Snowdonia National Park




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Snowdonia national Park



Snowdon boasts some of the best views in Britain, and the summit can be reached by a number of well-known paths. The summit can also be reached on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a rack and pinion railway opened in 1896 which carries passengers the 4.7 miles (7.6 km) from Llanberis to the summit station. The summit also houses a visitor centre called Hafod Eryri, built in 2006 to replace one built in the 1930s.




The Snowdon group seen from the east; left: Y Lliwedd; centre: Crib Goch; right: Yr Wyddfa and Garnedd Ugain



The English name for the area derives from Snowdon, which is the highest mountain in Wales at 3,560 ft (1,085m). In Welsh, the area is named Eryri. One assumption is that the name is derived from eryr ("eagle"), but others state that it means quite simply Highlands, as leading Welsh scholar Sir Ifor Williams[1] In the Middle Ages the title Prince of Wales and Lord of SnowdoniaTywysog Cymru ac Arglwydd Eryri) was used by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, whose home was at Garth Celyn on the north coast; his grandfather Llywelyn Fawr used the title Prince of north Wales and Lord of Snowdonia. proved. (

Today the word "Snowdonia" is largely synonymous with the Snowdonia National Park, although prior to the designation of the boundaries of the National Park, the term "Snowdonia" was generally used to refer to a much smaller area, namely the upland area of northern Gwynedd centred on the Snowdon massif, whereas the national park covers an area more than twice that size extending far to the south into Meirionnydd. This is apparent in books published prior to 1951 such as the classic travelogue Wild Wales by George Borrow (1862) and The Mountains of Snowdonia by H. Carr & G. Lister (1925). F. J. North, as editor of the book Snowdonia (1949), states "When the Committee delineated provisional boundaries, they included areas some distance beyond Snowdonia proper." The traditional Snowdonia thus includes the ranges of Snowdon and its satellites, the Glyderau, the Carneddau and the Moel Siabod group. It does not include the hills to the south of Maentwrog. As Eryri (see above), this area has a unique place in Welsh history, tradition and culture.

 

 

Nature, landscape and the environment

The Park's entire coastline is a Special Area of Conservation, which runs from the Llŷn Peninsula down the mid-Wales coast, the latter containing valuable sand dune systems.





Disused quarry near
Llanberis in the foothills of the Glyderau

The Park's natural forests are of the mixed deciduous type, the commonest tree being the Welsh Oak. Birch, ash, mountain-ash and hazel are also common. The Park also contains some large (planted) coniferous forested areas such as Gwydir Forest near Betws-y-Coed, although some areas, once harvested, are now increasingly being allowed to regrow naturally.



The Gwydir Forest lies in an elevated position, and offers views towards the Glyderau and the Carneddau ranges.

Northern Snowdonia is the only place in Britain where the Snowdon Lily, an arctic-alpine plant, and the rainbow-coloured Snowdon beetle (Chrysolina cerealis) are found, and the only place in the world where the Snowdonia hawkweed Hieracium snowdoniense grows.

A large proportion of the Park is today under designation (or under consideration for designation) as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, Biosphere and Ramsar sites.

One of the major problems facing the Park in recent years has been the growth of Rhododendron ponticum.[10] This fast-growing invasive species has a tendency to take over and stifle native species. It can form massive towering growths and has a companion fungus that grows on its roots producing toxins that are poisonous to any local flora and fauna for a seven-year period after the Rhododendron infestations have been eradicated. As a result there are a number of desolate landscapes.

Rare mammals in the park include Otters, Polecats, and Feral goat, although the Pine Marten has not been seen for many years.[11] Rare birds include Raven, Peregrine, osprey, Merlin and possibly Red Kite.

Bird watching in Mid Wales  

Every species of bird that has been recorded in a wild state in Wales. Compared to the avifauna of Britain as a whole, Wales has fewer breeding species but these include a number of moorland species such as Red Grouse and Black Grouse, large numbers of seabirds (particularly on offshore islands such as Skomer, Grassholm and Bardsey) and good populations of several species typical of Welsh Oak woods including Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler.[2][3] Among the birds of prey is the Red Kite which had become extinct in other parts of Britain until being reintroduced recently.[1] In winter many wildfowl and waders are found around the coast, attracted by the mild temperatures.[2] In spring and autumn a variety of migrant and vagrant birds can be seen, particularly on headlands and islands.[2]

Barmouth on the coast 
Devils Bridge 

Associated legends

The bridges that fall into the Devil’s Bridge category are so numerous that the legends about them form a special category in the Aarne-Thompson classification system for folktales (Number 1191). Some of the legends have elements of related folktale categories, for example Deceiving the Devil (AT #1196), The Devil's Contract (AT #756B), and The Master Builder legends.

One version of the tale presents the bridge builder and the Devil as adversaries. This reflects the fact that frequently, such as in the case of the Teufelsbrücke[1] at the St. Gotthard Pass, these bridges were built under such challenging conditions that successful completion of the bridge required a heroic effort on the part of the builders and the community, ensuring its legendary status.

Other versions of the legend feature an old lady or a simple herder who makes a pact with the Devil. In this version the devil agrees to build the bridge, and in return he will receive the first soul to cross it. After building the bridge (often overnight) the devil is outwitted by his adversary and is last seen descending into the water, bringing peace to the community.

Each of the bridges that have received the Devil's Bridge appellation is remarkable in some regard; most often for the technological hurdles surpassed in building the bridge, but on occasion also for its aesthetic grace, or for its economic or strategic importance to the community it serves.

 

Dolgellau 









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