Explore Blaenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog | Snowdonia | Wales | Accommodation | Things to Do | Events
Nestled deep in the Vale of Ffestiniog, Blaenau Ffestiniog is a town at the heart of Snowdonia. A slate mining town that flourished in the 19th century, it was once known as “the town that roofed the world”. In the 21st century Blaenau Ffestiniong has become a vibrant centre for the arts and outdoor activities, prompted by the unique rugged landscape that provides a picturesque backdrop for its rich heritage.
Despite boasting a number of sites that date from the bronze and iron ages, modern Blaenau Ffestiniog came into being with the discovery of a very valuable slate vein in the late 18th century. The town blossomed in the 19th century with its population peaking at 12,000 people supplying labour for the many mines which are abandoned but still visible today. The Llechwedd mine in particular offers visitors the opportunity to experience what life was like for a Victorian miner, whilst the Oakley quarry was the largest of its kind in the world.
The effect of the mining industry on the imperious landscape surrounding the area has long attracted artists to the town, most notably Sir Kyffin Williams and David Nash. Whilst the effects of industrialisation on the landscape provided inspiration for Williams and Nash, the cavernous quarries were to serve a very different purpose for the arts during the Second World War. In anticipation of the blitz, artworks from the collection of the National Gallery and Buckingham Palace were evacuated to the mines in absolute secret, meaning that the town was home to masterpieces by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Rubens. Blaenau Ffestiniog still boasts a vibrant cultural scene with twelve male voice choirs active and its own record label, Gwallgofiaid.
There are many mountain biking tracks and trails that cater for all abilities, from beginners to professionals. Walking trails are also very popular with visitors who use the town as a base to explore some of the country’s most unforgettable views.