This slate town in the shadow of Cader Idris has more listed buildings than any other town in Wales - more than 200 of them. Some of the most elegant date back to Dolgellau's time as a regional centre for the Welsh woollen industry.
Historically, the town's most important industry was wool. However through the 18th and 19th centuries the town experienced a boom in the tanning industry that was followed by a gold rush. Today, Dolgellau's economy relies mainly on tourism although agriculture continues to play a significant role, and as such a local farmers' market is held in the town on the third Sunday of every month, and each Friday, the town holds a 'diwrnod sêl' or sale day.
The town's name has an uncertain origin. 'Dôl' is Welsh for 'meadow' and 'gelli' means 'grove' or 'spinney', and is found commonly in local names for farms and sheltered nooks. While this is the most likely meaning 'Meadow of Groves', another suggestion is that the name could derive from the word 'cell' meaning 'cell', making the translation 'Meadow of Cells' which might relate to the monks cells at Cymer Abbey.
Today, Dolgellau welcomes many thousands of visitors annually. Many who come from across the Atlantic to trace their ancestry, others to walk and enjoy the stunning scenery and taste the local culture. It is a haven for walkers and climbers who enjoy the challenges of the nearby mountain ranges including the famous Cadair Idris - the giant Idris' chair.