From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Plant.jpg
The lake with the nuclear power station in the background
Trawsfynydd is located in Gwynedd
Location within Gwynedd
Area120.10 km2 (46.37 sq mi)
Population973 (2011)
• Density8/km2 (21/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSH707356
  • Trawsfynydd
Principal area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLL41
Dialling code01766
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
52°54′07″N 3°55′23″W / 52.902°N 3.923°W / 52.902; -3.923Coordinates: 52°54′07″N 3°55′23″W / 52.902°N 3.923°W / 52.902; -3.923

Trawsfynydd (Welsh pronunciation: [trausˈvənɨ̞ð]; Welsh for "across [the] mountain") is a linear village in Gwynedd, Wales, adjacent to the A470 north of Bronaber and Dolgellau near Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The total community area is 12,010 hectares (120.1 square kilometres) with a population of only 973.[1] – the area is sparsely populated with each hectare inhabited by an average 0.07 persons. The village is typical of many Welsh villages. There is one grocery shop, one public house, a newsagent, a chemist, garage, petrol service station, and a branch of a large agricultural merchants. The community includes Bronaber.

General information[edit]

During the Second World War, the War Office used a site near Trawsfynydd for training exercises. Its continued use for training exercises following the war was the subject of protest by Plaid Cymru, which also challenged the UK government's continued military conscription in peace time.

Trawsfynydd used to be served by a section of the Great Western Railway branch line, which ran from Bala to Blaenau Ffestiniog. To the north of the station, the army built its own station to serve the large camp nearby.(camp detail) Today Trawsfynydd railway station is a private home. (pictures). The line closed to all traffic in 1961, and the trackbed at the Bala end was subsequently severed by the Llyn Celyn reservoir, but the section between Blaenau and Trawsfynydd Power Station reopened in 1964 for nuclear flask traffic. Access from the Bala end being no longer possible, a new section of track – the so-called "Trawsfynydd Link" – was constructed to link the previously separate ex-GWR and ex-LNWR stations in Blaenau Ffestiniog. It finally closed in 1998, although the track remains in situ.

The village has a high proportion of Welsh language speakers (81.7%),[2] and is accordingly in the top five Welsh-speaking communities in Gwynedd.[3]


An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward includes the community of Maentwrog and Gellilydan and has a total population of 1,604.[4]

Llyn Trawsfynydd, and power stations[edit]

The village is close to Llyn Trawsfynydd, a large man-made reservoir, which was originally built between 1924 and 1928 to supply water for Maentwrog hydro-electric power station.

The original flooding of the area in the 1920s to create the lake involved the drowning of some two dozen properties, some of historical significance, but there was little objection at the time. The new power station was regarded as a good thing, and indeed on its completion was capable of supplying the whole of North Wales' electricity needs.

Llyn Trawsfynedd.
Llyn Trawsfynydd footbridge

However, there was certain objection to the loss of rights of way across the former land, necessitating long detours round the new lake. In response to this, a small road was built along its western shore, and a footbridge (still standing) across the narrowest part of the lake.

The lake was subsequently also used to supply cooling water to the twin reactor Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, which was used for the commercial generation of electricity for the UK national grid.

Four dams were built to create the lake, one of these being subsequently rebuilt after construction of the nuclear power plant. Whereas previously the Maentwrog power station had access to all of the water in the lake, the needs of the nuclear plant dictated that from then on, the hydro plant should only use the top five feet of water.

Hedd Wyn[edit]

Trawsfynydd was the home of the Welsh bard Hedd Wyn who died during the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, six weeks before his poem won the Bard's Chair at that year's National Eisteddfod. It was sent to his parents in the village draped in a black cloth. Y Gadair Ddu (The Black Chair) is now on display at his home farm Yr Ysgwrn. A statue of him by L. S. Merrifield, unveiled in 1924, stands in the main street of Trawsfynydd. Hedd Wyn is buried with others from his regiment, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, at Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boezinge in Flanders.

Church of St Madryn[edit]

Trawsfynydd Parish Church
Trawsfynydd Parish Church

The church is dedicated to St Madryn, was burned down in 1978 and re-opened in 1981 (it remains the only listed building in the village).

The parish of Trawsfynydd was home to Saint John Roberts, one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, canonised in 1970: he was baptised in the church. Descended from Welsh saints and princes, he gained great respect helping the plague sufferers in London, but was found guilty of high treason and hanged, drawn and quartered on 10 December 1610.

In popular culture[edit]

In 1976 the Children's Film Foundation production One Hour to Zero was filmed in the village and at the nearby power station. The film First Knight had scenes filmed around Lake Trawsfynydd.[5]

The film Hedd Wyn was filmed in and around Trawsfynydd.

Notable people[edit]

  • Margaret Davies, poet and poetry collector, was born near Trawsfynydd.[6]
  • Morgan Lloyd, Liberal politician and MP, was born in the parish of Trawsfynydd.
  • Dewi Prysor, novelist and poet, was raised in the parish of Trawsfynydd.
  • Iwan Roberts, actor, lyricist and singer, was raised in the village.
  • Saint John Roberts, Benedictine monk and missionary priest, was born in the parish of Trawsfynydd.
  • John Rowlands, novelist and academic, was born in the parish of Trawsfynydd.
  • Hedd Wyn, poet, was born in the village.
  • Elfed Wyn Jones, originating from Hafodwen farm and known for his week-long hunger strike for broadcasting devolution in Wales.[7] Elfed was also one of the six youngsters who repainted the "Cofiwch Dryweryn" mural in Llanrhystud, Ceredigion after it was defaced with an “Elvis” graffiti in early February, 2019.[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bwrdd yr Iaith - pdf file
  3. ^ Mentrau Iaith Archived 26 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  5. ^ MovieMap North Wales Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen (1996), "Women and their poetry in medieval Wales", in Meale, Carol M. (ed.), Women and Literature in Britain, I, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 189
  7. ^ "Hunger strike for Welsh television / Preparations for New Caledonia referendum progress". Nationalia (in Catalan). Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Drowned village mural vandalism re-painted". 4 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links[edit]