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Coordinates: 52°55′35″N 4°07′57″W / 52.926525°N 4.132553°W / 52.926525; -4.132553

Porthmadog - Harbour.JPG
Porthmadog Harbour was developed to export slate
Porthmadog is located in Wales2

 Porthmadog shown within Wales
Population 4,187 
OS grid reference SH565385
Community Porthmadog
Principal area Gwynedd
Ceremonial county Gwynedd
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district LL49
Dialling code 01766
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Caernarfon
Welsh Assembly Dwyfor Meirionnydd
List of places: UK • Wales • Gwynedd

Porthmadog (pronounced /ˌpɔrθˈmædɒɡ/), known locally as Port,[1] is a small coastal town and community in Caernarfonshire, North Wales. It falls under the Eifionydd administrative area of Gwynedd, prior to the Local Government Act 1972 it was in the administrative county of Caernarfonshire. The town lies 5 miles (8 km) east of Criccieth, 11 miles (18 km) south west of Blaenau Ffestiniog, 25 miles (40 km) north of Dolgellau and 20 miles (32 km) south of Caernarfon. It has a population of 4,187.[2]

The town developed in the 19th century as a port exporting slate to England. Since the decline of the slate industry it has become an important shopping centre for the surrounding area and a popular tourist destination. It has easy access to the Snowdonia National Park and is the terminus of the Ffestiniog Railway.[3] In 1987 the National Eisteddfod was held in Porthmadog.[4]

The community includes the nearby villages of Borth-y-Gest, Morfa Bychan and Tremadog.[5]



The origin of the name Porthmadog is unclear. The earliest documented references to Port Madoc emerge in the 1830s, coinciding with the opening of the Ffestiniog Railway and the subsequent dramatic growth of the town. The first Ordnance Survey map to use this name was published in 1838.[6]

Some claim that the town is named after its founder William Madocks, while others maintain that the name originates from Ynys Fadog (English: Madog island) in the estuary of the Afon Glaslyn and its famous resident, Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, a prince who allegedly travelled to the Americas 300 years before Christopher Columbus.[1]

The town was officially called Portmadoc until 1974, when it was renamed to the Welsh spelling and pronunciation.[1]


Porthmadog came into existence after William Madocks, in 1811, built a sea wall, the Cob, to reclaim a large proportion of Traeth Mawr from the sea for agricultural use. The diversion of the Afon Glaslyn caused it to scour out a new natural harbour which had a deep enough draught for small ocean-going sailing ships,[7] and the first public wharves were built in 1825. Individual quarry companies followed, building a series of wharves along the shore almost as far as Borth-y-Gest, and slate was carted from Ffestiniog down to the quays along the Afon Dwyryd, then boated to Porthmadog for transfer to sea-going vessels.[8]

In 1811 William Madocks built a sea wall, the Cob to reclaim Traeth Mawr for agriculture.

In the second half of the 19th century Porthmadog was a flourishing port, its population expanding from 885 in 1821 to over 3,000 by 1861. The rapidly expanding cities of England needed high quality roofing slate, which was transported to the new port by tramway from the quarries in Ffestiniog and Llanfrothen.[7] The Ffestiniog Railway opened in 1836, followed by the Croesor Tramway in 1864 and the Gorseddau Tramway in 1856, and by 1873 over 116,000 tons (117,800 t) were exported through Porthmadog in more than a thousand ships.[9]

A number of shipbuilders were active at this time, and were particularly well-known for the three-masted schooners known as Western Ocean Yachts, the last of which was built in 1913.[7]

By 1841 the trackway across the reclaimed land had been straightened out and was to be developed as Stryd Fawr, the main commercial street of the town. Along this street were a range of shops and public houses and a post office, with the open green retained. A mineral railway to Tremadog ran along what was to become Heol Madog. To the north was an industrial area where foundries, timber saw mills, slate works, a flour mill, soda-pop plant and gasworks were constructed.[8]

Porthmadog's role as a commercial port, already reduced by the opening of the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway in 1867, was effectively ended by the First World War, when the lucrative German market for slate disappeared. The 19th century wharves still survive, but the slate warehouses have been replaced by holiday apartments, and the harbour is used by leisure yachts.[7]


Ynyscynhaiarn was a civil parish in the cantref of Eifionydd. In 1858 a local board of health was established under the provisions of the Public Health Act 1848,[10] which from 1889 formed a second tier of local government in Caernarfonshire. Under the Local Government Act 1894 the local board became an urban district, which by 1902 had changed its name to Portmadoc.[11] In 1934 part of the area was transferred to Dolbenmaen, whilst a smaller area was taken in from Treflys, which had been abolished.[12] Porthmadog Urban District was abolished in 1974, the town becoming part of Dwyfor District in the new county of Gwynedd, though it retained limited powers as a community. Dwyfor itself was abolished when Gwynedd became a unitary authority in 1996.[13]

Dafydd Elis-Thomas is the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales. He has represented Porthmadog since 2007.

The town now forms three electoral divisions of Cyngor Gwynedd, each electing one councillor. In 2008 Ieuan Roberts, representing Plaid Cymru, was elected in Porthmadog East,[14] whilst Selwyn Griffiths, also of Plaid Cymru, retained his seat in Porthmadog West.[15] Tremadog is included in the Porthmadog-Tremadog division, which also includes Beddgelert and part of Dolbenmaen.[16] In 2008 Alwyn Gruffydd, for Llais Gwynedd, won the seat.[17]

Porthmadog Town Council has 16 elected members. In the 2008 elections 12 councillors were elected unopposed: seven Independents, four for Plaid Cymru and one representing Llais Gwynedd. There were four unfilled seats. The town is divided into six wards: Gest, Morfa Bychan, Porthmadog East, Porthmadog West, Tremadog and Ynys Galch.[18][19]

Since 1950 Porthmadog has been part of Caernarfon parliamentary constituency, and has been represented by Hywel Williams of Plaid Cymru since 2001.[20] In the National Assembly for Wales it has since 2007 formed part of Dwyfor-Meirionnydd constituency, represented by Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Presiding Officer of the assembly, and also from Plaid Cymru.[21] The constituency forms part of the electoral region of Mid and West Wales.[22]


Average Temperatures and Precipitation[23]
Month Average high Average low Average precipitation
January 8.0°C 3.0°C 8.38 cm
February 8.0°C 3.0°C 5.59 cm
March 9.0°C 4.0°C 6.60 cm
April 11.0°C 5.0°C 5.33 cm
May 14.0°C 8.0°C 4.83 cm
June 17.0°C 10.0°C 5.33 cm
July 18.0°C 12.0°C 5.33 cm
August 19.0°C 12.0°C 7.37 cm
September 17.0°C 11.0°C 7.37 cm
October 14.0°C 9.0°C 9.14 cm
November 11.0°C 6.0°C 9.91 cm
December 9.0°C 4.0°C 9.40 cm

Porthmadog is located in Eifionydd on the estuary of the Afon Glaslyn where it runs into Tremadog Bay. The estuary, filled with sediment which was deposited by rivers emptying from the melting glaciers at the end of the last ice age,[24] is a haven for migrating birds. Oystercatchers, redshanks and curlews are common and, in summer, there are flocks of sandwich terns.[25] To the west looms Moel-y-Gest, which rises 860 feet (260 m) above the town.[3]

The town has a temperate maritime climate which is influenced by the Gulf Stream.


At the 2001 Census, Porthmadog had a population of 4,187,[26] of which 18.2 percent were below the age of 16, whilst 23.6 percent were over 65 years of age. 69.5 percent of households were owner occupied and 24.6 percent were in rented accommodation. Holiday homes accounted for 12.5 percent of dwellings.[27]

Population Growth[28][29][30][31][32]
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881
Population 525 889 885 1,075 1,888 2,347 3,138 4,367 5,506
Year 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 2001
Population 5,224 4,883 4,445 4,184 3,986 4,618 4,061 3,960 4,187


At the 2001 Census 44.3 percent of the population were in employment, with 11.5 percent self employed. The unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent, whilst the proportion retired accounted for 20.4 percent of the inhabitants. Of those employed, 33.0 percent worked in the distribution, hotel and catering trades, with 23.5 percent in public administration, education and health.[27]

The Ffestiniog Railway, opened in 1836, was built to transport slate from Ffestiniog to the new port at Porthmadog.

Porthmadog expanded rapidly as a slate exporting port. Welsh slate was in high demand as a construction material in the English industrial cities, and was transported to the new port by horse drawn tramways. The Ffestiniog Railway, opened in 1836, was later converted to steam operation, and trains ran straight onto the wharves. By 1873 116,000 tons (117,800 t) of slate were being shipped out of Porthmadog, and other trade was being developed. The Carnarvonshire and Merionethshire Steamship Company had been formed in 1864 and purchased the Rebecca to carry stores from Liverpool to supply the growing town.[33] The First World War marked the end of Porthmadog's export trade. No new ships were built, several were sunk by enemy action, and most of the surviving fleet was sold. By 1925 less than five percent of Ffestiniog's slate output went out by sea, and the Ffestiniog Railway went into decline. The final load of slate, delivered by rail, left by sea from Porthmadog in 1946 and two months later the railway ceased commercial operations.[34]

Before the construction of the Cob in 1812, ships had been built at a number of locations around Traeth Mawr. As the town developed, a number of the shipbuilders from the Meirionnydd side moved to the new port, building brigs, schooners, barquentines and brigantines. After the arrival of the railway there was a reduction in trade, but a new type of ship, the Western Ocean Yacht, was developed for the salt cod industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. Shipbuilding came to an end in 1913, the last vessel to be built being the Gestiana, which was lost on its maiden voyage.[34]

In the 19th century Porthmadog had at least three iron foundries. The Glaslyn Foundry was opened in 1848, and the Union Iron Works in 1869. The Britannia Foundry, opposite Porthmadog Harbour Railway Station, was established in 1851 and grew rapidly as the town's prosperity increased. The business produced slate working machinery and railway equipment, supplying goods to all but one of the slate quarries operating in England and Wales. A lucrative sideline was the production of large numbers of drains and manhole covers for Caernarfonshire's roads.[35]


The Cob is a substantial embankment built across the Glaslyn estuary in 1811 by William Madocks to reclaim land at Traeth Mawr for agriculture. The opening was marked by a four day feast and Eisteddfod celebrating the roadway connecting Caernarfonshire to Meirionnydd and which figured in Madocks's plans for a road from London to his proposed port at Porthdinllaen. Three weeks later, however, the embankment was breached by high tides and Madocks's supporters were forced to drum up money and men from all around Caernarfonshire to repair the breach and strengthen the whole embankment. By 1814 it was open again, but Madocks's finances were in ruins.[36] By 1836 the Ffestiniog Railway had opened its line across the embankment and it was to become the main route for Ffestiniog slate to reach the new port at Porthmadog.[37] In 1927 the Cob was breached again, and took several months to repair.[7]

In 1836 the Ffestiniog Railway opened its line across the Cob.

The former tollhouse at the north western end of the Cob has slate-clad walls and is one of the few buildings which preserves the interlocking slate ridge-tiles devised by Moses Kellow, manager of Croesor Quarry.[37] The toll was abolished in 2003 when the Welsh Assembly Government bought the Cob.[38]

Pen Cei, to the west of the harbour was the centre of the harbour's commercial activities. Boats were built and repaired and there were slate wharves for each quarry company, with tracks connecting to the railway. Bron Guallt, built in 1895, was the Oakeley Quarry shipping agent's house.[39] Grisiau Mawr (English: Big Steps), connected the quay to Garth and the houses built to house the ship owners and sea captains,[40] and it was here that the School of Navigation was built.[8]

Melin Yr Wyddfa (English: Snowdon Mill) on Heol Y Wyddfa is a former flour mill built in 1862, which has been renovated and converted into luxury apartments.[40]

Kerfoots, located in a Victorian building on Stryd Fawr, is a small department store established in 1874 and contains a unique spiral staircase, chandeliers and slender cast iron columns which support the upper floors. The Millenium Dome, constructed by local craftsmen in 1999 to celebrate the store's 125th anniversary, is made of stained glass and depicts scenes from Porthmadog in 1874.[7]

The Royal Sportsman Hotel (Welsh: Gwesty'r Heliwr) on Stryd Fawr was built in 1862 to be a staging post on the turnpike road to Porthdinllaen. The arrival of the railway five years later brought increasing numbers of tourists, and the hotel soon became famous for its liveried carriage and horses, which transported guests to local sightseeing spots. The building was constructed using Ffestiniog slate, and the original stone and slate fireplaces are still in position.[41]

The War Memorial stands on top of Ynys Galch, one of the former islands reclaimed from Traeth Mawr.[42] In the form of a Celtic cross and standing 16 feet (4.9 m) high, it was fashioned from Trefor granite and unveiled "in memory of ninety-seven fallen war heroes of Madoc Vale" in 1922.[43]

On Moel-y-Gest is an iron age stone walled hillfort.[44]


Borth-y-Gest, 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Porthmadog, is a village built in a shallow bowl which sweeps down to a sheltered bay, with hidden sandy coves and cliffs. Ships were built here before Porthmadog was established and houses, still known as pilot houses, were built at the mouth of the harbour so that pilots could keep a watch for ships needing them.[40] The village is formed by rows of Victorian houses and has retained much of its atmosphere and charm. Stryd Mersey leads up from the bay and is flanked by terraced cottages.[25]

Before Porthmadog was developed, this was the starting point of a major crossing over the wide and dangerous Glaslyn estuary, and locals earned money by guiding travellers across the treacherous sands of Traeth Mawr to Harlech.[45]

Parc y Borth is a local nature reserve set in deciduous woodland dominated by ancient Welsh oaks. Green woodpeckers, tawny owls and pied flycatchers can be seen among the branches.[46]

On the shore is another nature reserve, Pen y Banc, which is a mixture of coastal rocks, secluded sandy coves and mixed woodland. Established in 1996, it is a good spot to see wading birds, and the beaches attract large numbers of visitors. The mild climate results in a wide variety of vegetation, from gorse and heather through to blackthorn, crab apple, and birch.[47]

Morfa Bychan

Morfa Bychan is 2.1 miles (3.4 km) south west of Porthmadog. It has a popular wide sandy beach, Black Rock Sands (Welsh: Traeth Morfa Bychan),[48] with Graig Ddu, a rocky headland, at its western end. At low tide, rock pools and caverns are exposed.[49] The beach is popular with windsurfers,[50] and is unusual in allowing vehicles to be driven onto the sands.[51]

Sand dunes lie behind the beach, forming part of Morfa Bychan and Greenacres Nature Reserve.[52] Standing in a field is Cist Cerrig, a dolmen,[53] near which are rocks containing cup marks.[54]

In 1996 there were large protests, backed by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, against the building of 800 houses at Morfa Bychan.[55] These followed a High Court decision that planning permission granted in 1964 remained valid. The owners of the site later entered a legal agreement with Cyngor Gwynedd which allowed a caravan site and nature reserve to be constructed on part of the site and ensured that the 1964 permission could no longer be implemented. The council also settled a compensation claim by the developers for the way the matter had been handled.[56]


Tremadog is a planned settlement built by William Madocks on land reclaimed from Traeth Mawr.

Tremadog, an exceptional example of a planned settlement, is 0.9 miles (1.4 km) north of Porthmadog. The village was built on land reclaimed from Traeth Mawr by William Madocks. In 1805 the first cottages were built in what Madocks called Pentre Gwaelod English: Bottom village), which was designed to create the impression of a borough, with the Town Hall and Dancing Room at its centre. Industry was also included in the plan, with the Manufactory, the Loomery, a fulling mill and a corn mill, all worked by water power.[36]

To the north of the village is Tan-yr-Allt, the property bought by Madocks in 1798 and transformed by him into the first Regency house in Gwynedd. The garden, on a steeply sloping site, consists mainly of lawns planted with trees and shrubs and contains a memorial to Percy Bysshe Shelley.[57]


Porthmadog lies on the A487, the Fishguard to Bangor trunk road. The A498 runs north from Porthmadog to Beddgelert, giving access to Snowdonia. The A497 runs west through the southern Llŷn Peninsula to Criccieth and Pwllheli. In 2008 the Welsh Assembly Government published plans for the Porthmadog, Minffordd and Tremadog Bypass, which would reduce the amount of through traffic in the town.[58]

Porthmadog Harbour Railway Station is to be the southern terminus of the rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway.

The town is served by three railway stations. Porthmadog Railway Station is on the Cambrian Coast Line between Pwllheli and Machynlleth. Trains, operated by Arriva Trains Wales, run through to Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.[59]

Porthmadog Harbour Railway Station at the southern end of the Stryd Fawr is the terminus of the Ffestiniog Railway from Blaenau Ffestiniog.[60] From 2010 it will also form the southern terminus of the rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon.[61][62]

The Ffestiniog Railway is now a popular tourist attraction, carrying visitors through mountain scenery to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway has its main station and visitor centre near the northern end of Stryd Fawr on the former Cambrian Railways sidings close to the main line station. From here trains run to Pen-y-Mount.[63]

Buses are operated by Arriva Buses Wales, Berwyn Coaches, Caelloi Motors, Express Motors and Williams Porthmadog serving Aberystwyth, Bangor, Beddgelert, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarfon, Criccieth, Dolgellau, Machynlleth, Morfa Bychan, Penrhyndeudraeth, Pen-y-Pass, Portmeirion, Pwllheli, Rhyd and Tremadog.[64] National Express Coaches has a service from Pwllheli to Birmingham and London.[65]


Primary education is provided at three local schools. Ysgol Eifion Wyn on Stryd Fawr, named after the bardic name of local poet Eliseus Williams, has 204 pupils.[66] It is a bilingual school which moved into a new building in 2003. There are units for children with special educational needs and for those with language difficulties. At the last school inspection by Estyn in 2004 nine percent of pupils were entitled to free school meals and 72 percent came from homes where Welsh was the main spoken language.[67]

Ysgol Borth-y-Gest on Stryd Mersey in Borth-y-Gest is the smallest of the local schools with 70 pupils.[66] In 2009 Cyngor Gwynedd adopted a report, Excellent Primary Education For Children In Gwynedd, which sets out the future for primary schools in the county.[68] The future of the school, built in 1880, had previously been put in doubt.[69][70] In 2006, at the last inspection by Estyn, three percent of pupils were entitled to free school meals and 20 percent came from homes where Welsh was the main spoken language.[71]

Ysgol y Gorlan in Tremadog has 122 pupils.[66] When Estyn last inspected the school in 2008, ten percent of pupils were entitled to free school meals and around 50 percent came from homes where Welsh was the main spoken language.[72]

Ysgol Eifionydd on Stryd Fawr is a bilingual comprehensive school for ages 11 to 16, which was established circa 1900. It has 484 pupils.[66] In 2006, at the time of the last Estyn inspection, eight percent of pupils were entitled to free school meals and Welsh was the main spoken language in the home for about 50 percent. One percent of pupils were from ethnic minority backgrounds.[73]


Porthmadog is a predominantly Welsh speaking community, 74.9 percent of the population speaking the language.[27] The highest percentage of Welsh speakers is in the 10-14 age range, standing at 96.3 percent. Almost all community activities are held in the Welsh Language. Porthmadog hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1987.[4]

Y Ganolfan on Stryd Fawr, built in 1975, is a venue for concerts, exhibitions and other community events, and has hosted televised wrestling matches.[74]

Porthmadog Maritime Museum on Oakley Wharf is housed in an old slate shed and has displays about the schooners built in the town and the men who sailed in them.[75]

Rob Piercy, a local artist and painter named Welsh Artist of the Year in 2002, and a former art teacher at Ysgol Eifionydd, specialises in the landscapes of Snowdonia. His gallery, established in 1986, is located in a converted warehouse set in a landscaped courtyard off Heol Y Wyddfa and includes a small collection of work by other notable artists.[76]

Three members of hip-hop band Genod Droog were from Porthmadog,[77] whilst Welsh singer Duffy shot her first video Rockferry in the town and Coldplay have filmed a video at Morfa Bychan.[citation needed] In the 1970s, part of William Shakespeare's Macbeth was filmed at Black Rock Sands.[78]

Lawrence of Arabia, renowned for his role in the Arab Revolt of 1916, was born in Tremadog in 1888.

Morfa Bychan, is renowned as the home of David Owen, an 18th century blind harpist and composer. He died at the age of 29 in 1741,[79] and tradition has it that as he lay on his death bed he called for his harp and composed the air Dafydd y Garreg Wen. Words were added nearly 100 years later by the poet John Ceiriog Hughes.[80]

The ashes of the poet Ronald Stuart Thomas are buried in the churchyard of St John's Church on Ffordd Penamser.

Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was born at what is now Lawrence House in Tremadog in 1888. He became an object of fascination throughout the world, renowned for his role in the Arab Revolt of 1916 and for his vivid writings about his experiences.[81]

Percy Bysshe Shelley fled Tremadog after an alleged attempt on his life by a nocturnal intruder.

In order to finance the construction and repairs to the Cob, William Madocks let out his own house in Tremadog. His first tenant was the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who antagonised locals by criticising their production of sheep for consumption, and by running up debts with local merchants. He made a hasty departure after an alleged attempt on his life by a nocturnal intruder, without paying his rent or contributing to the fund established to support Madocks.[36] Whilst staying in Tremadog he wrote Queen Mab.[57]

Local vicar Aled Jones Williams has caused his own fair share of controversy. Writing mainly in Welsh, he has produced plays dealing with the cultural divide between the English and Welsh, incest and domestic violence. In 2008 he turned his attention to religious fundamentalists with Iesu!, the story of a female Jesus who comes back to the modern world and hates what she sees. The play received its premiere at the National Eisteddfod, staged by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.[82][83]


Porthmadog Football Club, founded in 1884, is one of the oldest clubs in Wales.

Porthmadog Football Club was founded in 1884, and is one of the oldest in Wales. Matches are played at Y Traeth. The club won the North Wales League in 1902/03 and reached the final of the Welsh Amateur Cup in 1905/06. They again won the league championship in 1937/38, and were Welsh Amateur Cup winners in 1955/56 and 1956/57. They were league champions for three successive seasons between 1966 and 1969, and in the 1970s were twice champions. In 1989/90 they topped the Welsh Alliance League and secured a place in the newly formed Cymru Alliance. The club became an inaugural member of the League of Wales in 1992, in the first season finishing ninth. The following year Porthmadog striker Dave Taylor was the highest scoring player in Europe. They nearly folded in 1995/96 due to serious financial trouble, and lost their place in the League of Wales in 1998. The club played the following year in the Cymru Alliance, winning the League Cup, but it wasn't until 2002/03, with a 19 point lead over their nearest rivals, that they won promotion again to the Welsh Premier League.[84] The club was heavily fined and had points deducted by the Football Association of Wales in 2007 after a referee was racially abused by a supporter but, following an appeal to an independent tribunal, the fine was substantially reduced and the points reinstated.[85] In the 2008/09 season Porthmadog narrowly avoided relegation, finishing sixteenth.[86]

Clwb Rygbi Porthmadog, based at Clwb Chwaraeon Madog, play rugby union, competing in the Gwynedd League organised by the North Wales Rugby Council.[87]

Porthmadog Golf Club at Morfa Bychan opened in 1906 on land rented from a local farmer. The original tenancy agreement stipulated that golfers must not take any game, hares, rabbits or wildfowl and must pay compensation for any sheep or cattle killed or injured by them. The landlord agreed not to turn on to the land any bull or savage cattle.[88] Created by James Braid, five times winner of the British Open, the course is a mixture of heath and links. The first nine holes head inland over heathland, whilst the final nine, heading back towards the sea, are pure links. The fourteenth hole, known as The Himalayas, is a 378 yards (346 m) par 4 with a huge natural bunker hiding the green from the tee.[89]

Porthmadog Harbour is home to both Porthmadog Sailing Club and Madoc Yacht Club.

Porthmadog Sailing Club was formed in 1958, initially operating from a marquee in a field. In 1964 the club amalgamated with Trawsfynydd Sailing Club and a clubhouse was built. Weekend dinghy racing is organised and facilities are also provided for cruisers.[90]

Madoc Yacht Club, founded in 1970, is based in the former Harbourmaster's Office and has an extensive cruising and racing programme, including two races to Ireland. In 2001 a Celtic Longboat was purchased and a sea rowing section formed.[91]

Glaslyn Leisure Centre on Stryd y Llan includes a 25m swimming pool and sports hall. Badminton, squash and tennis courts are provided, and there is also a sauna, five-a-side football pitch and dance studio.[92]

Sea angling is popular in the coastal villages. At Borth-y-Gest, flounders, bass, mullet, whiting and mackerel can all be caught,[93] whilst Morfa Bychan produces bass, flounders, eels, whiting and the occasional turbot.[94] Bass, flounders and huge numbers of whiting are found at Black Rock Sands, along with thornback ray, mackerel and garfish.[95] Bass, flatfish, eels and some very large mullet can be caught in Porthmadog Harbour, right in the heart of the town, though care must be taken to avoid taking the poisonous lesser weever.[96]

Glaslyn Angling Association controls the fishing rights on virtually the whole length of the Afon Glaslyn up to Beddgelert. The river mainly produces sea trout, though salmon and brown trout can also be caught.[97] Although the river has suffered in the past from acid rain and forestation, there has been a vast improvement in water quality in recent years.[98][99] Glan Morfa Mawr Trout Fishery at Morfa Bychan is well stocked with rainbow trout[100]

Lôn Las Cymru, a 250 miles (400 km) cycle route, passes through Porthmadog on its way from Holyhead to Cardiff.

A cycle route now crosses the Cob, forming part of Lôn Las Cymru, the Welsh national cycle route. The route, from Holyhead in the north to either Cardiff or Chepstow in the south, is 250 miles (400 km) long and crosses three distinct mountain ranges.[101]

Tremadog has good quality rock climbing which attracts climbers from all over the United Kingdom, the dolerite cliffs being often dry when it is too wet to climb in the mountains of Snowdonia.[102] Craig Bwlch y Moch is considered one of the best crags in Wales.[103]

A fell race, on the slopes of Moel y Gest, known as "Râs Moel y Gest", is held each year, starting in the town.[104][105]

Bathing is popular at Black Rock Sands, which has an extensive sandy beach. The water quality prediction is "excellent".[106][107] Borth-y-Gest has a sand and pebble beach where bathing is safe close inshore, but there are fast currents further out.[108]


  1. ^ a b c British Broadcasting Corporation : What's in a Name : Porthmadog
  2. ^ Census 2001
  3. ^ a b Porthmadog : Gateway to Snowdonia
  4. ^ a b Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru : Eisteddfod Locations
  5. ^ Ordnance Survey : Election Maps : Gwynedd
  6. ^ "Archif Melville Richards". 
  7. ^ a b c d e f John Dobson and Roy Woods, Ffestiniog Railway Traveller's Guide, Festiniog Railway Company, Porthmadog, 2004
  8. ^ a b c Gwynedd Archaelogical Trust : Porthmadog : Historic Background
  9. ^ Porthmadog : Gateway to Snowdonia : Heritage
  10. ^ London Gazette: no. 22092, pp. 550–551, 4 February 1858.
  11. ^ London Gazette: no. 27394, pp. 127–128, 6 January 1902.
  12. ^ A Vision of Britain Through Time : Porthmadog Urban District
  13. ^ Office of Public Sector Information : Local Government Act 1972 : Revised : Schedule 4
  14. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Council Elections : Porthmadog East
  15. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Council Elections : Porthmadog West
  16. ^ National Assembly for Wales : The County of Gwynedd (Electoral Changes) Order 2002
  17. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Council Elections : Porthmadog-Tremadog
  18. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Community Council Election : 1 May 2008
  19. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Statement of Persons Nominated : 1 May 2008
  20. ^ The Guardian : Caernarfon
  21. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation : Welsh Assembly Election 2007 : Dwyfor-Meirionnydd
  22. ^ Boundary Commission for Wales : Final Recommendations for the National Assembly for Wales Electoral Regions
  23. ^ The Weather Channel : Porthmadog Weather
  24. ^ The Roadside Geology of Wales : The Llŷn Peninsula
  25. ^ a b Snowdonia : Borth-y-Gest
  26. ^ Census 2001 : Parish Profile : People : Porthmadog
  27. ^ a b c Snowdonia National Park Authority : Community Area Data : Porthmadog
  28. ^ A Vision of Britain Through Time : Total Population : Ynyscynhaiarn Civil Parish
  29. ^ A Vision of Britain Through Time : Total Population : Ynyscynhaiarn Urban District
  30. ^ A Vision of Britain Through Time : Total Population : Porthmadog Urban District
  31. ^ A Vision of Britain Through Time : Gazetteer Entries : Ynyscynhaiarn Civil Parish
  32. ^ University of Essex : Online Historical Population Reports
  33. ^ Archives Wales : Caernarfon Record Office : Porthmadog Harbour Records
  34. ^ a b Gwynedd Ships : Porthmadog : The Port and the Ships
  35. ^ The Industrial Railway Record : The Britannia Foundry
  36. ^ a b c Cyfeillion Cadw Tremadog : A Brief History of Tremadog
  37. ^ a b Gwynedd Archaelogical Trust : The Vale of Ffestiniog
  38. ^ Welsh Assembly Government : Assembly Abolishes Toll on Porthmadog Cob
  39. ^ Gwynedd Archaelogical Trust : Porthmadog Harbour
  40. ^ a b c Porthmadog : Gateway to Snowdonia : Places to Visit
  41. ^ Royal Sportsman Hotel
  42. ^ Geograph : War Memorial
  43. ^ Welsh Stone Forum : Newsletter : Number 5 : February 2008
  44. ^ Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales : Moel-y-Gest Hillfort
  45. ^ North Wales : Borth-y-Gest
  46. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Parc y Borth Local Nature Reserve
  47. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Pen y Banc Local Nature Reserve
  48. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Beach Guide
  49. ^ Wales Directory : Morfa Bychan
  50. ^ UK Windsurfers Online Community : Black Rock Sands
  51. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Morfa Bychan Beach Entry and Machroes Parking
  52. ^ North Wales Wildlife Trust : Morfa Bychan and Greenacres
  53. ^ The Megalithic Portal : Cist Cerrig
  54. ^ Peter Fenn, George Nash and Laurie Waite : Cist Cerrig: A Reassessment of a Ritual Landscape : Proceedings of the Clifton Antiquarian Club : Volume 8 : pp 135-137 : 2007
  55. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation : Remember 1996 (in Welsh)
  56. ^ News Wales : 25 Year Legal Case Ends as Welsh Council Pay £1.9 million
  57. ^ a b Gwynedd Archaelogical Trust : Tan-yr-Allt
  58. ^ Welsh Assembly Government : A487 Porthmadog, Minffordd and Tremadog Bypass
  59. ^ Arriva Trains Wales : Cambrian Lines
  60. ^ Ffestiniog Railway
  61. ^ Project Rheilffordd Eryri : Dates for the Diary
  62. ^ Welsh Highland Railway
  63. ^ Welsh Highland Heritage Railway
  64. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Bus Services
  65. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Bus Services : Pwllheli-London
  66. ^ a b c d Cyngor Gwynedd : List of Schools
  67. ^ Estyn : Inspection under Section 10 of the Schools Inspections Act 1996 : Ysgol Eifion Wyn
  68. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Excellent Primary Education For Children In Gwynedd
  69. ^ Daily Post : They've Just Spent £30k - Now They Want It Shut : 24 November 2007
  70. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Reorganisation of Primary Schools in Gwynedd for the Educational Benefits of all our Children
  71. ^ Estyn : Inspection under Section 10 of the Schools Inspections Act 1996 : Ysgol Borth-y-Gest
  72. ^ Estyn : Inspection under Section 28 of the Education Act 2005 : Ysgol y Gorlan
  73. ^ Estyn : Inspection under Section 28 of the Schools Inspection Act 1996 : Ysgol Eifionydd
  74. ^ Y Ganolfan : About Us
  75. ^ Gwefan Tremadog : Porthmadog Maritime Museum
  76. ^ Rob Piercy Gallery
  77. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation : Genod Droog
  78. ^ Internet Movie Database : Movie Locations
  79. ^ Welsh Biography Online : David Owen
  80. ^ Project Gutenberg : John Ceiriog Hughes
  81. ^ Snowdon Lodge : T E Lawrence
  82. ^ Metro : Thoughtful Iesu! Offers A Fresh Take on the Messiah Tale
  83. ^ Daily Post : Porthmadog Priest Portrays Jesus as a Woman
  84. ^ Porthmadog Football Club : History
  85. ^ Porthmadog Football Club : News
  86. ^ Porthmadog Football Club : The Table
  87. ^ Clwb Rygbi Porthmadog : Croeso
  88. ^ Porthmadog Golf Club : History
  89. ^ Porthmadog Golf Club
  90. ^ Porthmadog Sailing Club : Club History
  91. ^ Madoc Yacht Club : About Us
  92. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Glaslyn Leisure Centre
  93. ^ World Sea Fishing : Borth-y-Gest
  94. ^ World Sea Fishing : Morfa Bychan
  95. ^ World Sea Fishing : Black Rock Sands
  96. ^ Angling Wales : Porthmadog Estuary
  97. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd : Glaslyn Angling Association
  98. ^ Fishing Wales : River Glaslyn
  99. ^ Glaslyn Angling Association
  100. ^ Angling Wales
  101. ^ Visit Wales : Lôn Las Cymru
  102. ^ UK Climbing : Craig Pant Ifan
  103. ^ UK Climbing : Craig Bwlch y Moch
  104. ^ Bro Dysynni Athletics Club : News Report : 28 May 2007
  105. ^ Welsh Fell Runners Association : Tuesday Night Series
  106. ^ Environment Agency : Water Quality Classification Predictions for Bathing Waters in England and Wales under the Revised Bathing Water Directive
  107. ^ Environment Agency : Bathing Water Quality : Craig Du : 2008
  108. ^ Criccieth : What to See : Borth-y-Gest

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Porthmadog [1] is a town in Gwynedd.


Porthmadog is a small coastal town with a picturesque harbor.

Get in

By train

Porthmadog station is on the Cambrian Coast Line which runs from Machynlleth to Pwllheli. Travel to Machynlleth is via Aberystwyth or Shrewsbury.

The town is also served by the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway and Welsh Highland Railway.


The Ffestiniog Railway [[2]] and the Welsh Highland Railway [3] both have their termini in Porthmadog. The Ffestiniog runs through several miles of attractive terrain to Blaenau Ffestiniog. From Blaenau you can either proceed north on the standard gauge Conwy Valley Line to the coast at Llandudno or you can return to Porthmadog. A round trip (Porthmadog - Blaenau - Porthmadog) will take approximately 4 hours (more if you break the journey along the route) and it is therefore an excellent way of occupying a day. The Welsh Highland Railway is expected to fully reopen in 2010 from Porthmadog via Beddgelert to Caernarfon.

  • Cob Records, 1-3 Britannia Terrace, [4]. Shop specialising in bargain second-hand records, tapes, CDs, videos and DVDs. Good Welsh-language sections.  edit


The town has a chinese restaurant, an indian restaurant, a bistro, and various pubs serving food, including one at the station of the Ffestiniog Railway situated at the end of the Cob. The village of Tremadog is about a fifteen minute walk and enjoys four food pubs on its square. There are also numerous take-aways, including Chinese and an award-winning Fish & Chip shop.


The town has a good selection of Bed and Breakfast guest houses and makes a good base for exploring North-West Wales.

  • The Portmeirion village is about two miles away.
  • The Lleyn Peninsula is an easy drive.
  • Snowdonia National Park stretches both North and South from here.
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