Local History of Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia, North Wales
Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia’s National Park is steeped in history.
Tomen-Y-Mur Fort in Trawsfynydd, Snowdonia is well worth a special visit. Tomen-y-Mur is Welsh, which, when translated means ‘piles of stones’ To get there, from Trawsfynydd; take the main road, A470 towards Betws-Y-Coed and Porthmadog. Pass the BNFL power Station on the left. Look for a minor road on the right after about 1/2 mile. Go under a small iron railway bridge and up the hill. Look out for the slates that stand like tombstones making walls between fields, an unusual an commonly seen sight.
After about a mile you will see a small parking area on the right with a Snowdonia National Park Sign. From here you can see southwards right down the valley to Calder Idris and westwards towards the sea can be glimpsed, with the Llyn Peninsular beyond.
The whole area is full of interesting features, Roman, Norman, Medieval and modern. It is a very good site for looking for the first section of Sarn Helen heading towards Trawsfynydd. Many have scanned the fields for any signs in all kinds of weather and at different times of the day. Now and again, with the right shadowing, you may find small sections that could be the Roman road in the distance, but they also could just as easily be natural features.
The Iron Age population in the locality when the Romans arrived, the Ordavices, must have been in awe to see this might army. With metal gleaming and reflecting in the sunlight making their presence known from miles away. Their regimental, disciplined marching and fighting techniques being a frightening prospect. Many stories would have been circulation after their sortie into Anglesey but that would be no preparation for that first view.Tomen-Y-Mur had several unusual features for an auxiliary fort. An amphitheatre, parade ground and practice camp. Where these to keep the troops occupied with military training and hard practicing? In an area where the local tribe was rebellious and there was the continued threat of raids and ambush, the training, fitness and morale of the troops would have been crucial.
For more information about the history of Trawsfynydd purchase the book by local historian Angela Standrin ‘Traws Treks’
Trawsfynydd village is situated on a hill at the head of a glacial valley, with the A470 trunk road running North/South parallel to the village. The village lies more or less in the middle of the old Meirionnydd District, now forming part of south Gwynedd. The total parish area is 12,830 hectares with a population of just under 1000 – the area is therefore sparsely populated with each hectare inhabited by an average 0.07 persons. The village is typical of several Welsh villages. There are two grocer shops, two public houses, a newsagent, butcher, bank, post office, garage, petrol service station, hardware shop and a branch of a large agricultural merchants.
The village is close to the Llyn Trawsfynydd, a large man-made reservoir which was built to supply cooling water to a twin reactor nuclear power plant used for the commercial generation of electricity for the UK national grid. The reactors were of the magnox type. Both reactors are now shut down and the site is in the process of being decommissioned.