The Info List - Betws-y-Coed

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BETWS-Y-COED ("Prayer house in the wood", Welsh pronunciation: ) is a village and community in the Conwy valley in Conwy County Borough , Wales.


* 1 Name * 2 Location * 3 Governance * 4 Public transport * 5 References * 6 External links


The name Betws or Bettws is generally thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon
Old English
Old English
bed-hus—i.e. a bead-house: a house of prayer, or oratory. The earliest record of the name is Betus, in 1254.


is one of the honeypot locations in Snowdonia. It lies in the Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park
, in a valley near the point where the River Conwy
River Conwy
is joined by the River Llugwy and the River Lledr , and was founded around a monastery in the late sixth century. The village grew very slowly with the development of the local lead mining industry. In 1815, the Waterloo Bridge , built by Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford
to carry the London
to Holyhead
road (now the A5 ) across the River Conwy and through the village, brought considerable transport-related development. The village became a major coaching centre between Corwen (to the east) and Capel Curig (to the west) on the Irish Mail route from London
to Holyhead
, which led to the improvement of the roads south to Blaenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog
and north to Llanrwst
and Conwy
. It is a primary destination for the purpose of road signs.

Construction of Betws-y-Coed railway station in 1868 heralded the arrival of the railway line from Llandudno Junction railway station , and resulted in the village's population increasing by around 500.

The village has a large village green which is the playing field for the local football team. The green is bounded on its western side by the A5 trunk road, with 19th century buildings, including shops, hotels, and the Church of St Mary . This church was built on the site of a former cockpit and fairground , and although it is of early English appearance, it was completed as recently as 1873, the internal roof timbers testifying to this relatively young age. The interior also features various types of stone: local bluestone, sandstone (and floor tiles) from Ancaster , and black serpentine from Cornwall
. The square bell tower was added in 1907, and the integral church hall was added in the 1970s, the commemorative stone being laid by the Earl of Ancaster in 1976. Village sign Pont-y-Pair Bridge and River Llugwy

On the southern side of the green is Betws-y-Coed
railway station with cafes and tourist shops and a car park. In the former railway goods yard, reached from the station, is the Conwy
Valley Railway Museum with its extensive miniature railway .

Other attractions in the village include the Miners' Bridge and the 14th century church of St. Michael, which is the origin of the name Betws (meaning "prayer-house"). There are scenic walks beside the River Llugwy, which flows through the village, and the River Conwy provides further attractions, including the Fairy Glen, the Conwy
Fish pass and waterfalls including the Conwy
Falls. The Pont-y-Pair Falls are in the centre of the village (also the site of a 53-hole rock cannon ), and a mile upstream are the famous Swallow Falls .

The Llyn Elsi reservoir nearby is popular with walkers and anglers, and also provides water for the village. A wide range of footpaths provide access to the lake, both from Betws y Coed itself and the outlying village of Pentre Du. There are many other small lakes in the vicinity.

The village is also a centre for outdoor activities and lies within the Gwydyr Forest .

The current Betws-y-Coed
Golf Club was founded in the 1970s. There was a much earlier club and course located on or near the Recreation Ground.

The village is home to at least one well known rock band ; Melys were founded there in 1996.


The parish , including the village itself and its immediate neighbourhood, has a population of 564. An electoral ward of the same name exists. This ward includes a large additional area and has a total population of 1,244.


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View of Betws-y-Coed railway station

The Betws-y-Coed
railway station, a passenger station on the Conwy Valley Line from Llandudno
Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog, is an integral part of the settlement's tourism industry. The train service is operated by Arriva Trains Wales
and is marketed as the Conwy
Valley Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd Dyffryn Conwy).

The Conwy
Valley Line was constructed by the London
and North Western Railway with the primary aim of transporting dressed slate from the Blaenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog
quarries to a specially built quay at Deganwy
for export by sea. The original plans envisaged a railhead at Betws-y-Coed and a large goods yard was established with intended interchange to a proposed narrow-gauge line (with a significant saving in construction costs) via the steeply graded Lledr Valley to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Other entrepreneurs proposed narrow gauge lines from Corwen
to Betws-y-Coed, Penmachno to Betws-y-Coed
and from Beddgelert to Betws-y-Coed. In the event the line to Blaenau, which was not completed until 1879, was built to standard gauge and the other proposals were abandoned.

Extensive passenger and goods facilities were however provided at Betws-y-Coed, where the station, which was opened in 1868, adjoins the London
to Holyhead
A5 turnpike road and was thus ideally located to serve many isolated communities in Snowdonia and also the rapidly developing tourist industry. In the LMS timetables the station was listed as "Bettws-y-Coed - Station for Capel Curig". There was originally a passing loop with full length up and down platforms. The loop was removed some years ago but the footbridge that previously gave access to the now-removed down platform has been retained and provides access to the Conwy
Valley Railway Museum, which runs a miniature railway and other attractions in the former goods yard.

The comprehensive range of passenger station buildings has been preserved and sympathetically adapted for use as cafes and tourist shops. The station now functions as an unstaffed halt. The platform was refurbished and a passenger information system installed in spring 2009.


* ^ "Full text of "The place-names of England and Wales"". Archive.org. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ Domesday Maps website Archived November 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ John Dean. "Betws-y-Coed, Conwy.". Golfsmissinglinks.co.uk. Retrieved 13 December 2014. * ^ "Check Browser Settings". Neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 22 July 2015. * ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 22 July 2015.


* The A-Z of Betws-y-coed, by Donald Shaw. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 1990. ISBN 0-86381-153-1