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)
Population2,330 (2021)
• Density1,022/sq mi (395/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, an Early English style church built in 1865[1]

Y Felinheli (Welsh pronunciation), formerly known in English as Port Dinorwic, is a village and community 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] According to the 2021 Census, Y Felinheli's population was 2,330.[8]


In June 2018, the population density in Y Felinheli was 412 per square kilometre (1,067/sq mi), compared to 49 per square kilometre (127/sq mi) for Gwynedd.



According to the United Kingdom Census 2021, 68.3 per cent of all usual residents aged 3+ in Y Felinheli can speak Welsh.[9] 78.6 per cent of the population noted that they could speak, read, write or understand Welsh.[10]

The 2011 census noted 64.3 per cent of all usual residents aged 3 years and older in the village could speak Welsh.[11] The 2011 census also noted that 89.4 per cent of all usual residents aged 3+ who were born in Wales could speak Welsh.[12] The Welsh-language skills of Y Felinheli residents were as follows in 2011 and 2021:

Welsh language skill[13][14] Number and % of persons aged 3+


Number and % of persons aged 3+




One or more Welsh language skills 1,579 (72.1%) 1775 (78.6%) +6.5
Can understand spoken Welsh 1,431 (65.4%) 1,636 (72.5%) +7.1
Can speak, read or write Welsh 1,429 (65.3%)
Can speak Welsh 1,407 (64.3%) 1,542 (68.3%) +4.0
Can read Welsh 1,275 (58.3%) 1,436 (63.6%) +5.3
Can write Welsh 1,213 (55.4%) 1,372 (60.8%) +5.4
Can speak, read and write Welsh 1,196 (54.6%) 1,320 (58.5%) +3.9
Total aged 3+ 2,189 2,257

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.[15]

In 2001, 72.1% of all usual residents aged 3+ in Y Felinheli could speak Welsh. 73.4% could speak it in 1991.[16] In 1981, 80.6 per cent of the population could speak Welsh; 3.1% of the population were monoglot Welsh-speakers.[17]

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.[18]


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.[19] According to the 2022 Census, 63.8% of the population noted that they had Welsh-only national identity.

Country of Birth[edit]

The 2021 Census noted that 93.9% of the population was born in the United Kingdom. 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.[20]

Ethnic Group[edit]

In 2021, 96.5% of the population identified their ethnic group within the high-level "White" category.


The religion question was voluntary in the 2021 Census. Of those in Y Felinheli who answered the question, 49.4% described themselves as having no religion, with 49.2% describing themselves as Christian. Buddhist was the second most common religion.

Notable people[edit]

  • Siân Gwenllian (born 1956) a Welsh Plaid Cymru politician
  • Wil Jones (1960–2020) a Welsh portrait artist, guitarist, and teacher.
  • Lisa Gwilym (born 1975) a Welsh broadcaster, lives in the village.


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)).[21]

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 Meithrin.

Ysgol Gynradd Y Felinheli provides Welsh-medium primary education to the village and the surrounding area. As of 2022, there were 179 pupils enrolled at the school.[22]

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 forms part of the Bethel a'r Felinheli ward and is currently represented in Gwynedd Council by Plaid Cymru councillors Sasha Ellen Fraser Williams and Iwan Huws.[23] The village also has a Community Council, currently chaired by councillor Iwan Huws.[24]


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.[25]

The local carnival committee organises the annual Gŵyl Y Felinheli.[26]


The local football team, CPD Y Felinheli celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017.[27][28] For the 2021–22 season, the team was selected by the FAW to be part of the newly created Ardal Leagues North West.[29]

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.[30]


  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. ^ "Y Felinheli (Gwynedd, Wales / Cymru, United Kingdom) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map, Location, Weather and Web Information". www.citypopulation.de. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  9. ^ "Welsh Language Change in the percentage of people aged three years or older able to speak Welsh by LSOA 2011 to 2021 | DataMapWales". datamap.gov.wales. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  10. ^ "Welsh language skills (detailed) - Office for National Statistics". www.ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  11. ^ "Comisiynydd y Gymraeg - 2011 Census results by Community". www.comisiynyddygymraeg.cymru. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  12. ^ "LC2206WA (Welsh language skills by country of birth by age) - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics". www.nomisweb.co.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  13. ^ Sillitoe, Neighbourhood Statistics - Neil (14 April 2008). "Detect browser settings". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  14. ^ Sillitoe, Neighbourhood Statistics - Neil (14 April 2008). "Detect browser settings". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Children speaking Welsh at home". gov.wales. 22 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Supplementary Planning Guidance: Planning and the Welsh Language" (PDF). Gwynedd Council. November 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "1981 census - small area statistics - Nomis - Official Census and Labour Market Statistics". www.nomisweb.co.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  18. ^ Rogers, Simon (30 January 2013). "Languages mapped: what do people speak where you live?". the Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Ward Profile - Y Felinheli" (PDF). Gwynedd Council. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Country of birth (Census)". InfoBase Cymru. 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "Ysgol Y Felinheli". mylocalschool.gov.wales. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  23. ^ "Election results for Bethel a'r Felinheli, 5 May 2022". democracy.gwynedd.llyw.cymru. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  24. ^ "Community Council | Y Felinheli Community Council, Gwynedd". www.felinheli.org. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant Cymru - Gŵyl Cerdd Dant". cerdd-dant.org. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  26. ^ Gŵyl y Felinheli
  27. ^ Jones, Dave (8 August 2017). "Happy 40th birthday to CPD Y Felinheli". northwales. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  28. ^ Y Felinheli Club Information
  29. ^ "Division North West Table". www.welshallianceleague.co.uk. Retrieved 29 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ 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]