ABERDYFI (English: Mouth of the River Dyfi), or ABERDOVEY (the
Anglicised spelling) is a village and community on the north side of
the estuary of the
River Dyfi in
Gwynedd , on the west coast of Wales
The village was founded around the harbour and shipbuilding industry,
but is now best known as a seaside resort with a high quality beach .
The town centre is on the river and seafront, around the original
harbour, jetty and beach but it stretches back from the coast and up
the steep hillside in the midst of typical Welsh coastal scenery of
steep green hills and sheep farms. Penhelig, with its own railway
station, is the eastern part of the town.
Aberdyfi is a popular tourist attraction, with many returning
holidaymakers, especially from the metropolitan areas of
such as the West Midlands , which is less than 100 miles to the east.
A relatively large proportion of houses in the village are now holiday
homes, resulting in high house prices. The town is located within the
Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park . In the 2011 census, 38.5% of the population
Aberdyfi ward identified themselves as Welsh (or combined).
* 1 History
* 2 Governance
* 3 Port and railway
* 3.1 Lifeboat
* 3.2 Worship
* 4 Transport
* 5 Recreation
* 6 Cultural References
* 6.1 The Bells of Aberdovey
* 7 Notable people associated with
* 8 References
* 9 External links
Aberdyfi from across the river.
Local tradition suggests that the Romans established a track into
Aberdyfi as part of the military occupation of
Wales around AD78.
The strategic location in mid-
Wales was the site of several
conferences between north and south
Wales princes in 540, 1140, and
for the Council of
Aberdyfi in 1216. The hill in the centre of
Aberdyfi, Pen-y-Bryn, has been claimed to be the site of
fortifications in the 1150s, which were soon destroyed. The site of
Aberdyfi Castle however is usually said to be at the motte earthworks
further up the river near
During the Spanish Armada of 1597 , a Spanish ship, the Bear of
Amsterdam missed her objective at
Milford Haven and ended up having
entered the Dyfi estuary. She was unable to leave for 10 days because
of the wind and could not be boarded as no suitable boats were
available. An attempt to burn her was frustrated by winds and when
she did leave she ended up being captured by a waiting English fleet
off the Cornish coast.
In the 1700s, the village grew with the appearance of several of the
inns still in current use (The Dovey Hotel, Britannia and Penhelig
Arms). Copper was mined in the present Copperhill Street, and lead in
Penhelig. Aberdyfi, showing the harbour
An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward stretches inland
along the A494 road and includes
Pennal community. The total
population of the ward taken at the 2011 census was 1,282.
PORT AND RAILWAY
In the 1800s,
Aberdyfi was at its peak as a port. Major exports were
slate and oak bark. Ship building was based in seven shipyards in
Penhelig where 45 sailing ships were built between 1840 and 1880.
The railway came to
Aberdyfi in 1863 built by the
Welsh Coast Railway . The first train was ferried across the River
Dyfi, as the line to
Dovey Junction and then
Machynlleth was not
completed until 1867. Due to public demand, this section had to use a
long tunnel behind Aberdyfi, and further major earthworks and tunnels
were needed along the bank of the river. This line, which became part
Cambrian Railways , and later the
Great Western Railway , is
A jetty was built in 1887, with railway lines connecting it with the
wharf and the main line. The
Aberdyfi "> Crowds on shore at
Aberdyfi watching the regatta circa 1885 A view of Aberdyfi
from Penhelyg Rock circa 1885
Local coastal shipping links with
Liverpool were strong, with many
Aberdyfi men sailing on international voyages from Liverpool. The S.S.
Dora was one of the last ships trading between
Aberdyfi and Liverpool
and was scuttled, with no loss of life, by a German submarine in 1917.
The jetty and wharf continued in commercial use for coal until 1959.
After prolonged negotiations, redevelopments from 1968–1971,
including rebuilding the jetty, led to their present use mainly for
recreational purposes. Some local fishing still occurs.
The first ever
Outward Bound centre was opened in
Aberdyfi in 1941.
Many of their activities involve the river, boats and jetty.
Aberdyfi Lifeboat Station
Aberdyfi lifeboat was bought in 1837. Run by the
1853, it has taken part in many rescues, sadly sometimes with loss of
life of crew members. The current lifeboat, an Atlantic 75, is housed
in the boathouse by the jetty and is launched using a lifeboat
tractor. Currently it is averaging about 25 emergency launches each
Aberdyfi include the Welsh
Calvinistic Methodist chapel,
Presbyterian chapel, the Wesleyan
Methodist chapel, and
the Welsh Independent congregational chapel. The (Anglican) Church in
Wales is St Peter's.
Road access to
Aberdyfi is by the A493, with
Tywyn four miles to the
Machynlleth 11 miles to the east.
Aberdyfi is on the
Cambrian Coast railway line. The village of
Aberdyfi has two railway
stations, Aberdovey and Penhelig . Trains on the Cambrian Line are
operated by Arriva Trains
Wales . The local bus service is operated by
Lloyds Coaches with services to
Tywyn , where a connection can be made
Dolgellau , and to
Machynlleth , where connections are available
A ferry used to operate across the Dyfi river to
Ynyslas . The last
ferryman was Ellis Williams.
Popular recreational activities focus on the beach and watersports ,
such as windsurfing , kitesurfing , fishing , crabbing , sailing , and
canoeing on the estuary.
* Activities in Aberdyfi
A dinghy race in the Dyfi estuary
Kitesurfing on the Dyfi
The beach on a busy Bank Holiday
Yacht Club has a prominent position on the river front of
the village. It was founded in 1949 and helped develop the popularity
GP14 dinghy class. It organises races for dinghies throughout
the season on the estuary of the
River Dyfi .
The Aberdovey Golf Club, founded in 1892, is a famous 18 hole links
course located near the railway station. It is world-renowned, having
been described frequently and lyrically in the press by Bernard Darwin
, the famed golf writer, who was a notable member of the club. In
1895, it was the location of the first Welsh Golfing Union
Championship. Current members include
Ian Woosnam and Peter Baker .
Located by the
Aberdyfi Golf Club is
Aberdyfi Football club boasting
one of the best football pitches in Mid-Wales. The football team won
the Welsh Amateur Cup Competition in 1934.
Aberdyfi Rowing Club rows in the Dyfi
Estuary and Cardigan Bay
and takes part in races all round the coast of
internationally. They row 24’ long Celtic longboats, with four
rowers (each with one oar) and a cox. They have three of these
traditional Welsh boats with fixed seats and use these for races in
The Aberdovey Literary Institute, founded in 1882, is situated on the
river front. The deeds of 1923 state it was established in perpetuity
as "a non-sectarian, non-political place of recreation, education and
social intercourse including ... reading rooms, writing rooms,
library, billiard rooms, concert rooms ..."
Neuadd Dyfi is a community hall, conference centre and theatre owned
by the village for village activities. It caters for a range of local
organisations and events.
THE BELLS OF ABERDOVEY
The bells of St Peter's Church can play Clychau
The Bells of Aberdovey (song)
Aberdyfi is closely linked to the legend of the submerged lost
kingdom of Cantre\'r Gwaelod (English: Lowland Hundred) beneath
Cardigan Bay , and bells which, it is said, can be heard ringing
beneath the water at the beach. The Bells of Aberdovey (in Welsh :
Clychau Aberdyfi) is a well-known song referring to this legend. This
song first appeared in the English opera Liberty Hall in 1785, written
Charles Dibdin , and is not thought to be a traditional folk-song
as Welsh words were written by
John Ceiriog Hughes , during the 19th
The legend and the song have inspired local cultural projects
A new chime of bells was installed in September 1936 in the tower of
St Peter's Church, which overlooks
Aberdyfi harbour. The ten bells,
tuned in the key of A flat, were specifically designed to allow the
playing of The Bells of
Aberdyfi and are played from a mechanical
carillon inside the church. A bell installed beneath the pier
rings at high tide
In 2010 an art installation was commissioned from sculptor Marcus
Vergette as a homage to The Bells of Aberdovey. The work is a bronze
time-and-tide bell suspended beneath
Aberdyfi pier which is rung by
the action of water at high tide. It was installed in July 2011 and is
one of several such bells around the United Kingdom.
The children's novel, Silver on the Tree, by
Susan Cooper , the final
book of The Dark is Rising , is largely set around Aberdyfi, with many
references to local landmarks.
The novel, Megan's Game by Tony Drury, published in 2012, contains
many references to Aberdyfi, surrounding areas and the legend of The
Bells of Aberdovey.
NOTABLE PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH ABERDYFI
* John Corbett (1817–1901), industrialist , philanthropist and
Liberal Party politician
James Atkin, Baron Atkin
James Atkin, Baron Atkin of Aberdovey (1867–1944),
Oliver Onions (1873–1961), Novelist
Berta Ruck (1878–1978), Romantic novelist
Marguerite Florence Laura Jarvis (1886-1964), writer of romantic
novels under many names (including Countess Barcynska), wrote the
novel "Miss Venus of Aberdovey" and lived for a while at Panteidal
Stan Hugill (1906–1992), Musician and artist, lived in Aberdyfi,
and worked at the
Outward Bound centre from 1950 to 1975
* Dr Thomas Tibbott Davies FRCS (1916–2007), local GP for many
Christopher Riche Evans (1931–1979), psychologist, computer
scientist, and author
John T. Houghton (born 1931), co-chair of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lives in
Kenneth O. Morgan ,
Baron Morgan of Aberdyfi, (born 1934),
Historian and author
Simon Jenkins (born 1943), Journalist, editor, author,
chairman of the National Trust
Jimmy Page (born 1946), with
Robert Plant (born 1948), composed
Led Zeppelin songs at nearby
* David Gill (born 1957), former chief executive of Manchester
United and a vice chairman of
The Football Association owns a house in
the village and is a member of Aberdovey Golf Club
Tom Cave (born 1991), rally driver
Aberdyfi and The Dyfi valley from
Ynyslas Sand Dunes , April
* ^ A B C "Neighbourhood statistics". Office for National
Statistics. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
* ^ "Aberdyfi.org". Retrieved 23 April 2011.
* ^ A B "Aberdyfi.com". Retrieved 23 April 2011.
* ^ A B C D E F Lewis, Hugh (1997). Aberdyfi: a chronicle through
the centuries. Aberdyfi: Author.
* ^ "
Aberdyfi Motte". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011.
Retrieved 24 April 2011.
* ^ Pickering, W (1932). Archaeologia Cambrensis, Volume 87.
Cambrian Archaeological Association. p. 392.
* ^ Christiansen, Rex & Miller, R.W. The Cambrian Railways, Vol. 1
David & Charles (1967)
Outward Bound International. "Archived copy". Archived from the