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Language and Culture

In this area Wales’s remarkable and unique culture has survived. The Welsh language is the medium of that culture and is spoken in the school and in most homes.
Welsh is the oldest language in Britain. Like most European languages it has evolved from the Indo-European language.
It is the language of the Mabinogion tales told in the courts of the princes of Gwynedd centuries ago.
In 1588 the people of Wales could read the Bible in their own language for the first time thanks to Bishop William Morgan who translated it.
Despite the ‘Welsh Not’ (a piece of wood that was hung around a pupil’s neck if they dared to speak their mother tongue in school), and the ‘Treachery of the Blue Books’ in 1847 (a report that concluded that the Welsh language was a hindrance to children’s education), and as a result of language protests and the growth in Welsh medium schools the language remains strong and the culture vibrant.
There are two annual festivals in Wales that celebrate the language’s strength and creativity. They are the Urdd National Eisteddfod and the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
The Urdd National Eisteddfod is one of Europe’s largest youth festivals. Competitors from all over Wales flock to it and youngsters from this area participate every year.
The National Eisteddfod of Wales is held at the beginning of August each year and attracts around 6,000 competitors and 150,000 visitors over eight days.
Both festivals change their location annually, alternating between North and South Wales.
In addition to the competing there’s a wide range of activities to enjoy including gigs, drama, music concerts, lectures, literature talks, art exhibitions, singing and dancing, all held through the medium of one of Europe’s oldest languages.

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