Snowdonia is a mountainous region and a national park in northwestern Wales.
Before the boundaries of the national park were designated, “Snowdonia” was generally used to refer to a smaller area, namely the upland area of northern Gwynedd centred on the Snowdon massif, whereas the national park covers an area more than twice that size extending far to the south into Meirionnydd.
The national park covers an area of 2,130 square kilometers (823 square miles) or 213,000 hectares (860 acres).
The park has 2,380 kilometers (1,479 miles) of public footpaths, 264 kilometers (164 miles) of public bridleways, and 74 kilometers (46 miles) of other public rights of way.
It has 60 kilometers (37 miles) of coastline. The park’s entire coastline is a Special Area of Conservation, which runs from the Llŷn Peninsula down the mid-Wales coast, the latter containing valuable sand dune systems.
Snowdonia National Park was established in 1951 as the third national park in Britain, following the Peak District and the Lake District.
It is best known for its mountains, composed largely of volcanic rock and cut by valleys that show the influence of Ice Age glaciers.
Unlike national parks in other countries, Snowdonia (and other such parks in Britain) are made up of both public and private lands under central planning authority.
The English name for the area derives from mountain Snowdon. It is the highest mountain in Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 meters (3,560 feet) above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands. It is the busiest mountain in the United Kingdom and the third most visited attraction in Wales, with 582,000 people visiting annually.
In Welsh it is named Eryri. This could be the Welsh word for eagle, which is eryr, or it may mean highlands.
In the Middle Ages, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, who was the Prince of Wales, was called Prince of Wales and Lord of Snowdonia.
Tourism thrives, stimulated by the possibilities for climbing, hill walking, fishing, and sightseeing.
Snowdonia’s importance in the conservation of habitat and wildlife in the region reflects in the fact that nearly 20% of its total area is protected by UK and European law. Rare mammals in the park include otters, polecats, and the feral goat, although the pine marten has not been seen for many years.
Rare mammals in the park include otters, polecats, and the feral goat, although the pine marten has not been seen for many years.
Each year approximately 6 million people visit Snowdonia National Park.