It is thought that it was part of the territory of the Ordovices tribe, and that 'Dinorwig' means "Fort of the Ordovices".
The village has a long history of slate quarrying. The Romans used local slate for the construction of Segontium, and slates from the valley were used in the construction of Caernarfon Castle. The main local quarry was the Dinorwic Quarry, which was worked from the late 1770s until 1969.
After the First World War, cheaper alternative roofing materials became available and production at the quarry declined. This led to a decline in the fortune of the village itself and many moved away to nearby towns such as Bangor and Caernarfon.
Today, the village shares its name with a pumped storage hydroelectric power station, Dinorwig power station. The village is also the location of the Blue Peris Mountain Centre, a residential outdoor activities centre operated by Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council.
Part of the film Willow was shot in the disused Dinorwig Quarry, in June 1987. The village's population is approximately 200.
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