Aira Force

Aira Force

Date

24 August 2019

Location

Aira Force, Aira Beck, Cumbria
NY 39949 20524; 54.57632°N, 2.93049°W

Information

Aira Force is a 21-metre-high waterfall on the river Aira Beck, which flows into Ullswater. It is one of the most visited waterfalls in the Lake District and is situated within Gowbarrow Park, 300 hectares of grounds purchased in 1906 by the National Trust. The grounds were landscaped and an arboretum planted in the 18th century by the Howard family of Greystoke Castle, which is located some 7 miles to the north.

Further Reading

Aira Force and Ullswater (National Trust)

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Pont-y-Pair Falls, Betws-y-Coed

Pont-y-Pair Falls on the  Afon Llugwy, Betws-y-Coed

Pont-y-Pair Falls on the Afon Llugwy, Betws-y-Coed

Date

18 January 2015
Location

Pont-y-Pair, Betws-y-Coed

SH 79164 56733; 53.09407°N, 3.80597°W

Information

Just before the Llugwy joins its streams with the Conway, there is a remarkable bridge called Pont y Pair,* thrown across the former river in several arches, strongly based upon the solid rocks. These natural piers, high and precipitous, overhang the dashing waters which break over the craggy ledges, on the points of which the bridge is so boldly and curiously constructed. In the wintry or stormy months, the meeting and conflict of this flood of waters displays at once the most fearful and fantastic images to the eye. The falls and thunder of the torrents are truly awful; nor are the extraordinary contrasts and combinations of the surrounding scenery less in unison with the romantic character of the spot. The steep indented cliffs, grey and worn, fantastically clothed with wood, and white dwellings dotting the hill-side, exhibit, blended into one, the mingled charm of the terrific and the beautiful.

* In its passage through the village the river Llugwy meets with such obstruction amongst the rocks, that it becomes so shockingly infuriated in the conflict, as to have the appearance of a boiling caldron, from which circumstance, the bridge over it takes the name of Pont y Pair, the Caldron Bridge.

— Thomas Roscoe, Wanderings and Excursions in North Wales, 1836

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Near Bettws y Coed is also Pont y Pair, a most singular bridge, flung over the Llugwy, consisting of four arches, placed on the rude rocks, which form most durable piers. These rocks are precipitous, and in high floods exhibit to the passenger most awful cataracts below the bridge. The scenery beyond, of rocky mountains, fringed with woods, is very striking.

— Joseph Hemingway, Panorama of the beauties, curiosities, and antiquities of North Wales, exhibited in its Mountains, Vallies, Waterfalls, Lakes, Cities and Towns, Castles and Ruins, etc. Intended as a Pocket Companion to the Tourist and Traveller, 1839

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Pont-y-Pair (Bridge of the Cauldron) on the Afon Llugwy in Betws-y-Coed was built in the 15th century and was later enlarged. Originally used for pack horses it was also later used for a time by coaches on the London-to-Holyhead Irish mail route until Telford’s A5 road opened through the town.

Further Reading

Betws-y-Coed;
Pont-y-Pair Rock Cannon;
The Falls at Pont-y-Pair, 1803 painting by English artist Joshua Cristall (1767-1847)

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Coed Felinrhyd

Afon Prysor, above Rhaeadr Du waterfall

Afon Prysor, above Rhaeadr Du waterfall

Date

15 November 2014
Location

Coed Felinrhyd, Maentwrog
Rhaeadr Du
Ivy Bridge


SH 66665 38769; 52.92971°N, 3.98507°W
SH 65416 39431; 52.93535°N, 4.00391°W

Information

Coed Felinrhyd is a 90-hectare wood in the care of Coed Cadw (the Woodland Trust) and is located to the south and west of the Ceunant Llennyrch gorge of the Afon Prysor near Maentwrog. This ‘temperate rainforest’ is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is host to a wide range of rare lichens. The habitat had, however, been damaged by the dense planting in 1969 of non-native conifers and by later Rhododendron invasion. Coed Felinrhyd was one of 58 locations in the Meirionnydd Oakwoods Project – a £2.2m scheme, managed by Coed Cadw in conjunction with the former Forestry Commission Wales and the former Countryside Council for Wales, for the restoration and conservation of ancient woodlands. Ongoing restoration to a more open woodland has involved thinning of the conifers, eradication of the Rhododendron, and selective grazing by sheep to control the undergrowth.

Coed Felinrhyd is a place that figures in the Mabinogion – a collection of ancient Welsh mythological tales. It was the site of a mortal single combat that determined the outcome of a war between north and south. Gwydion, trickster, magician, and nephew of the king of Gwynedd, plotted to start a war as a distraction in one his schemes and he provoked Pryderi, king of Dyfed, into invading the north. The forces from Dyfed, however, suffered great losses in three battles, and Pryderi therefore agreed to settle the matter in a fight to the death. This was, however, to prove his undoing, as he was slain by Gwydion and, so the legend goes, his body was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in the woods.

Further Reading

Coed Felinrhyd (The Woodland Trust)

 

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Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls

Date

29 June 2013
Location

Betws-y-coed

SH 76486 57740; 53.10250°N, 3.84632°W

Information

The Swallow Falls (Rhaeadr Ewynnol) on the Afon Llugwy are situated in the Gwydyr Forest about 1.5 miles west of the town of Betws-y-Coed. In order to pay off its debts, the local council started charging for admission to the falls in 1913 after the second Lord Ancaster donated the attraction to the town. Turnstile receipts continued to subsidise local rates until the reorganisation of local government in 1974. The current admission charge is £1.50.

 

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The Grey Mare’s Tail, Gwydyr Forest

The Grey Mare's Tail

Date

15 October 2011
Location

Gwydyr Forest

SH 78965 61057; 53.13287°N, 3.81056°W

Information

The falls, with a twin cascade, are located in Coed Felin Blwm (Lead Mill Wood) on the edge of Gwydyr Forest about a mile from the town of Llanrwst in the Conwy valley.

Grey Mare’s Tail, Llanrwst (Wikipedia)

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