Beddgelert (English: Gelert's Grave), is a village and community in the Snowdonia area of Gwynedd, Wales. The population of the community taken at the 2011 census was 453. It is reputed to be named after the legendary hound Gelert.
It stands in a valley at the confluence of the River Glaslyn and River Colwyn. Just below the confluence of the river is the old stone bridge with two arches in the centre of the village. Many of the houses and hotels are built of local dark stone. To the west is Moel Hebog and its neighbours to the north and a series of hills rising to the top of Snowdon. A lane of the A4085 between Caernarfon (13 miles north) and Porthmadog (8 miles south) runs through the village.
The outdoor equipment company Gelert originated in Beddgelert but later moved its headquarters to nearby Porthmadog, leaving a shop in the village.
Despite the presence of a raised mound in the village called Gelert's Grave, now a tourist attraction, there is absolutely no evidence for Gelert's existence. The "grave" mound is ascribed to the activities of a late 18th-century landlord of the Goat Hotel in Beddgelert, David Pritchard, who connected the legend to the village in order to encourage tourism. Similar legends can be found in other parts of Europe and Asia.
The village is probably named after an early Christian missionary and leader called Celert (or Cilert) who settled here early in the 8th century. The earliest record of the name Beddgelert appears on a document dated 1258, and the name recorded is "Bekelert". In a document of 1269 it is recorded as "Bedkelerd".
The Church of St. Mary stands at the end of Stryd yr Eglwys (Church Street). This was originally the chapel of a Benedictine monastery, and parts of the building date from the 12th century; it is still in use.
Economy and attractions
Beddgelert is a significant tourist attraction, its picturesque bridge crossing the River Colwyn just upstream of its confluence with the River Glaslyn. It is also the nearest village to the scenic Glaslyn gorge, an area of tumultuous river running between steep wooded hills. Much of the area is, however, becoming invaded by the alien plant, Rhododendron ponticum which provides a covering of pink blossom in May and June, but which is slowly blanketing out the native flora. Attempts have been made to control its spread by cutting and burning.
Beddgelert has a range of hotels and guesthouses, cafes, restaurants and pubs. The car park in the village provides the easiest access route for climbing Moel Hebog, the mountain which directly overlooks the village.
Part of the restored Welsh Highland Railway runs through the village. In April 2009 the railway station was reopened to the public. The line links the village with Caernarfon to the north and Porthmadog to the south.
Other local attractions include the Sygun Copper Mine.
Renowned bards who lived in the area in the 15th–16th centuries include Dafydd Nanmor, Rhys Nanmor and Rhys Goch Eryri. More recently, from the 19th to the 20th centuries both Glaslyn & Carneddog lived in Nantmor. Currently Nantmor is still home to poets, including Nia Powell & Cynan Jones.
The Beddgelert Meteorite
On September 21st 1949 a meteorite stuck the Prince Llywelyn Hotel in the early hours of the morning, causing damage to the roof and a bedroom in the hotel. The following week the Caernarvon & Denbigh Herald reported the incident with these words:
"STRANGE HAPPENING.- About 3a.m. on the morning of September 21st, a piece of metal weighing about 5 pounds fell through the roof of Prince Llewelyn Hotel to a bedroom below. The noise was heard throughout the village, and up to the present no explanation has been forthcoming for the mysterious happening."
The proprietor of the hotel, a Mr Tillotson, subsequently sold half the meteorite to the British Museum and half to Durham University, which had placed an advertisement in the local papers asking for information and offering a reward for any recovered fragments of the meteorite.
There have only ever been two such verified meteorite falls in Wales: the Beddgelert incident, and an earlier incident fourteen miles away in Pontllyfni in 1931, at the other end of the Nantlle Ridge.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Beddgelert.|
- The Friends of St. Mary's Church, Beddgelert
- Beddgelert Snowdonia Guide
- Gelert the Animated Movie
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Beddgelert and surrounding area
- Map sources for Beddgelert