Amis Reunis stone boat on the Quayside in front of the Hotel Portmeirion
20 August 2014
SH 59051 37200; 52.91367°N, 4.09760°W
Aber Iâ was a modest estate on the Penrhyndeudraeth peninsula, on Traeth Bach, the tidal estuary of the rivers Afon Glaslyn and Aber Dwyryd, 2 miles south east of Porthmadog. Its Victorian country house was built around 1840.
The estate was purchased in 1925 by architect Clough Williams-Ellis (1883 – 1978) from his uncle Sir Arthur Osmond Williams. Williams-Ellis renamed the site Portmeirion and embarked upon what was to become a 50-year project to create a compact coastal resort village 5 miles south west of his Plas Brondanw family home. The former Aber Iâ mansion was renovated and opened as a hotel in 1926. Development of the village, inspired by the Italian riviera, took place in two phases: from 1925 to 1939 and then from 1954 to 1976. 28 hectares of forest, known as Y Gwyllt, around the village were purchased in 1940.
Made famous by the 1967 Patrick McGoohan cult television series The Prisoner, Portmeirion is owned by the Clough Williams-Ellis Foundation charity and its cottages, which are all Grade II listed buildings, serve as hotel and self-catering accommodation. The village itself is also open to the public for day visits.
Portmeirion Village (Official Site)
View from the Dome Gallery
Petrol pump figurehead
On a forest path in Y Gwyllt
Wishing tree. In 2007 a tree was felled to widen a path in Y Gwyllt forest. Within months its stump had, to the bemusement of Portmeirion’s staff, become encrusted with coins. Since then various other tree trunks on the estate have also become wishing trees. The tradition, dating back in Britain to the 18th century, is based on a superstition that by hammering coins with a rock into a tree people would be cured of any illness they were suffering.
Bridge to Temple
Archway, central Piazza
Hercules (1850) by Scottish sculptor William Brodie (1815 – 1881). Brodie is probably best known for his statue in Edinburgh Greyfriar’s Bobby.
The Campanile, built in 1928 from stone from the ruins of a 12th century castle in the grounds of the estate. The castle had been demolished around 1869 by Sir William Fothergill Cook for fear that it might have drawn visitors to the site.
Hotel Portmeirion, Quayside and Observatory Tower on the Afon Dwyryd estuary. The converted former Aber Iâ mansion opened as the hotel in 1926. Badly damaged by fire in 1981, it was subsequently restored and reopened in 1988.
Traeth Bach – sandbars in the estuaries of the rivers Afon Dwyryd and Afon Glaslyn