Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Isle of Anglesey county|
- % Water
- Total (April 29, 2001)
94 / km²
- Any skills
|Isle of Anglesey County Council|
|Control:||Majority of independents*|
|AMs:||Ieuan Wyn Jones (Constituency)|
North Wales (Regional)
[The Isle of] Anglesey or Anglesea (Welsh: [Ynys] Môn, pronounced as "Uh-niss Mawn", in IPA), is an island and county in at the Western extremity of North Wales. It is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water called the Menai Strait. It is connected to the mainland by two bridges, the original Menai Suspension Bridge (carrying the A5), built by Thomas Telford in 1826 as a road link, and the newer, twice reconstructed Britannia Bridge, carrying the A55 and the North Wales Coast Railway line.
Historically, Anglesey has long been associated with the Druids. In c. AD 60 the Roman general Suetonius Paullinus, determined to break the power of the druids, attacked the island, destroying the shrine and the sacred groves. The Romans called the island Mona. Following the Romans, the island was invaded by Vikings, Saxons, and Normans before falling to King Edward I of England, in the 13th century.
Môn (a cow) is the Welsh name of Anglesey. The English name itself a corrupted form of Old Norse, meaning the 'Isle of Ongull'. Old Welsh names are Ynys Dywyll ("Dark Isle") and Ynys y cedairn (cedyrn or kedyrn; "Isle of brave folk"). It is the Mona of Tacitus (Ann. xiv. 29, Agr. xiv. 18), Pliny the Elder (iv. 16) and Dio Cassius (62). It is called Mam Cymru ("Mother of Wales") by Giraldus Cambrensis. Clas Merddin, and Y fêl Ynys (honey isle) are other names. According to the Triads (67), Anglesey was once part of the mainland, as geology proves. The island was the seat of the Druids, of whom 28 cromlechs remain, on uplands overlooking the sea, e.g. at Plâs Newydd. The Druids were attacked in 61 by Suetonius Paulinus, and by Agricola in 78. In the 5th century Caswallon lived here, and here, at Aberffraw, the princes of Gwynedd lived till 1277. The present road from Holyhead to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll is originally Roman. British and Roman camps, coins and ornaments have been dug up and discussed, especially by the Hon. Mr. Stanley of Penrhos. Pen Caer Gybi is Roman. The island was devastated by the Danes (Dub Gint or black nations, gentes), especially in 853.
Anglesey is a relatively low-lying island with slight risings such as Parys Mountain , Cadair Mynachdy (or Monachdy, i.e.. "chair of the monastery"; there is a Nanner, "convent," not far away), Mynydd Bodafon and Holyhead Mountain. It was known as the breadbasket of Wales, referred to during the Middle Ages as Anglesey, Mother of Wales (Welsh: Môn, Mam Cymru). This gave it substantial strategic importance during the struggles between the English kings and the Welsh princes.
Anglesey has many small towns scattered all around the island, making it quite evenly populated. Beaumaris (Welsh: Biwmares), to the south of the island, features Beaumaris Castle, built by Edward I as part of his campaign in North Wales. The town of Newborough (Welsh: Niwbwrch), created when the townfolk of Llanfaes were relocated to make way for the building of Beaumaris Castle, houses the site of Llys Rhosyr , the court of the mediaeval Welsh princes, which features one of the oldest courtrooms in the United Kingdom. Beaumaris also has a large marina, and acts as a yachting centre for the region. Llangefni is located in the centre of the island and is also the island's administrative centre. The town of Menai Bridge (Welsh: Porthaethwy) grew up when the first bridge to the mainland was being built, in order to accommodate workers and construction. A short distance from this town lies Bryn Celli Ddu, a Stone Age burial mound. The town of Amlwch is situated in the northeast of the island and was once largely industrialised, having grown during the 18th century thanks to the now-vacated copper mining industry.
The island also has the village with the second longest place name in the United Kingdom, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Other towns and settlements include Cemaes, Benllech, Pentraeth, Gaerwen , Dwyran , Bodedern 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 from around the island and are placed in reconstructions of their home habitat. They also make salt (evaporated from the local sea water) and commercially breed lobsters, for food, and oysters, for pearls, both from local stocks.
The island's entire rural coastline had been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and features many sandy beaches, especially along its eastern coast between the towns of Menai Bridge and Amlwch. This leads to the island's principal industry being tourism. Agriculture provides the secondary source of income for the island's economy, with the local dairies being amongst the most productive in the region. There is also a nuclear power station, Wylfa Power Station , at Wylfa Head on the north coast, as well as factories for timber production, aluminium smelting, fish farming and food processing.
There are a few lakes mostly in the west, such as Cors cerrig y daran, but rivers are few and small. There are two large water supply reservoirs operated by Dwr Cymru . These are Llyn Cefni in the centre of the island, which is fed by the headwaters of the Afon Cefni , and Llyn Alaw to the north of the island. Aswell as Llyn Llywenan , the largest natural lake on Anglesey/Ynys Mon .
The climate is humid but generally equable due the effects of the gulf stream bathing the island. The land is of variable quality and it may have been more fertile in the past. Major industries are restricted to Holyhead which supports an aluminium smelter and the Amlwch area where the Wylfa nuclear power station is located close to a bromine extraction plant. There is a wide range of smaller industries, mostly located in industrial and business parks especially at Llangefni and Gaerwen . These industries include an abbatoir and fine chemicals manufacture.
Ecology and Conservation
Much of Anglesey is covered with relatively intensive cattle and sheep farming aided by modern agro-chemicals. In these areas there is little of conservation worth. However there are a number of important wet-land sites which have protected status. In addition the several lakes all have significant ecological interest including their support for a wide range of aqautic 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.
The geology of Anglesey is famously complex and is frequently used for geology field trips by schools and colleges. Younger strata in Anglesey rest upon a foundation of very old pre-Cambrian rocks which appear at the surface in four areas:–
- a western region including Holyhead and Llanfaethlu,
- a central area about Aberffraw and Trefdraeth,
- an eastern region which includes Newborough, Caerwen and Pentraeth and
- a coastal region at Glyn Garth between Menai Bridge and Beaumaris
These pre-Cambrian rocks are schists and slates, 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 pre-Cambrian mass, reaching from Llanfaelog near the coast to the vicinity of Llanerchymedd. Between this granite and the pre-Cambrian 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 pre-Cambrian. Between the eastern and central pre-Cambrian masses carboniferous rocks are found. The carboniferous limestone occupies a broad area south of Llugwy 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 Tall-y-foel Ferry on the Menai Strait. A patch of granitic and felsitic rocks form Parys Mountain , where copper and iron ochre have been worked. Serpentine (Mona Marble) is found near Llanfaerynneubwll and upon the opposite shore in Holyhead. There are abundant evidences of glaciation, and much boulder clay and drift sand covers the older rocks. Patches of blown sand occur on the south-west coast.
Anglesey (together with Holy Island) is one of the thirteen traditional counties of Wales. In 1974 it formed a district of the new large administrative county of Gwynedd, until in the 1996 reform of local government it was restored as an administrative county. The county council is a unitary authority and is named "Isle of Anglesey County Council / Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn". At the latest local elections in 2004, while there is still a majority of independent councillors (28 out of 40), the notion that the council is controlled by independents is incorrect. Technically, the council is under no overall control - the independents, along with some of the party-backed members, are divided into three factions, the largest of which consists of some 14 councillors.
- Photos of the Parys Mountain Copper Mine near Amlwch, Anglesey
- Anglesey Môn Info Web - An information site about Anglesey.
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