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History of Capel Curig - the Heart of Snowdonia

Capel Curig tourist information and accommodation guide - hotels, guest houses, bed & breakfast, camp sites and self catering cottages, shops, places to eat, outdoor pursuits, attractions and much more
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{short description of image} Much of Capel Curig’s history revolves around the development of roads in the area - roads constructed by the Romans in their campaign to destroy the power of the druids, packhorse trails that were the principle means of access pre 18th century and turnpike/coach roads that brought the first passenger carrying vehicles to the village at the end of the 18th century .

Early travellers to the area were botanists such as Thomas Johnston who accompanied by three friends arrived in 1639. Others such as Edward Llwyd, Samuel Brewer and J.J.Dilcenius followed and they all added considerably to the botanical knowledge of Snowdonia

Thomas Pennant popularized the area with his three volumed work on "Tours of Wales" written in 1778. Other early tourists who wrote about Snowdonia were Fenton, Longville and Roscoe.

The breathtaking beauty of the area was a magnet to many famous artists including Turner.

In the early 17th century Capel Curig was renowned for its harp making

The old Turnpike road or Capel Curig Trust Road (now the A5) used gates and tollbars. Thomas Telford undertook the work of building a new and better road and work began in the Autumn of 1815.


The Plas y Brenin National Mountaineering Centre includes the Capel Curig Inn built by Lord Penrhyn in 1800 as the first fashionable hotel in the area. The site was chosen some way off the high road to take advantage of the well known view over the twin lakes of Llynnau Mymbyr towards the Snowdon horseshoe. A stable block to the left accommodated the carriages and horses of guests whilst the original hotel building with its pump room is nearest to the lake. The hotels popularity led to expansion in the village. In 1808 the Shrewsbury to Holyhead mail coach (named the Ancient Briton) was re-routed away from the North Wales coastal route to run via Capel Curig. Queen Victoria and Kings Edward VII, George V and Edward VIII all stayed at the inn which changed its name to the Royal Hotel in 1870.

The back bar and cellar of the Tyn-y-Coed Hotel date from over 300 years ago. Quarrymen walking from Trefriw would use the pub on their way to and from the Siabod quarry. Opposite the hotel is an old coach - the Yorkshire Rose which acts as a reminder of Capel Curig’s heyday from 1808 when the new Holyhead Mail Started to run along the "Great Irish Road" - this era ended in 1849 with the advent of railways

The small church of St Julitta is among the oldest in Snowdonia - built in the 13th or 14th century it is now cared for by the "Friends of St Julitta". Until 1848, Capel Curig formed a chapelry in the parish of Llandegai but was administered by the priest from Dolwyddelan. with the growing number of visitors to Capel Curig in the 19th century the old church became too small to accommodate the congregation and a new church was opened in 1883. The new church was dedicated to St. Curig, the boy martyr and the dedication of the old church was then changed to St. Julitta - Curig's mother

Nant y Benglog congregational chapel in the Ogwen Valley was opened in 1853 and is one of the smallest congregational chapels in Wales and continues to have regular services.

All around the area can be found the remnants of old slate mines - reminders of a major industry in days gone by.

Today the population of Capel Curig extends to just over two hundred. Tourism and Agriculture are the main sources of employment - each complementing the other
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