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Gwynedd UK location map.svg
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 2nd
2,548 km2
? %
Admin HQ Caernarfon
Largest City Bangor
ISO 3166-2 GB-GWN
ONS code 00NC (ONS)
W06000002 (GSS)
- (2011)
- Density
Ranked 14th
Ranked 20th
47 / km2
Ethnicity 99.0% White
Welsh language
- Any skills
Ranked 1st

The Arms of the former Gwynedd County Council
Control TBA (council NOC)

Gwynedd (/ˈɡwɪnð/; Welsh pronunciation: [ˈɡʊɨ̯nɛð]) is an area in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. As a local government area it is the second biggest in terms of geographical area and also one of the most sparsely populated. Most of the population is Welsh-speaking. The name Gwynedd is also used for a preserved county, covering the two local government areas of Gwynedd and the Isle of Anglesey. Culturally and historically, the name can also be used for most of North Wales (for instance, the area covered by the Gwynedd Constabulary), corresponding to the approximate territory of the Kingdom of Gwynedd at its greatest extent. The current area is 2,548 square km (983.78 sq miles, slightly smaller than Luxembourg) with a population as measured in the 2011 Census of 121,874.[1]

Gwynedd is the home of Bangor University and includes the scenic Llŷn Peninsula, and most of Snowdonia National Park.

The largest settlements are Bangor, Caernarfon, Bethesda and Blaenau Ffestiniog.


View of Tremadog bay.
Gwynedd as a county from 1974 to 1996 when it included the Island of Anglesey

Gwynedd was an independent kingdom from the end of the Roman period until the 13th Century when it was conquered by England. The modern Gwynedd was one of eight Welsh counties originally created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, based on the principal territory of the former realm. It covered the entirety of the old counties of Anglesey, and Caernarfonshire along with all of Merionethshire apart from Edeirnion Rural District (which went to Clwyd), and also a few parishes in Denbighshire: Llanrwst, Llansanffraid Glan Conwy, Eglwysbach, Llanddoged, Llanrwst and Tir Ifan.

The county was divided into five districts: Aberconwy, Arfon, Dwyfor, Meirionnydd and Anglesey.

The Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 abolished the 1974 county (and the five districts) on 1 April 1996, and its area was divided: the Isle of Anglesey became an independent unitary authority, and Aberconwy (which included the former Denbighshire parts) passed to the new Conwy County Borough. The remainder of the county was constituted a principal area with the name Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire, reflecting that it covered most of the areas of those two counties. As one of its first actions, the Council renamed itself Gwynedd on 2 April 1996. The present Gwynedd local government area is governed by Gwynedd Council. As a unitary authority the modern entity no longer has any districts, but Arfon, Dwyfor and Meirionnydd remain in use as area committees.

The pre-1996 boundaries were retained as a preserved county for a few purposes such as the Lieutenancy. In 2003 the boundary with Clwyd was adjusted to match the modern local government boundary, so that the preserved county now covers the two local government areas of Gwynedd and Anglesey, and the area of Conwy county borough is now entirely within Clwyd.

A Gwynedd Constabulary was formed in 1950 from the merger of the Anglesey, Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire forces. A further amalgamation took place in the 1960s when Gwynedd Constabulary was merged with the Flintshire and Denbighshire county forces, retaining the name Gwynedd. In one proposal for local government reform in Wales, Gwynedd had been proposed as a name for a local authority covering all of north Wales, but the scheme as enacted divided this area between Gwynedd and Clwyd. To prevent confusion, the Gwynedd Constabulary was therefore renamed the North Wales Police.

The Snowdonia National Park was formed in 1951. After the 1974 local authority reorganisation, the park fell entirely within the boundaries of Gwynedd, and was run as a department of Gwynedd County Council. After the 1996 local government reorganisation, part of the park fell under Conwy County Borough, and the park's administration separated from the Gwynedd council. Gwynedd Council does still appoint nine of the 18 members of the Snowdonia National Park Authority; Conwy County Borough Council appoints three; and the National Assembly for Wales appoints the remaining six.

Welsh language

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The proportion of respondents in the 2011 census who said they could speak Welsh.

In Gwynedd, more than two-thirds of the population reports being able to speak Welsh. The proportion of Welsh speakers in Gwynedd slightly declined from 1991 to 2001,[2] from 72.1% to 68.7%, respectively.[2] This occurred even as the proportion of Welsh speakers in Wales as a whole increased during that decade, to 20.5%. In 2003, however, a survey of schools showed that 94% of children between the ages of three and 15 were able to speak Welsh. Nevertheless, there have been concerns that an influx of English speakers to the area is damaging the standing of Welsh.

Notable people from Gwynedd

See also


  1. "Authority population 2011". Retrieved 18 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Census shows Welsh language rise. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 12 April 2007.

External links

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