended the Local Government Act 1972 to create the current local government structure in Wales of 22 unitary authority areas, referred to as principal areas in the Act, and abolished the previous two-tier structure of counties and districts. It came into effect on 1 April 1996.
North Wales Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing North Wales. Its headquarters are in Colwyn Bay.
Gwynedd Council is the governing body for the principal area of Gwynedd, one of the subdivisions of Wales within the United Kingdom. The Council administrates internally using the Welsh language.
The mediaeval Welsh cantref of Arfon in north-west Wales was the core of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Later it was included in the new county of Caernarfonshire, together with Llŷn and Arllechwedd under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284. The island of Anglesey faced it across the Menai Strait; to the east was the cantref of Arllechwedd, to the south the cantref of Eifionydd, and to the west was the cantref of Llŷn.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Wales:
Grŵp Llandrillo Menai (GLlM) is an umbrella organisation overseeing the operation of three member colleges in North Wales: Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor.
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