DOLGARROG is a village and community in
Conwy County Borough , in
Wales , situated between
Conwy , very close to the Conwy
River . The village is well known for its industrial history since the
18th century and the Eigiau dam disaster, which occurred in 1925. The
population was 414 at the 2001 Census, increasing to 446 at the 2011
The village is served by
Dolgarrog railway station , a halt on the
other side of the river
Surf Snowdonia , the worlds first commercial artificial surfing lake
is located in Dolgarrog.
* 1 History
* 1.1 The legend of Y Garrog
* 1.2 The
* 1.3 The
* 2 Industry
* 2.1 The
* 3 \'Garden City\'
* 4 Dam disaster
* 5 Garden Art
* 6 The
* 7 References
* 8 External links
THE LEGEND OF Y GARROG
Believed to have been established around 1200 AD,
Dolgarrog is said
to have got its name from a flying dragon called Y Garrog. This
mythical beast preyed on livestock and
Dolgarrog (The Garrog's meadow)
was the favourite meadow on which it swooped down from the heights
above to carry off sheep. So serious were the losses that the farmers
went on a dragon hunt armed with bows, arrows and spears.
One farmer, Nico Ifan, refused to go, claiming a dream had forewarned
him the Garrog would cause his death. His fellow farmers laid a
poisoned sheep's carcass on the heights above
Eglwysbach across the
river. The unsuspecting Garrog seized the bait, was caught and beaten
Nico Ifan then came along to gloat over the dead dragon and cursed
and kicked the corpse, whereupon the poisoned barbed wing of the
Garrog pierced his leg thus fulfilling the death warning in his dream.
THE BLACK DEATH
In the 1350s the
Black Death took a heavy toll in the lower Conwy
Valley, particularly among the bond tenants regulated by the King's
officers from Aberconwy , Edward I 's new English borough. Their
visits and contacts in effect spread the disease. Some townships of
villeins , or crown tenants, such as Dolgarrog, were swept away.
People left their lands or hid, unable to pay the taxes on their
THE GUNPOWDER PLOT
A man privy to
Guy Fawkes '
Gunpowder Plot is said to have lived in
the house Ardda'r Myneich (Monks Hill), whose ruins lie in the fields
above the road between Porthlwyd and
Dolgarrog bridges. Dr Thomas
Williams (1550–1622), rector of St Peter's Church, Llanbedr-y-Cennin
, was charged with having papist sympathies. He had warned Sir John
Wynn of Gwydir to stay away from the
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament on that
Dolgarrog's industrialisation began in the 18th century with a flour
mill on Porthlwyd river to crush corn for local farmers. There was
also a woollen mill at
Dolgarrog bridge and the Abbey mill.
The successful Porthlwyd mill was expanded by John Lloyd, son of
founder Richard Lloyd. As well as grinding flour, he bought machines
to make paper and flock for bedding.
Paper from Porthlwyd supplied
local printers, including John Jones, printer of
Trefriw and later
In 1885 the villagers wanted to start a school at Porthlwyd. The old
Dolgarrog appealed to Mr Robins, the then proprietor of the
paper-mill. He let them turn a large empty room at the mill into a
Sunday School , known locally as Ystafell y drws goch
("the room with the red door") to make sure the children did not
wander into the mill workings.
Dolgarrog sawmill of John Williams also flourished. It exported
hundreds of tons of wooden railway sleepers for the new railways
between 1845 and 1865. When the first sod was cut for the Conway and
Llanrwst Railway track on 25 August 1860, on
Lord Newborough 's land
at Abbey, Dolgarrog, it was John Williams who supplied the sleepers.
THE ALUMINIUM WORKS
The aluminium works (or "smelter") was originally planned in 1895.
Water from reservoirs in the
Snowdonia Mountains would provide the
hydro-electricity needed to run the mill.
In 1907, aluminium production began in the factory and in 1916 a
rolling mill was added. In 1924, the hydro-electric plant was built
next to the aluminium works to assist in the running of the mill.
Second World War
Second World War the aluminium works were under the
control of the
Ministry of Aircraft Production and provided parts for
aircraft. It is rumoured that the
Luftwaffe tried to destroy the
works, but the bomber that was sent was shot down, and crash-landed in
the mountains above the village.
Under the management of Henry Joseph Jack, the
Dolgarrog acquired a controlling interest in the NORTH WALES POWER
& TRACTION COMPANY in 1918. This company had been established by Act
of Parliament in 1904, taking over powers awarded to the Portmadoc,
Beddgelert & South Snowdon Railway to build a hydro-electric power
station in Nant Gwynant for railway purposes, as well as a 2 ft gauge
electric railway serving the places named in the 1901 Portmadoc,
Beddgelert one of its assets was the 2 ft gauge horse-worked Croesor
Tramway. Working with Pwllheli solicitor, and friend of the politician
David Lloyd George, Evan Robert Davies and Dundee distiller Sir John
Henderson Stewart Bt, Jack was a key player in the development of the
Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway , taking over the North
Wales Narrow Gauge
Railways , reconstructing part of the
Croesor Tramway for steam
working, linking them with a new railway around Beddgelert and
connecting the whole to the
Festiniog Railway at Portmadoc. The trio
also acquired control of the
Festiniog Railway Company and the Snowdon
Mountain Tramroad three managers, for instance, lived in
Officials, journalists and survivors mingle on the street in the
aftermath of the disaster. The man with the child in his arms, Edward
Holland Roberts, was a butcher whose shop was washed away in the
On 2 November 1925, the failure of two dams caused a flood that
swamped the village of Dolgarrog, killing 16 people. The disaster was
started by the failure of the Eigiau Dam , a gravity dam owned by the
Aluminium Corporation. The water released from the reservoir flooded
downstream , and overtopped the Coedty Dam , an embankment dam . This
dam also subsequently failed, releasing the huge volume of water that
Many more villagers could have been killed had they not been in the
local theatre watching a film that night.
The disaster at
Dolgarrog led the British parliament to pass the
Reservoirs (Safety Provisions) Act in 1930 that introduced laws on the
safety of reservoirs. This has since been updated, and the current one
is the Reservoirs Act, 1975.
In 2004 a £60,000 memorial trail was created, explaining the tragic
story to walkers. The trail takes visitors to where the boulders from
the damaged dam reside. The project was opened by the last survivor of
the dam disaster, Fred Brown, who on that night lost his mother and
his younger sister.
The construction of Eigiau dam had been facilitated by the
construction of the
Eigiau Tramway , which largely followed the route
Cedryn Quarry Tramway from Dolgarrog. The incline was upgraded
(and the lower section re-aligned), enabling steam engines to reach
the starting point of the tramway, near
Coedty reservoir . The tramway
was built to standard gauge , but was subsequently relaid in narrow
gauge (from about 1916) when the
Cowlyd Tramway was begun. This latter
tramway branched off from the Eigiau tramway at the top of the
The line of the railway incline has today been replaced by a second
pipeline, and the adjoining hillsides are wooded. However, there is a
public footpath which goes up the hillside to the left of the
pipeline, and in places the timberwork can still be seen. Today the
left pipeline (viewed from Dolgarrog) carries water from Llyn Cowlyd,
the right pipeline carries water from Coedty reservoir.
To the south of the Health Centre the remains of a lower incline (the
old route of the Cedryn Tramway) can still be seen. This incline,
which joined the upper section a little above the village, passed
through a short tunnel under the road at Tyddyn Isaf, visible from the
From here the original quarry tramway continued across the marshland
to the edge of the River
Conwy at Porth Llwyd wharf.
Commenced in 2001, Garden Art is a local business that brings
together both tasteful and unusual antique and contemporary garden
statuary, tubs, architectural antiques, and specimen plants, all of
which are displayed within a 10-acre (40,000 m2) site in the natural
beauty of the
Snowdonia National Park in Wales. As well as selling all
kinds of sculptures, it also claims to have the "World's Largest Hedge
Maze" covering over 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land.
THE LORD NEWBOROUGH
Built during the 1800s, the building sustained heavy damage when the
dam burst in 1925, but was quickly repaired. It was the only
restaurant in the village. Mostly served traditional Welsh food,
sourced locally from the
Conwy Valley. The pub closed for business in
September 2010, and is now a private dwelling.
* ^ Neighbourhood Statistics (2004-04-28). "View or Download Data:
view full dataset". Neighbourhood Statistics. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
* ^ "Community population 2011". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
* ^ "icNorth
Wales - The killing fields of Dolgarrog".
Icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
* ^ Johnson, Peter; An Illustrated History of the Welsh Highland
Railway; Oxford Publishing Co, 2n