Y Felinheli

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Y Felinheli
Road Bridge at The Marina, Y Felinheli - geograph.org.uk - 227475.jpg
Road bridge at Y Felinheli marina
Y Felinheli is located in Gwynedd
Y Felinheli
Y Felinheli
Location within Gwynedd
Area2.28 sq mi (5.9 km2)
Population2,284 (2011)
• Density1,002/sq mi (387/km2)
OS grid referenceSH525675
  • Y Felinheli
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtLL56
Dialling code01248
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
53°10′59″N 4°12′36″W / 53.183°N 4.210°W / 53.183; -4.210Coordinates: 53°10′59″N 4°12′36″W / 53.183°N 4.210°W / 53.183; -4.210
St Mary's Church, built in the Early English style in 1865, to designs by J. G. Weightman[1]

Y Felinheli (About this soundWelsh pronunciation), formerly known in English as Port Dinorwic, is a village, community and electoral ward beside the Menai Strait (Welsh: Y Fenai or Afon Menai) between Bangor and Caernarfon in Gwynedd, northwest Wales.



Etymologically, its name comes from the Welsh y meaning the, melin meaning mill and heli, meaning brine/salt-water/sea. An alternative interpretation is from Y Felin Heulyn, "the mill on the River Heulyn", which refers to the river that runs into the village.


Y Felinheli has its origins in two hamlets, Tafarngrisiau near St Mary's Church and Aberpwll to the north-east where there was a mill on the Afon Heulyn. The mill was rebuilt closer to the sea in 1633 and gave its name to the settlement.[2] The area was largely agricultural until the area was transformed by slate quarrying in the 19th century. A new dock was built in 1828 when lime was extracted at Brynadda and slate and lime were loaded and culm (coal dust or anthracite slack) was brought in to fire the lime kilns.[3]

The owners of the Vaynol Estate, the Assheton Smiths, owned most of the land in Y Felinheli and developed the Dinorwic Quarry[4] in the late 18th century, They also built the harbour to export slate transported to the quay by the Dinorwic Railway, a narrow gauge railway that was subsequently replaced by the Padarn Railway. Industrial expansion gave Y Felinheli (Felin-hely, 1838) the alternative name Port Dinorwig or Port Dinorwic.


The harbour is a centre for pleasure boating and sailing. It has moorings, a marina and yacht support businesses, including rigging, sail making and boatyards.[5] The boatyard was constructed before the Second World War for building landing craft. Its slipway, probably the largest in North Wales is in private ownership, is usable at most states of tide. The local sailing club[6] organizes dinghy racing.




The population of the village was 2,284 at the 2011 Census.[7] As of 2019, it is estimated that the village's population is 2,465.[8]


In June 2018, the population density in Y Felinheli was 412 people per km2, compared to 49 people per km2 for Gwynedd.



According to the United Kingdom Census 2011, 64.3% of all usual residents aged 3+ in Y Felinheli could speak Welsh.[9] This compared to 65.4% for Gwynedd as a whole. 89.4% of all usual residents aged 3+ who were born in Wales could speak Welsh.[10] The percentages of Y Felinheli residents having Welsh-language skills are as follows:

Welsh language skill[11][12] No. of persons Percentage of persons aged 3+
Can understand spoken Welsh 1,431 65.4%
Can speak, read or write Welsh 1,429 65.3%
Can speak Welsh 1,407 64.3%
Can read Welsh 1,275 58.3%
Can write Welsh 1,213 55.4%
Can speak, read and write Welsh 1,196 54.6%

As of January 2018, 82.9% of pupils aged 5 or over in the village's primary school (Ysgol Y Felinheli) spoke Welsh at home.[13]

In 2001, 72.1% of all usual residents aged 3+ in Y Felinheli could speak Welsh. 73.4% could speak it in 1991.[14]

Other languages[edit]

According to the 2011 Census, 6% of Y Felinheli's population spoke a language other than English or Welsh as their main language. The most common was Arabic, with 2.92% speaking it as their main language.[15]


According to the 2011 Census, 59.7% of the population noted that they had Welsh-only national identity, with 35.6% noting that they had no Welsh national identity at all.[16]

Country of Birth[edit]

The 2011 Census noted that 91.1% of the population was born in the United Kingdom. 66.1% of the population was born in Wales and 23.8% of the population born in England. 5.7% of the population was born outside the European Union.[17]


The A487 road by-pass, completed in 1994, has removed much traffic congestion from the main street. The nearest railway station as the crow flies is across the Menai Strait at Llanfairpwll (2 miles (3.2 km)). The next nearest (not involving travelling by boat) is at Bangor (4 miles (6.4 km)).[18]

Historically, the passenger railway station Port Dinorwic was open between 1852 and 1960. There was also a narrow gauge railway running from the town to Dinorwic Quarry on the Dinorwic Railway (later Padarn Railway) to carry slate.


Welsh language parent-and-toddler group Cylch Ti a Fi Y Felinheli and a Welsh-language playgroup Cylch Meithrin Y Felinheli currently serves the community with the support of Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin.

Ysgol Gynradd Y Felinheli provides Welsh-medium primary education to the village and the surrounding area. As of 2019, there were 189 pupils enrolled at the school.[19]

In terms of secondary education, the village is in the catchment area of three secondary schools, namely Ysgol Tryfan, Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen and Ysgol Friars.


Local Government[edit]

Y Felinheli ward is currently represented in Gwynedd Council by Plaid Cymru councillor Gareth Wyn Griffith.[20] The village also has a Community Council.[21]


The village is currently represented in the Senedd by Arfon constituency member Siân Gwenllian (Plaid Cymru).

It is also represented by four North Wales regional members, namely Carolyn Thomas (Labour), Llyr Huws Gruffydd (Plaid Cymru), Sam Rowlands and Mark Isherwood (Welsh Conservatives).

House of Commons[edit]

The village is currently represented in the House of Commons by Arfon constituency member Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru), who was previously MP for the Caernarfon constituency from 2001.


The first National Cerdd Dant Festival was held in Y Felinheli in 1947.[22]

The local carnival committee organises the annual Gŵyl Y Felinheli.[23]


The local football team, CPD Y Felinheli celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017.[24][25] For the 021–22 season they were selected by the FAW to be part of the newly created Ardal Leagues North West. [26]

A private members sailing club, Clwb Hwylio Y Felinheli, has been based in the village, on the banks of the Menai Strait, since 1947. As of 2015, it had 136 youth members who have been trained at the club.[27]


  1. ^ "English".
  2. ^ Jones 1992, p. 9
  3. ^ Jones 1992, p. 10
  4. ^ Jones 1992, p. 13
  5. ^ Dinas Boat Yard
  6. ^ Port Dinorwic Sailing Club
  7. ^ "Community/Ward population 2011". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Area: W01000119 - Y Felinheli". InfoBase Cymru.
  9. ^ "Comisiynydd y Gymraeg - 2011 Census results by Community". www.comisiynyddygymraeg.cymru. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  10. ^ "LC2206WA (Welsh language skills by country of birth by age) - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics". www.nomisweb.co.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  11. ^ Sillitoe, Neighbourhood Statistics - Neil (14 April 2008). "Detect browser settings". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  12. ^ Sillitoe, Neighbourhood Statistics - Neil (14 April 2008). "Detect browser settings". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Children speaking Welsh at home". gov.wales. 22 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Supplementary Planning Guidance: Planning and the Welsh Language" (PDF). Gwynedd Council. November 2009.
  15. ^ Rogers, Simon (30 January 2013). "Languages mapped: what do people speak where you live?". the Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Ward Profile - Y Felinheli" (PDF). Gwynedd Council. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Country of birth (Census)". InfoBase Cymru. 2011.
  18. ^ "Find towns & cities within a mile or kilometer radius of your city? Calculate fuel costs and download csv files for personal or business use logistics, sales, research, moving home and more". www.distantias.com.
  19. ^ "Ysgol Y Felinheli". mylocalschool.gov.wales. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Councillor details - Gareth Wyn Griffith". democracy.cyngor.gwynedd.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Community Council | Y Felinheli Community Council, Gwynedd". www.felinheli.org. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant Cymru - Gŵyl Cerdd Dant". cerdd-dant.org. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  23. ^ Gŵyl y Felinheli
  24. ^ Jones, Dave (8 August 2017). "Happy 40th birthday to CPD Y Felinheli". northwales. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  25. ^ Y Felinheli Club Information
  26. ^ "Division North West Table". www.welshallianceleague.co.uk. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  27. ^ Butler, Ben (26 November 2015). "Gwynedd sailors challenge bid to create Menai Strait shellfish fishery". northwales. Retrieved 11 July 2018.


  • Jones, Reg Chambers (1992), Felinheli A Personal History of the Port of Dinorwic, Bridge Books, ISBN 1-872424-26-0

External links[edit]