It is renowned as the home of Bishop William Morgan (1545–1604), who lived at Tŷ Mawr, Y Wybrnant, near the village. He was one of the leading scholars of his day, having mastered Hebrew in addition to Latin and Greek. He was the first to translate the Bible in its entirety into Welsh.
The parish church of Saint Tudclud, although not ancient itself, contains five important Early Christian inscribed stone slabs dating from the 5th century or 6th century, notably one commemorating Cantiorix as a citizen and magistrate of Gwynedd.
Penmachno briefly featured during the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294–95 as the place at which Madog signed the so-called Penmachno Document, the only surviving direct evidence for the rebel leader's use of the title of prince of Wales.
A world-class mountain bike trail has been built on the nearby forested slopes. It consists of a 20km loop with an optional 10km extension. There are limited car parking facilities on the site, however, and no visitor centre, as local residents believed increased visitor numbers would spoil village life.
- "Penmachno". mbwales.com. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- Castle, Samantha (5 June 2008). "Penmachno residents reject mountain bike trail car park and visitor centre". North Wales Weekly News. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- Penmachno.net, a tourism site for the village
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Penmachno and surrounding area
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