Betws-y-Coed is a popular inland resort and often referred to as “The Capital Of North Wales”. It is where the River Conwy meets its three tributaries flowing from the West, the Llugwy, the Lledr and the Machno. It evolved in Victorian times as a coaching stop on-route to London.
The main street, Holyhead Road, has numerous inns and bed-and-breakfasts accommodation along with shops that specialise in outdoor clothes and local bric-a-brak. At the railway station is a Museum with a miniature railway and the old 14th century church of St Michael’s is one of the oldest in Wales and is where the town takes its name “Chapel In The Woods”.
There are many bridges scattered around but the most famous are the Miner’s Bridge, on the road to Capel Curig, where the miners crossed the river on a steep ladder to their work and Thomas Telford’s iron Waterloo Bridge built in 1815, which carries the A5 across the River Conwy.
Stone Age man lived in the area and was responsible for the Neolithic Burial Chamber at Capel Garmon. The Celts arrived from Central Europe about 600 BC introducing the use of bronze and later iron-working. The Romans invaded Britain in AD43 and by AD78 the conquest of Wales was complete.
After the Romans left, much of Britain was overrun by the pagan Anglo-Saxons and others from the continent, and the Picts of Scotland and the Irish also attacked the Celtic Britons. The area was part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd which covered north west Wales. Although England was conquered by the Normans in 1066, Wales was not successfully conquered for over 200 years and it was during this period that many castles were built such as Dolwyddelan by the Welsh and Conwy by the Normans.
During this time Wales was perhaps at its strongest when Gwynedd was under the rule of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth also known as Llewelyn Fawr (Llewelyn the Great). With the final conquest of Wales by Edward I, and the death of Llewelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales in 1283, Wales was ruled by the English.
The Visitor Centre at the Old Stables opposite the Royal Oak Hotel and has craft units and a spectacular helicopter video presentation to the summit of Snowdon. Other interesting things in the area of Betws Y Coed are:
- Swallow Falls is where the Llugwy River hurls itself into a spectacular chasm.
- The Miner’s Bridge, on the road to Capel Curig, where the miners crossed the river on a steep ladder to their work.
- Pont-y-Pair Bridge (Bridge Of The Cauldron), built in 1468
- Conwy Falls off the road to Pentrefoelas
- Fairy Glen – Seeped in legend and beauty.
- Beaver Pool – Seeped in legend and beauty
- The Cromlech in the hills at Capel Garmon. A 5,000-year-old Neolithic burial chamber.