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UK FACTS - WALES


Welsh Tourist Information

This information has been supplied with the kind help and assistance of the Wales Tourist Office. For further information please contact them on 01222 499 909Wales, on the western shores of Britain, has a maximum length of 140 miles and is 100 miles across at its widest.

It is a mountainous country. Around one quarter of the land is above 305m (1,000ft) and in the north the peak of Snowdon rises to 1,085m (3,560ft), the highest point in England and Wales.
Wales' 732-mile coastline is a varied one, consisting of bays, beaches, peninsulas and cliffs. The largest bay - Cardigan Bay - gives the west-facing Welsh coastline its distinctive 'horseshoe' shape. The largest island, connected to the mainland by road and rail bridges, is Anglesey in the north.

North Wales is a holiday area which attracts lovers of coast and countryside in equal measure. It is a varied region, with long stretches of sands, craggy mountains, towering headlands and deep valleys. Snowdon, the highest peak in Britain south of the Scottish
Highlands, dominates a rocky mass of mountains which acts as a magnet to climbers and walkers.

To the east, in contrast, is a much gentler landscape of heather moorlands, green vales and the rounded hills of Wales's border country. Predominantly rural in character, this thinly populated central region is the most peaceful and least explored part of Wales. As such, it attracts connoisseurs of the countryside - those who enjoy walking across silent hills, or discovering characterful old market towns, or spotting the rare Red Kite in the skies.

The Mid Wales coast, shaped by the great arc of Cardigan Bay, also has a timeless, tranquil quality. Mountains and farmlands roll down to the sea along a coastline dotted with outstandingly beautiful estuaries, quiet beaches and small resorts.

West Wales attracts many visitors. Pembrokeshire in the far west, home of Britain's only coastal national park, is justly famous for its spectacular seashores, while Carmarthenshire offers the dual appeal of restful landscapes and the long, sandy beaches of Carmarthen Bay.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park runs around the western tip of Wales from Amroth (near Tenby) in the south to St Dogmael's (near Cardigan) in the north, a distance of around 180 miles. Most visitors stay in or around the resorts of Tenby, with its picturesque Georgian harbour and beautiful beaches, and neighbouring Saundersfoot, a popular sailing centre.

South Wales, although the most populous part of Wales, also contains large areas of unspoilt countryside and coastline. The capital city of Cardiff is located here, along with Swansea, Wales's second city. Yet next door to Swansea is the beautiful Gower Peninsula, while close to Cardiff are the mountains of the Brecon Beacons, the lovely Wye Valley and Vale of Usk, and the Glamorgan Heritage Coast.

A red dragon passant on a green and white field. No-one really knows how the red dragon became the emblem of Wales. However, it seems that the early Britons probably used it as a battle standard, after the Roman occupation and that it may derive from a Roman Standard. One clue to this theory is that the English word "Dragon" and the Welsh word "Draig" both come from the same latin root "draco".

In any case the dragon has become a symbol identified with Wales. A legend recorded by an 8th century historian tells of a fight between a red and a white dragon, which ends with the eventual triumph of the red dragon - representing Wales. In 1959, the Queen commanded that Red Dragon on a green and white field be flown as the official Welsh flag.


Enjoy your visit to Wales!
 

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