Road bridge at Y Felinheli marina
Y Felinheli shown within Gwynedd
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||Y FELINHELI|
Y Felinheli, formerly known in English as Port Dinorwic, is a village beside the Menai Strait (Welsh: Y Fenai or Afon Menai) between Bangor and Caernarfon in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. The population of the village was 2,284 at the 2011 Census.
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 Heilyn. The mill was rebuilt closer to the sea in 1633 and its name, Aber y felin gave the settlement its name.  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.
The owners of the Vaynol Estate, the Assheton Smiths, owned most of the land in Y Felinheli and developed the Dinorwic Quarry 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. 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 organizes dinghy racing.
Demographically, according to the United Kingdom Census 2001, the number of speakers of the Welsh language in all age groups was 72%, with the highest percentage of Welsh speakers being in the 5–9 range (97.8%). This means that Y Felinheli was the 49th most Welsh-speaking electoral division by percentage in Wales.
According to the United Kingdom Census 2011, 64.3% of all usual residents aged 3+ in Y Felinheli could speak Welsh. However, the percentage of persons age 3-15 who could speak Welsh was 83.5%. According to the 2014 Estyn report on the village primary school, of the 155 pupils enrolled, 75% were from Welsh-speaking homes. Most residents work in Caernarfon or Bangor.
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)).
Historically, there was a passenger railway station named Port Dinorwic which 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.
Culture and sport
- "Community/Ward population 2011". Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- Jones 1992, p. 9
- Jones 1992, p. 10
- Jones 1992, p. 13
- Dinas Boat Yard
- Port Dinorwic Sailing Club
- Neighbourhood Statistics. "Check Browser Settings". Neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
- "Ysgol Gynradd Y Felinheli | Estyn". www.estyn.gov.wales. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- Gŵyl y Felinheli
- Y Felinheli Club Information
- Jones, Reg Chambers (1992), Felinheli A Personal History of the Port of Dinorwic, Bridge Books, ISBN 1-872424-26-0
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