The communities of Betws-y-Coed, Llanrwst and Trefriw are located where the beautiful Conwy Valley meets the spectacular Snowdonia National Park. Betws-y-Coed, meaning `the prayer house in the woods' boasts the title of North Wales' most popular inland resort. The community developed from ancient times when St Michael's Church was built and later became a centre for lead mining. When Telford's London to Holyhead road came through in the early nineteenth century and the railway came in 1868, Betws grew rapidly as a tourist destination.
The village is situated where the three rivers Llugwy, Lledr and Machno meet the river Conwy, and among its attractions are the famous Swallow Falls and Pont y Pair. Betws-y-Coed's neighbour, Llanrwst, developed as a market town in the fourteenth century and became famous for its wool trade and also for harp and clock manufacturing. Llanrwst, noted for its famous bridge, is the `capital' of the Conwy Valley. Across the river from Llanrwst is Trefriw village, a perfect spot for walkers. In Edwardian times it was dubbed `The Healthiest Place in Wales', a fair claim due to its nearby Chalybeate Spa, dating back to the Roman times.
This beautifully illustrated book reveals the fascinating history of these charming Welsh settlements and shows how they have developed.
John was born and brought up on the North Wales coast. From an early age he has had an interest in local history, and has watched with interest the modern development of Conwy since the middle of the twentieth century. His other interests are public transport, tourism and photography. His first book was on the subject of the development of public transport and tourism in North Wales. John spent his working life in the Church in Wales and now lives in retirement in Deganwy.