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Merionethshire ( ) is one of thirteen historic counties of Walesmarker, and a former administrative county.

The administrative county of Merioneth, created under the Local Government Act 1888, was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 on April 1, 1974. The bulk formed the Meirionnyddmarker district in the new county of Gwyneddmarker, with a small area in the north-east (the Edeyrnion Rural Districtmarker) becoming part of the Glyndŵrmarker district of Clwyd. As a result of the Local Government Act 1994, which came into force in 1996, the Glyndŵr area lies within the county of Denbighshire, with the rest of the old county remaining in Gwynedd.

The spelling of the Welsh name in standard modern orthography is Meirionnydd (for the geographical area) or Sir Feirionnydd (for the former county), with a double , but the variant with a single is sometimes found in older works.


Merionethshire was a maritime county, bounded to the north by Caernarfonshire, to the east by Denbighshire, to the south by Montgomeryshiremarker and Cardiganshire, and to the west by Cardigan Baymarker. With a total area of 1,731 km², it was one of the more sparsely populated counties in Great Britainmarker. The Merioneth area is also one of the strongest Welsh-speaking parts of Walesmarker. The coastline consists alternately of cliffs and stretches of sand and the area generally is the most mountainous in Wales; a large part of the Snowdonia National Park lies within it. The greatest heights are Aran Fawddwymarker 905 m (2,970 ft) and Cadair Idrismarker 893 m (2,929 ft). The chief rivers are the Dwyrydmarker, the Mawddachmarker and the Dyfimarker. Waterfalls and small lakes are numerous, the largest being Bala Lakemarker (4 miles long and broad).


The county was formed in 1284 under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan from the Cantrefi of:

Merioneth was an important part of the Welsh slate industry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with major quarrying centres at Blaenau Ffestiniogmarker in the north of the county and Corrismarker in the south.

Main Towns

The main towns are

The main industries today are agriculture, forestry and tourism.

Places of special interest


  1. Double 'nn' is found in the title of a number of Welsh-language books published in the period of the county's existence, e.g. Crwydro Meirionnydd, a companion to the area by T. I. Ellis (Llandybie, 1954), and the county atlas published by the old county council (Atlas Merionnydd, Y Bala, 1972).
  2. For the single 'n' variant see, for example, Melville Richards, Welsh Administrative and Territorial Units. University of Wales Press, Cardiff 1969.

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