"Mostly Anglesey really." Gwynedd by leics
Gwynedd Travel Guide: 1,307 reviews and 4,206 photos
Now here's a thing; Anglesey doesn't exist in VT. And that's a bit of a problem for me, because I'd intended to do a couple of pages about its prehistoric sites. So this page and tips will be about those sites. My other Gwynedd pages are separately written: Bangor, Caernarfon, Beaumaris, Llanberis and, of course, Snowdonia.
Anglesey isn't a huge island, but it does very much have its own character. As with the rest of Gwynedd, it remained 'Welsh Wales' even when the language was dying out elsewhere but its popularity with holidaymakers (and for retirement homes) meant that it moved forward a little more quickly, perhaps.
It is a pretty island (Ynys Mon in Welsh), with lots of winding lanes in which to get lost (they aren't very keen on signposts) and a very different landscape to the harsh wildness of Snowdonia. There are sandy beaches (visit Newborough Warren if you can, a vast expanse of sand dunes which once buried a settlement in a massive storm), tiny lakes and a great deal of archaeology and history. There's also RAF Valley, which means one can frequently get rather good views of extremely low-flying fighters.
Anglesey is reached by Thomas Telford's magnificent suspension bridge over the Menai Straits (opened in 1826 and still amazing) or by a road recently built on top of Robert Stephenson's Britannia Railway Bridge (1860). But there were people there many thousands of years before there were bridges.............
Archaeological evidence shows people lived on Anglesey in Mesolithic times (around 7000 BCE), and there are many tombs and monuments dating from the slightly later Neolithic and Bronze Age.
Later, the invading Romans hounded the Celtic Druids backwards onto the island and, although the soldiers were loath to cross over the Menai Straits, eventually destroyed them. Tacitus wrote, of the Roman army:
'By the shore stood an opposing battle-line, thick with men and weapons, woman running between them, like the Furies in their funereal clothes, their hair flowing, carrying torches; and Druids among them, pouring out frightful curses with their hands raised high to the heavens, our soldiers being so scared by the unfamiliar sight that their limbs were paralysed, and they stood motionless and exposed to be wounded.'
After the Romans withdrew the Irish claimed Anglesey, then the vikings raided. Christianity became established, with many Anglesey church sites dating back to the 12th century. Eventually, the Welsh were invaded and subdued by the Normans, under Edward 1 although, ironically, it was a Welsh prince (Henry Tudor) who finally claimed the English throne after killing Richard lll at the Battle of Bosworth in 1465.
So if you want history, then Anglesey has it. Mind you, mainland Gwynedd has it as well!
- Pros:Landscape, coast, history, prehistory
- Cons:Can be busy at times in parts
- In a nutshell:Mostly Anglesey on this page
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