99 Interesting Facts About Anglesey a Island in Wales

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Anglesey is a captivating island with a rich history, diverse landscape, and vibrant culture.
Anglesey is a captivating island with a rich history, diverse landscape, and vibrant culture.

Anglesey is an island in the Irish Sea, separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait, off the northwest coast of Wales, United Kingdom. It covers an area of approximately 715 square kilometres and has a population of around 69,000 people. The landscape of Anglesey is diverse, ranging from sandy beaches and rocky coastlines to rolling hills and fertile farmland.

The prehistory of Anglesey dates back to the Stone Age, with evidence of human habitation found in ancient monuments such as burial chambers and standing stones. The island was also home to several Iron Age hill forts, including the famous Caerphilly Mountain fort. In the Roman era, Anglesey was known as Mona, and it played a significant role in the Roman Empire’s conquest of Britain.

Throughout its history, Anglesey has been influenced by various cultures, including the Celts, Romans, Vikings, and Normans. This diversity is reflected in the island’s language, architecture, and traditions. The Welsh language is still spoken widely on the island, and many place names have Welsh origins.

Anglesey is renowned for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore historic sites like Beaumaris Castle, built by King Edward I in the 13th century, and Plas Newydd, a stately home that houses a collection of artwork and antiques. Other popular attractions include the Anglesey Coastal Path, which offers stunning views of the sea and surrounding countryside, and the RSPB South Stack nature reserve, where visitors can spot seabirds and other wildlife.

Administratively, Anglesey is part of the Isle of Anglesey County Council, which oversees local government services such as education, transportation, and waste management. Notable people from Anglesey include the poet and writer Kate Roberts, who wrote extensively about life on the island, and the former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who was born in Llanystumdwy, a village in the north of the island.

Anglesey continues attracting tourists and outdoor enthusiasts drawn to its picturesque landscapes and abundant wildlife. Efforts are being made to promote sustainable development and protect the island’s unique environment while supporting local businesses and communities.

99 interesting facts about Anglesey, an island off the northwest coast of Wales

  1. Isle of Anglesey, Welsh Ynys Môn, Latin Mona, county, is an island located northwest of Wales, United Kingdom. It is separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait, a narrow stretch of water. Anglesey is the largest island in Wales and is known for its diverse landscapes, rich history, and cultural significance.
  2. Anglesey is the largest island in Wales and the fifth largest in the British Isles. It has a long and rich history, dating back to the Iron Age. The island covers an area of 276 square miles (715 sq km) and has over 125 miles (200 km) of coastline.
  3. In 61 AD, the Roman general Suetonius Paulinus invaded Anglesey and destroyed a sacred grove of Druids. The Vikings and the Normans later conquered Anglesey, but the island didn’t become part of the Roman Empire until AD 78.
  4. In the 13th century, Anglesey came under the control of the English crown.
  5. Anglesey played an important role in the Welsh Wars of Independence. In the 18th century, it became a major centre of industry, with coal mines and ironworks established on the island. In the 20th century, it became a popular tourist destination.
  6. Anglesey has a rich history of being the birthplace of remarkable and well-known individuals. Among them is the celebrated landscape painter Sir Kyffin Williams, whose artistic mastery captured the island’s breathtaking scenery in strokes of brilliance. Adding to the island’s creative legacy, the talented actress and accomplished writer Dawn French also hails from Anglesey. Anglesey can proudly claim Owen Tudor as a native son. As the grandfather of Henry VII, Owen Tudor’s lineage is intricately woven into the tapestry of British royalty. From the evocative landscapes immortalized by Kyffin Williams to the entertainment prowess of Dawn French and the ancestral ties of Owen Tudor, Anglesey’s heritage of notable figures continues to shine brightly through the ages.
  7. During the Middle Ages, Anglesey garnered the monikers “breadbasket of Wales” and “Môn Mam Cymru” (translated as “Mother of Wales”) due to its incredibly fertile soil. Its land was so abundant in productivity that it held the capability to sustain the entire population of North Wales, earning its esteemed titles. This historical bounty is also evident in the enduring presence of numerous windmills on the island. Notably, Anglesey is the proud home of Wales’ sole operational windmill, the Llynnon Mill, a living testament to its agrarian heritage.
  8. Its largest town and only city is Holyhead, with a population of 13,659.
  9. Holyhead Mountain is the island’s highest point at 720 feet (220 m).
  10. Anglesey has several small towns, including Amlwch, Beaumaris, Benllech, Menai Bridge, Llangefni, and Rhosneigr.
  11. The island’s main industry is agriculture, including cattle, sheep, pigs, and arable farming.
  12. Tourism is also important to the island’s economy, especially in coastal towns.
  13. The Britannia Bridge, also known as Pont Britannia in Welsh, is a railway bridge in northern Wales stretching across the Menai Strait, connecting the towns of Bangor and the Isle of Anglesey. This remarkable bridge was constructed between 1846 and 1849 under the supervision of William Fairbairn, who conducted a series of metallurgical tests. Britannia Bridge has been recognized as a Grade I listed building and designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is an iconic symbol representing the beauty of Anglesey and North Wales.
  14. The original Britons who inhabited Anglesey and other parts of Wales were indeed known as the Cymry. The term “Cymry” refers to the indigenous people of Wales and is derived from the Welsh word “Cymru,” which means “Wales.”. The term “Cymry” is still used to refer to the Welsh people, particularly in the Welsh language. The Welsh language, known as “Cymraeg,” is one of the Celtic languages spoken by a significant portion of the population in Wales, including those in Anglesey.
  15. Anglesey was conquered by the Romans in AD 60 and remained occupied until 383 AD.
  16. After the Roman withdrawal, Anglesey fell to invading Irish tribes until the 700s.
  17. The medieval history of Anglesey features battles between invading Vikings and the Welsh.
  18. Anglesey was the breadbasket of medieval Wales, supplying grain and cattle to the rest of the country.
  19. In the 13th century, Edward I built Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey as part of his campaign to conquer Wales.
  20. Beaumaris Castle, designed by James of St. George, is considered the most perfect example of a concentric castle.
  21. The town of Beaumaris was founded as a planned settlement by Edward I in 1296.
  22. Anglesey was at the centre of Owain Glyndŵr’s Welsh revolt against English rule between 1400-1415.
  23. Henry VII forced the rebellion’s leader into exile on Anglesey before defeating him.
  24. During WW2, Anglesey was a training ground for British Commandos and hosted RAF bases.
  25. Anglesey has three designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  26. Red squirrels can still be found in some wooded areas of Anglesey.
  27. Anglesey’s coastal environment hosts diverse seabird species, such as charming puffins, sleek razorbills, elegant guillemots, and graceful terns.
  28. Anglesey’s relatively mild climate allows palm trees to grow, especially near the coast.
  29. Anglesey is one of the leading regions in the UK for renewable energy, especially wind power.
  30. Anglesey also boasts a notable presence of hills that add an intriguing dimension to its landscape. At a notable elevation of 220 meters, Holyhead Mountain commands attention as the highest point on Anglesey. Further contributing to Anglesey’s undulating profile are Mynydd Bodafon and Mynydd Llaneilian. These hills, reaching heights of 178 meters and 177 meters, respectively, might not reach the towering altitudes of alpine ranges, yet they possess a distinctive charm that harmonizes with the island’s overall character.
  31. The island has two nuclear power stations – Wylfa and Trawsfynydd. Wylfa is currently being decommissioned.
  32. Anglesey’s landscape is adorned with more than 60 medieval parish churches, each a historical gem that narrates the island’s religious and architectural journey. These scattered sanctuaries stand as a testament to the island’s rich heritage, offering a glimpse into centuries of worship and community life. Names are St. Cybi’s Church, Holyhead, St. Mary’s Church, Beaumaris, St. Peulan’s Church, Llanbeulan, St. Edwen’s Church, Llanedwen, St. Gwenllwyfo’s Church, Dulas, St. Cwyfan’s Church, Llangwyfan, St. Tysilio’s Church, Menai Bridge, St. Gredifael’s Church, Penmynydd, St. Ceinwen’s Church, Llangeinwen, St. Eilian’s Church, Llaneilian
  33. Beaumaris Gaol was built in 1829 and housed prisoners until its closure in 1878.
  34. The gaol was used as a filming location for the 2012 Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
  35. Anglesey is home to the village with the longest place name in Europe – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
  36. The name means: ‘The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio’s of the red cave’.
  37. Anglesey hosted the National Eisteddfod, an annual Welsh language and culture festival in 1957, 1979, and 1999.
  38. Famous artists, including JMW Turner, John Ruskin, and Kyffin Williams, have inspired or visited the island.
  39. Dylan Thomas wrote about Anglesey in some of his work, including the poem In Country Sleep.
  40. Menai Bridge became the first-ever suspension bridge suitable for road traffic when it opened in 1826.
  41. The strait between Anglesey and mainland Wales has one of the fastest-flowing tidal streams in the world.
  42. The rapidly moving tides around Anglesey led to disasters for invading ships of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
  43. Ynys Llanddwyn, a tidal island off southwest Anglesey, was the home of St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
  44. Anglesey is home to the only village in the UK with no road access – Llanbadrig. It can only be reached on foot or by boat.
  45. The island has the UK’s largest collection of neolithic chambered tombs known as megaliths.
  46. Anglesey’s neolithic sites led to it being dubbed the ‘Mother of Wales’.
  47. Nearby Bardsey Island was an important Celtic religious site and place of pilgrimage.
  48. Anglesey boasts over 120 miles of designated cycle paths.
  49. The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path opened in 2020, encircling the island.
  50. South Stack off Holyhead is home to a historic lighthouse built in 1809.
  51. Several shipwrecks lie off the treacherous coasts of Anglesey, including that of the Royal Charter, which sank in 1859.
  52. The RAF base at Valley on Anglesey is home to the search and rescue helicopters that cover northwest England and North Wales.
  53. Newborough Beach and Forest near Beaumaris has a wild population of around 300 red deer.
  54. Anglesey has two RSPB nature reserves – Cemlyn Bay and South Stack Cliffs.
  55. Cemlyn Nature Reserve is home to one of Britain’s largest breeding colonies of Arctic terns.
  56. Puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars, and guillemots nest on the cliffs of South Stack.
  57. Anglesey Sea Zoo near Benllech is a marine aquarium with sharks, lobsters, seahorses and octopuses.
  58. Plas Newydd, a historic house near Menai Bridge, has gardens designed in the 18th century by landscape architect Capability Brown. Know more facts about Plas Newydd
  59. The Marquess of Anglesey’s Column, built in 1816, commemorates Henry William Paget for his service at Waterloo.
  60. The seaside resort of Rhosneigr was built as a planned town in 1832 by the Williams-Bulkeley family.
  61. Rhosneigr Golf Club, founded in 1907, claims to be the only seaside golf course in Anglesey.
  62. The Anglesey Show is an annual agricultural show held in August showcasing livestock, crafts and horticulture.
  63. Anglesey hunts, dating back centuries, still ride out following hounds across the island in search of foxes and hares.
  64. Trearddur Bay near Holyhead has one of Anglesey’s most popular surfing beaches, renowned for its consistent waves.
  65. The Anglesey ultra marathon follows the entire 125-mile coastline in one go. It was established in 1983.
  66. Drivers like Jim Clark, Nigel Mansell, and Lewis Hamilton have used race circuits and testing tracks on Anglesey.
  67. The transmitter at Moelfre is one of the most powerful in the UK, broadcasting TV and radio signals across North Wales.
  68. RAF Valley hosted the school where Princes William and Harry learned to fly while training as helicopter pilots.
  69. Beaumaris hosts an annual Laugharne Weekend in April, a literature and arts festival named after Dylan Thomas’ home.
  70. The seaside village of Church Bay is named after the 6th-century St Gwenllwyfo, who established a nunnery there.
  71. Malltraeth Marsh is a protected wetland and Site of Special Scientific Interest, home to wildlife such as water voles.
  72. Rare Bryophyte moss species can be found growing on the old copper mine workings on Parys Mountain.
  73. The Anglesey Transport Museum near Llangefni displays vintage vehicles, including steam engines, tractors and cars.
  74. Anglesey Sea Salt is produced by hand harvesting salt from the waters around the island.
  75. Halen Môn (Anglesey Salt) has won the Great Taste Awards and provides salt for restaurants like Noma and The Fat Duck.
  76. The island’s main town Llangefni hosts a popular weekly market selling local produce, crafts and more.
  77. Llyn Coron in the west of Anglesey has crannogs – ancient dwellings built on artificial islands.
  78. Neolithic axes called celts made from Parys Mountain copper were traded across Europe up to 2500 BC.
  79. Penmon Priory on the eastern coast retains 13th-century buildings and crosses first built in the 6th century.
  80. King Henry II sailed from Ireland to arrive in Anglesey during his conquest of Wales in 1171.
  81. In the 18th and 19th centuries, ships from Anglesey participated in the transatlantic slave trade.
  82. The Marquess of Anglesey commanded the cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815
  83. Anglesey is sometimes nicknamed “Mam Cymru”, meaning “Mother of Wales”. This is due to its fertile farmlands that helped feed Wales.
  84. In AD61, Anglesey was the site of the final resistance by the Druids against the Roman conquest of Britain. The Romans massacred many Druids at their sacred groves.
  85. Anglesey is home to the longest wooden pier in Wales at Beaumaris. It measures 181m in length.
  86. The town of Amlwch on the northeast coast was once a major copper mining area. Parys Mountain was one of the largest copper mines in Europe during the 18th century.
  87. Wylfa Nuclear Power Station opened in 1971 and was in operation until 2015. It is now being decommissioned.
  88. RAF Valley on Anglesey is used to train UK fighter pilots. Prince William qualified as an RAF search and rescue pilot here.
  89. Anglesey has been featured in Hollywood films, including Clash of the Titans (2010) and Half Light (2006), and its locations were used for filming.
  90. The Anglesey Circuit racetrack hosts the Trac Mon race meetings, including Touring Cars, British Superbikes, and Classic F1.
  91. Bodorgan Hall Gardens contains one of Britain’s tallest Giant Redwood trees, imported from California in 1901.
  92. Anglesey Sea Zoo rescues and rehabilitates injured seals found around the coast before releasing them back into the wild.
  93. The Welsh language is widely spoken in Anglesey. Over 60% of the population speak it, one of the highest percentages in Wales.
  94. Anglesey’s fishing industry exports oysters, lobsters, crabs, and other shellfish from around Europe. Holyhead is a major fishing port.
  95. The Anglesey Column monument to the Marquess of Anglesey stands at 104 feet (27m) high on top of Holyhead Mountain.
  96. Plas Newydd house in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll was the home of the Marquis of Anglesey and has paintings by Rex Whistler.
  97. The Britannia Bridge, first built across the Menai Strait in 1850, was considered an engineering marvel of its time.
  98. The Easy Care breed of sheep was first developed by farmer Iolo Owen on the island of Anglesey in the 1960s. Iolo Owen wanted to create a breed of sheep that required minimal shearing and maintenance while still being productive and hardy.
  99. The Admiralty Arch in Holyhead is a smaller version of London’s more famous Marble Arch. It was built in 1824 to commemorate the visit of King George IV to Holyhead in 1821. The arch is made of marble from Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, and is situated within the Port of Holyhead on Ynys Halen. It is a Grade II* listed building and cannot be accessed by the public due to safety reasons.
  100. The Land Rover Defender was conceived on Anglesey nearly 70 years ago. Maurice Wilks, a farmer on the island, was walking along the beach at Red Wharf Bay when he drew a shape in the sand with a stick. This shape would later become a famous vehicle.
  101. Anglesey boasts around 120 ancient monuments, from burial chambers dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age to impressive standing stones. Additionally, you’ll find the medieval stronghold of Beaumaris Castle, constructed by Edward I, along with the breathtaking Plas Newydd stately home.

In conclusion, Anglesey is a captivating island with a rich history, diverse landscape, and vibrant culture. From its ancient monuments to its modern-day attractions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Anglesey is a must-visit destination whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply exploring a new destination. With its welcoming atmosphere and wealth of activities, it’s no wonder that visitors return time and time to experience all that this enchanting island has to offer.