From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
- % Water
714 km² (276 sq mi)
|ONS code||00NA (ONS)|
- Total (2011)
96 / km² (253/sq mi)
- Any skills
Isle of Anglesey County Council
|Member of Parliament|
- % Water
714 km² (276 sq mi)
|ONS code||00NA (ONS)|
- Total (2011)
96 / km² (253/sq mi)
- Any skills
Isle of Anglesey County Council
|Member of Parliament|
Anglesey or Ynys Môn (//; Welsh: Ynys Môn, [ˈənɨs ˈmoːn]) is an island off the north west coast of Wales. Two bridges span the Menai Strait, connecting it to the mainland: the Menai Suspension Bridge designed by Thomas Telford in 1826 and the Britannia Bridge. Formerly part of Gwynedd, Anglesey, Holy Island and other smaller islands now make up the Isle of Anglesey County.
Almost three quarters of the inhabitants are Welsh speakers and Ynys Môn, the Welsh name for the island, is used for the UK Parliament and National Assembly constituencies. With an area of 714 square kilometres (276 sq mi), Anglesey is the largest Welsh island, the fifth largest surrounding Great Britain (the largest outside of Scotland) and the largest in the Irish Sea.
"Anglesey" is derived from Old Norse, originally meaning either ǫngullsey ("Hook Island") or Ǫnglisey ("Ǫngli's Island"). No record of any such Ǫngli survives, but the place name was used by Viking raiders as early as the 10th century and was later adopted by the Normans during their invasions of Gwynedd. The traditional folk etymology reading the name as the "Island of the English" may account for its Norman use but is without merit, although the Angles' name itself is probably a cognate reference to the shape of the Angeln peninsula. All of these ultimately derive from the proposed Proto-Indo-European root *ank- ("to flex, bend, angle").
Ynys Môn, the island's Welsh name, was first recorded as Latin Mona by various Roman sources. It was likewise known to the Saxons as Monez. The Brittonic original was in the past taken to have meant "Island of the Cow". This view is linguistically untenable however according to modern scientific philology and so the etymology must remain a mystery.
Poetic names for Anglesey include the Old Welsh Ynys Dywyll ("Shady" or "Dark Isle") for its former groves and Ynys y Cedairn ("Isle of the Brave") for its royal courts; Gerald of Wales's Môn Mam Cymru ("Môn, Mother of Wales") for its productivity; and Y fêl Ynys ("Honey Isle").
Numerous megalithic monuments and menhirs are present on Anglesey, testifying to the presence of humans in prehistory. Plas Newydd is near one of 28 cromlechs that remain on uplands overlooking the sea. The Welsh Triads claim that Anglesey was once part of the mainland.
Historically, Anglesey has long been associated with druids. In AD 60 the Roman general Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, determined to break the power of the Celtic druids, attacked the island utilizing his amphibious Batavian contingent as a surprise vanguard assault and then destroying the shrine and the sacred groves. News of Boudica's revolt reached him just after his victory, causing him to withdraw his army before consolidating his conquest. The island was finally brought into the Roman Empire by Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman Governor of Britain, in AD 78. During the Roman occupation, the area was notable for the mining of copper. The foundations of Caer Gybi, a fort at Holyhead, are Roman, and the present road from Holyhead to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll may originally have been a Roman road.
British Iron Age and Roman sites have been excavated, and coins and ornaments discovered, especially by the 19th century antiquarian, William Owen Stanley. Following the Roman departure from Britain in the early 5th century, pirates from Ireland colonised Anglesey and the nearby Llŷn Peninsula. In response to this, Cunedda ap Edern, a Gododdin warlord from Scotland, came to the area and began the process of driving the Irish out. This process was continued by his son Einion Yrth ap Cunedda and grandson Cadwallon Lawhir ap Einion, the last Irish invaders finally being defeated in battle in 470. As an island, Anglesey was in a good defensive position and, because of this, Aberffraw became the site of the court, or Llys, of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. Apart from a devastating Danish raid in 853 it was to remain the capital until the 13th century, when improvements to the English navy made the location indefensible.
After the Irish, the island was invaded by Vikings, some of these raids being noted in famous sagas (see Menai Strait History), as well as Saxons, and Normans, before falling to Edward I of England in the 13th century.
Anglesey is a relatively low-lying island with 'mountains' spaced evenly over the north of the island. The highest six are: Holyhead Mountain (220 metres (720 ft)); Mynydd Bodafon (178 metres (584 ft)); Mynydd Eilian (177 metres (581 ft)); Mynydd y Garn (170 metres (560 ft)); Mynydd Llwydiarth (158 metres (518 ft)) and Parys Mountain (147 metres (482 ft)). To the south/south-east the island is separated from the Welsh mainland by the Menai Strait, which at its narrowest point is about 250 metres (270 yd) wide. To all other directions the island is surrounded by the Irish Sea. It is the 50th largest island in Europe.
Anglesey has several small towns scattered around the island, making it quite evenly populated. The largest towns are Holyhead, Llangefni, Benllech, Menai Bridge, and Amlwch. Beaumaris (Welsh: Biwmares), in the east of the island, features Beaumaris Castle, built by Edward I as part of his Bastide Town campaign in North Wales. Beaumaris acts as a yachting centre for the region, with many boats moored in the bay or off Gallows Point. The village of Newborough (Welsh: Niwbwrch), in the south, created when the townsfolk of Llanfaes were relocated to make way for the building of Beaumaris Castle, includes the site of Llys Rhosyr, another of the courts of the mediaeval Welsh princes, which features one of the oldest courtrooms in the United Kingdom. Llangefni is located in the centre of the island and is also the island's administrative centre. The town of Menai Bridge (Welsh: Porthaethwy) (in the south-east) expanded when the first bridge to the mainland was being built, in order to accommodate workers and construction. Up until that time Porthaethwy had been one of the principal ferry crossing points from the mainland. A short distance from this town lies Bryn Celli Ddu, a Stone Age burial mound. Also nearby is the village with the longest official place name in the United Kingdom, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Near it is Plas Newydd, ancestral home of the Marquesses of Anglesey. The town of Amlwch is situated in the northeast of the island and was once largely industrialised, having grown during the 18th century supporting the copper mining industry at Parys Mountain.
Other villages and settlements include Cemaes, Pentraeth, Gaerwen, Dwyran, Bodedern, Malltraeth, and Rhosneigr. The Anglesey Sea Zoo is a local tourist attraction, providing a look at and descriptions of local marine wildlife from lobsters to conger eels. All the fish and crustaceans on display are caught around the island and are placed in reconstructions of their natural habitat. They also make salt (evaporated from the local sea water) and breed commercially lobsters, for food, and oysters, for pearls, both from local stocks.
The island's entire rural coastline has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and features many sandy beaches, especially along its eastern coast between the towns of Beaumaris and Amlwch and along the western coast from Ynys Llanddwyn through Rhosneigr to the little bays around Carmel Head. The northern coastline is characterised by dramatic cliffs interspersed with small bays. The Anglesey Coastal Path is a 200-kilometre (124 mi) path which follows nearly the entire coastline. Tourism is now the most significant economic activity on the island. Agriculture provides the secondary source of income for the island's economy, with the local dairies being amongst the most productive in the region.
Major industries are restricted to Holyhead (Caergybi) which, until 30 September 2009, supported an aluminium smelter, and the Amlwch area, once a major copper mining town. Nearby is the Wylfa nuclear power station and a former bromine extraction plant. In 1971 the Wylfa reactors began producing electricity. With one reactor decommissioned in 2012 and the other expected to end production in 2015, the site is a strong possibility for a replacement reactor, planned by Horizon, a subsidiary of Hitachi, to start production in the 2020s. The replacement has been enthusiastically endorsed by Anglesey Council and Welsh Assembly members, but protestors have raised doubts about the economic and safety claims made for the plant. Anglesey also has 3 windfarms on the island, and more than 20 offshore wind turbines established near the north coast. There are plans for the world's first Tidal Flow turbines, near The Skerries, off the north coast, and for a major biomass plant on Holyhead Island. Developing such low carbon energy assets to their full potential forms part of the Anglesey Energy Island project.
When the aluminium smelting operation closed down in September 2009, it reduced its workforce from 450 to 80; this has been a major blow to the Island's economy, especially to the town of Holyhead. The Royal Air Force station RAF Valley (Y Fali) is home to the RAF Fast Jet Training School and also 22 Sqn Search and Rescue Helicopters, both units providing employment for approximately 500 civilians. RAF Valley is now home to the Headquarters of 22 Sqn Search and Rescue.
There is a wide range of smaller industries, mostly located in industrial and business parks especially at Llangefni and Gaerwen. These industries include an abattoir and fine chemicals manufacture as well as factories for timber production, aluminium smelting, fish farming and food processing. The island is also on one of the major routes from Britain to Ireland, via ferries from Holyhead, off the west of Anglesey on Holy Island, to Dún Laoghaire and Dublin Port.
There are a few natural lakes, mostly in the west, such as Llyn Llywenan, the largest natural lake on the island, Llyn Coron, and Cors Cerrig y Daran, but rivers are few and small. There are two large water supply reservoirs operated by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. These are Llyn Alaw to the north of the island and Llyn Cefni in the centre of the island, which is fed by the headwaters of the Afon Cefni.
The climate is humid (much less so than neighbouring mountainous Gwynedd) but generally equable under the effects of the Gulf Stream bathing the island. The land is of variable quality and it was probably much more fertile in the past. Anglesey is the home of the northernmost olive grove in Europe and presumably in the world.
Much of Anglesey is covered with relatively intensive cattle and sheep farming aided by modern agro-chemicals. In these areas the native vegetation and wildlife have essentially been destroyed. However there are a number of important wetland sites which have protected status. In addition the several lakes all have significant ecological interest including their support for a wide range of aquatic and semi-aquatic bird species. In the west, the Malltraeth Marshes are believed to be supporting an occasional visiting bittern and the nearby estuary of the Afon Cefni supports a bird population made internationally famous by the paintings of Charles Tunnicliffe, who lived for many years – and died at - Malltraeth on the Cefni estuary. The RAF airstrip at Mona is a nesting site for skylarks. The sheer cliff faces at South Stack near Holyhead provide nesting sites for huge numbers of auks including puffins, razorbills and guillemots together with choughs and peregrine falcons. Three sites on Anglesey are important for breeding terns – see Anglesey tern colonies. There are significant occurrences of the Juncus subnodulosus-Cirsium palustre fen-meadow plant association, a habitat characterised by certain hydrophilic grasses, sedges and forbs. Anglesey is home to several species of tern, including the Roseate Tern.
Almost the entire coastline of Anglesey is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty The coastal zone of Anglesey was designated as an AONB in 1966 and was confirmed as such in 1967. It was so designated in order to protect the aesthetic appeal and variety of the island’s coastal landscape and habitats from inappropriate development.
The AONB is predominantly a coastal designation, covering most of Anglesey’s 125 miles (201 km) coastline but also encompasses Holyhead Mountain and Mynydd Bodafon. Substantial areas of other land protected by the AONB form the backdrop to the coast. The approximate coverage of the Anglesey AONB is 221 km², and it is the largest AONB in Wales, covering as it does one third of the island.
A number of the habitats found on Anglesey are afforded even greater protection both through UK and European designations because of their nature conservation value, these include:
6 candidate Special Areas of Conservation (cSACs) 4 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) 1 National Nature Reserve 26 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 52 Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs)
The AONB also takes in three sections of open, undeveloped coastline which have been designated as Heritage Coast. These non-statutory designations complement the AONB and cover about 31 miles (50 km) of the coastline. The sections of Heritage Coast are:
Employment on Anglesey is mainly based on agriculture and tourism and in some cases a combination of both. The range of local produce found on the island is quite varied, from cheese and chocolate to wine. In a number of instances the local produce is also organic.
About two million people visit the island each year. In terms of recreation the island offers a number of opportunities to both residents and visitors alike, the majority enjoying the fine sandy beaches and the coastal landscape.
The most popular forms of recreation include sailing, angling, cycling, walking, wind surfing and jet skiing. These all place pressures and demands on the AONB. At the same time, the AONBs popularity for such activities clearly provides a contribution to the local economy.
References: Jones, W.E. Eifion Jones (Ed.)1990. A New Natural History of Anglesey. Anglesey Antiquarian Society, Llangefni.
The geology of Anglesey is notably complex and is frequently used for geology field trips by schools and colleges. Younger strata in Anglesey rest upon a foundation of very old Precambrian rocks that appear at the surface in four areas:
These Precambrian rocks are schists and phyllites, often much contorted and disturbed. The general line of strike of the formations in the island is from north-east to south-west. A belt of granitic rocks lies immediately north-west of the central Precambrian mass, reaching from Llanfaelog near the coast to the vicinity of Llanerchymedd. Between this granite and the Precambrian of Holyhead is a narrow tract of Ordovician slates and grits with Llandovery beds in places; this tract spreads out in the north of the island between Dulas Bay and Carmel Point. A small patch of Ordovician strata lies on the northern side of Beaumaris. In parts, these Ordovician rocks are much folded, crushed and metamorphosed, and they are associated with schists and altered volcanic rocks which are probably Precambrian. Between the eastern and central Precambrian masses Carboniferous rocks are found. The Carboniferous Limestone occupies a broad area south of Lligwy Bay and Pentraeth, and sends a narrow spur in a south-westerly direction by Llangefni to Malltraeth Sands. The limestone is underlain on the north-west by a red basement conglomerate and yellow sandstone (sometimes considered to be of Old Red Sandstone age). Limestone occurs again on the north coast about Llanfihangel and Llangoed; and in the south-west round Llanidan on the border of the Menai Strait. Puffin Island is made of Carboniferous Limestone. Malltraeth marsh is occupied by Coal Measures, and a small patch of the same formation appears near Tal-y-foel Ferry on the Menai Strait. A patch of rhyolitic/felsitic rocks form Parys Mountain, where copper and iron ochre have been worked. Serpentine (Mona Marble) is found near Llanfair-yn-neubwll and upon the opposite shore in Holyhead. There is abundant evidence of glaciation, and much boulder clay and drift sand covers the older rocks. Patches of blown sand occur on the south-west coast forming a spectacular dune landscape.
Under the name GeoMôn, and in recognition of its extraordinary geological heritage, the island gained membership of the European Geoparks Network in spring 2009. and the Global Geoparks Network in September 2010.
There are Google Earth files: Anglesey.kmz and Anglesey.kml, which show important geological locations on Anglesey, and include a number of geological map overlays, they can be downloaded from: Google Earth Geology, whereas a historiography of geological research on Anglesey is available at: Historiography of Geological Research.
Anglesey (together with Holy Island) is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales. In medieval times, before the conquest of Wales in 1283, Môn often had periods of temporary independence as it was frequently bequeathed to the heirs of kings as a sub kingdom of Gwynedd. The last times this occurred were for a few years after 1171 following the death of Owain Gwynedd when the island was inherited by Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd and again between 1246 - c.1255 when it was given to Owain Goch as his share of the kingdom. Following the conquest of Wales by Edward I it was created a county under the terms of the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284. Prior to this it had been divided into the cantrefi of:
In 1974 it formed a district of the new large county of Gwynedd, until in the 1996 reform of local government it was restored as a local government county. The county council is a unitary authority and is named "Isle of Anglesey County Council" (Welsh: Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn). In 2011, the Welsh Government appointed a panel of commissioners to administer the council, thus the elected members are not presently in control. The commissioners remained in control until an election was held in May 2013, restoring one again an elected Council. Prior to the direct administration, there were a majority of independent councillors, though members did not generally divide along party lines organised into five non-partisan groups on the council, containing a mix of party and independent candidates. The position remains substantially unchanged after the election although the Labour party has formed a governing coalition with the independents.
There are also 50 primary schools in Anglesey, all of which are co-educational day schools.
By road, Anglesey is linked from Holyhead to the mainland by the A55 which leads to Chester. Also the A5 runs from the east of the island (Llanfairpwllgwyngyll) to Bangor and as far as St Albans via the Menai Bridge. The A5025, which runs around the northern edge of Anglesey, and the A4080, running around the southern edge form a ring around the island.
There are six railway stations in Anglesey: Holyhead, Valley, Rhosneigr, Ty Croes, Bodorgan and Llanfairpwll. All are on the North Wales Coast Line and services are operated by Virgin Trains to London Euston, and by Arriva Trains Wales to Chester, Manchester Piccadilly, Birmingham New Street and Cardiff Central. Historically the island was also served by the Anglesey Central Railway which ran from Gaerwen to Amlwch and the Red Wharf Bay branch line between the Holland Arms railway station and Red Wharf Bay.
Holyhead Port is a busy ferry port handling more than 2 million passengers each year. Stena Line and Irish Ferries sail to Dublin and Dún Laoghaire in Ireland, forming the principal link for surface transport from central and northern England and Wales to Ireland.
Anglesey is independently represented in the Island Games (under its Welsh name Ynys Môn). The team finished joint 17th in the 2009 Games hosted by Åland, winning medals in gymnastics, sailing and shooting.
Anglesey made an unsuccessful bid to host the 2009 games, led by Ynys Môn MP Albert Owen. The island expected to benefit from more than £3m of spending if it had hosted the event. However, Anglesey currently lacks two facilities necessary for a successful bid, a six-lane competition swimming pool and an athletics track.
The Beaumaris Cricket Club was formed in 1858. Clubs at Holyhead, Amlwch, and Llangefni were formed within the following decade, but it wasn't until the 1880s that the sport became popular outside of the upper classes.
Several precursors to association football were highly popular in Anglesey. They had few rules, and were quite violent. Rhys Cox, at the turn of the 18th century, described a game in Llandrygan as ending with "[n]umbers of players […] left here and there on the road, some having limbs broken in the struggle, others severely injured, and some carried on biers to be buried in the churchyard nearest to where they had been mortally injured.". William Bulkeley, in his April 1734 diary, records that the violence of such games left no hard feelings, with both sides parting "as good friends as they came, after they had spend half an hour together cherishing their spirits with a cup of ale […] having finished Easter Holydays innocently and merrily".
Association football arrived on the island in the 1870s. It was initially met with resistance, given its perceived (by the islanders) associations with drunkenness and rowdiness, and the lower classes. One critic dismissed it as "unchristian practice". The Anglesey League, comprising teams from Amlwch, Beaumaris, Holyhead, Menai Bridge, Llandegfan, and Llangefni, was, however, formed in the 1895–1896 football season.
The Ynys Môn football team represents the island of Anglesey at the biannual Island Games, winning Gold in 1999.
Llangefni Town are reigning Cymru Alliance champions, only failing promotion due to the restructuring of the Welsh Premier League. Similarly, Holyhead Hotspur and Llanfairpwll were relegated despite finishing outside the usual relegation zone at the end of the 2009-10 season.
Every September the Anglesey Festival of Running takes place. There is a marathon, half-marathon, 10 km and 5 km race, as well as children's contests. Their slogan is Run the Island.
Anglesey has some of Britain's most challenging cliff and crag climbs.
The Anglesey Circuit (Welsh: Trac Môn) is a fully licensed MSA and ACU championship racing circuit, it opened in 1997.
The Royal Anglesey Yacht Club hosts the Menai Strait Regatta yearly.
Anglesey is Wales's largest island, separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait. The Straits host two annual open-water swimming contests; the Menai Strait Swim from Foel to Caernarfon (1 mile), and the Pier to Pier Open Water Swim, between Beaumaris and Garth Pier, Bangor.
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