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Dowyddelan Wales.jpeg
Part of the village of Dolwyddelan
Dolwyddelan is located in Conwy
Location within Conwy
Population474 (2011)
OS grid referenceSH730511
  • Dolwyddelan
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLL25
Dialling code01690
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
EU ParliamentWales
UK Parliament
Welsh Assembly
List of places
53°02′31″N 3°53′42″W / 53.042°N 3.895°W / 53.042; -3.895Coordinates: 53°02′31″N 3°53′42″W / 53.042°N 3.895°W / 53.042; -3.895

Dolwyddelan (About this soundWelsh pronunciation) is a village and community in Conwy county borough, north Wales, on the main A470 road between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Betws-y-Coed. The name of the village translates as "Gwyddelan's meadow", referring to the 5th or 6th century Saint Gwyddelan, after whom the parish church is named. As a community, the population of Dolwyddelan was recorded in the 2001 Census as 427,[1] and 55.8% of those residents could speak Welsh.[2] A slight population increase to 474 was recorded in the 2011 census with the proportion of Welsh speakers falling to 50.8%.[3]

The town's name was formerly often spelled as Dolwyddelen, especially by the railway between 1880 and 1980.[4]

Buildings of note[edit]

The village is particularly noted for Dolwyddelan Castle, the reputed birthplace of Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great), although doubt has been cast on this as the stone keep was not built until around 1220.[1] It has better transport links than most villages, with the small Dolwyddelan railway station on the Conwy Valley Line still in operation. Elen's Castle Hotel dates back over three hundred years and was once a seat of the Lords Gwydyr and later belonged to Gilbert Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 1st Earl of Ancaster. In the 1870s he sold it to his game-keeper, who opened it as a coaching inn which specialised in hunting parties.


Nearby mountains include Moel Siabod to the north, Moel Penamnen and Y Ro Wen to the south and, further afield, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) lies approximately 10 miles to the west. Carreg Alltrem, a crag used by many rock climbers, can be found about a mile south of the village.


Dolwyddelan is included in the Betws-y-Coed electoral ward which is represented by a county councillor on Conwy County Borough Council.

Notable residents[edit]

Angharad James, poet, lived in Cwm Penamnen, to the south of the village, most of her life and is buried in Saint Gwyddelan's church.[5]

The village is the birthplace of Welsh preacher John Jones, Talysarn.

Playwright, writer, and theatre critic Paul Griffiths also lived and worked here.[6]

The sprinter Rachel Johncock also lives in the village. She represented Great Britain in the 2012 World Junior Championships in Athletics for the 100m and 4 × 100 m relay.[7]

Home of Baron Gwydyr and the Earl of Ancaster. To be precise the building which is currently Elen's Castle Hotel was his home.

Eigra Lewis Roberts is one of the best and most well-known writers of Wales. She has won two Prose Medals, National Eisteddfod Drama Crown and Medal. Although she is originally from Blaenau Ffestiniog, she has lived in Dolwyddelan for years now.

Writer and bookseller Ellis Pierce, also known as Elis o'r Nant, was from Dolwyddelan.[8]


In 1980 Walt Disney used Dolwyddelan Castle and surrounding grounds to film all the external castle scenes in the film Dragonslayer. During the making of Dragonslayer (starring Peter MacNicol) many other scenes were shot in North Wales.[9]



  1. ^ a b Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Menna, Baines; Lynch, Peredur I., eds. (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6.
  2. ^ "Report on the Welsh language" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Community population and percent of Welsh speakers 2011". Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  4. ^ Bala to Llandudno, Mitchell & Smith, Middleton Press 2010
  5. ^ Owen Thomas, D.D., Cofiant Y Parchedig John Jones, Talsarn (Wrexham 1874)
  6. ^ The Western Mail, Monday 29 May 2000 : 'Playwright at 12 now film writer' : Karen Price Arts & Media Correspondent
  7. ^ Jones, Dave (19 July 2012). "Athletics: Rachel Johncock does us proud in World Junior Athletics Championships". Daily Post. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  8. ^ Evan David Jones, "Ellis Pierce" in Dictionary of Welsh Biography (National Library of Wales 2009).
  9. ^ "Dolwyddelan Castle". North Wales Daily Post. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2013.

External links[edit]