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Map of the National Parks of Wales.Main article: Geography of Wales
See also: Geology of Wales and List of towns in Wales
Wales is located on a peninsula in central-west Great Britain. Its area is about 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi) – about the same size as Massachusetts, Israel, Slovenia or El Salvador and about a quarter of the area of Scotland. It is about 274 km (170 mi) north–south and 97 km (60 mi) east–west. Wales is bordered by England to the east and by sea in the other three directions: the Môr Hafren (Bristol Channel) to the south, Celtic Sea to the west, and the Irish Sea to the north. Altogether, Wales has over 1,200 km (746 mi) of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest being Ynys Môn (Anglesey) in the northwest.
Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), Gwynedd is the highest mountain in WalesMuch of Waless diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. The mountains were shaped during the last ice age, the Devensian glaciation. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia (Eryri), and include Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), which, at 1,085 m (3,560 ft) is the highest peak in Wales. The 14 (or possibly 15) Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914 m) high are known collectively as the Welsh 3000s, and are located in a small area in the north-west.
The highest outside the 3000s is Aran Fawddwy 905m (2,969 ft) in the south of Snowdonia. The Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) are in the south (highest point Pen-y-Fan 886 m2,907 ft, and are joined by the Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales (after which the earliest geological period of the Paleozoic era, the Cambrian, is named).
In the mid-19th century, two prominent geologists, Roderick Murchison and Adam Sedgwick, used their studies of the geology of Wales to establish certain principles of stratigraphy and palaeontology. After much dispute, the next two periods of the Paleozoic era, the Ordovician and Silurian, were named after ancient Celtic tribes from this area. The older rocks underlying the Cambrian rocks were referred to as Pre-cambrian.
Wales has three national parks: Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast. It has four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These areas include Anglesey, the Clwydian Range, the Gower Peninsula and the Wye Valley. The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the whole of the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in 1956.
Tor Bay and Three Cliffs Bay, Gower (Gŵyr), Swansea.Much of the coastline of South and West Wales is designated as Heritage Coast. The coastline of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, the Gower Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion is particularly wild and impressive. Gower, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay all have clean blue water, white sand beaches and impressive marine life. Despite this scenic splendour the coast of Wales has a dark side; the south and west coasts of Wales, along with the Irish and Cornish coasts, are frequently blasted by huge Atlantic westerliessouth westerlies that, over the years, have sunk and wrecked many vessels.
On the night of 25 October 1859, 114 ships were destroyed off the coast of Wales when a hurricane blew in from the Atlantic; Cornwall and Ireland also had a huge number of fatalities on its coastline from shipwrecks that night. Wales has the somewhat unenviable reputation, along with Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany, of having per square mile, some of the highest shipwreck rates in Europe.citation needed The shipwreck situation was particularly bad during the industrial era when ships bound for Cardiff got caught up in Atlantic gales and were decimated by "the cruel sea".
The steeple of St Giless Church in WrexhamLike Cornwall, Brittany and Ireland, the clean, clear waters of South-west Wales of Gower, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay attract marine visitors including basking sharks, Atlantic grey seals, leatherback turtles, dolphins, porpoises, jellyfish, crabs and lobsters. Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion in particular are recognised as an area of international importance for Bottlenose dolphins, and New Quay in the middle of Cardigan Bay has the only summer residence of bottle nosed dolphins in the whole of the UK.
The modern border between Wales and England was largely defined in the 16th century, based on medieval feudal boundaries. The boundary line (which very roughly follows Offas Dyke up to 40 mi (64 km) of the northern coast) separates Knighton from its railway station, virtually cuts off Church Stoke from the rest of Wales, and slices straight through the village of Llanymynech (where a pub actually straddles the line).
Llyn y Fan Fawr, Carmarthenshire, mountain range near Llyn y Fan Fach within the Brecon Beacons National Park
St Winefrides Well, one of the Seven Wonders of WalesThe Seven Wonders of Wales is a list in doggerel verse of seven geographic and cultural landmarks in Wales probably composed in the late 18th century under the influence of tourism from England.73 All the "wonders" are in north Wales: Snowdon (the highest mountain), the Gresford bells (the peal of bells in the medieval church of All Saints at Gresford), the Llangollen bridge (built in 1347 over the River Dee, Afon Dyfrdwy), St Winefrides Well (a pilgrimage site at Holywell, Treffynnon) in Flintshire), the Wrexham (Wrecsam) steeple (16th century tower of St. Giles Church in Wrexham), the Overton Yew trees (ancient yew trees in the churchyard of St. Marys at Overton-on-Dee) and Pistyll Rhaeadr – a tall waterfall, at 240 ft (73 m). The wonders are part of the rhyme:
Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdons mountain without its people,
Overton yew trees, St Winefrides Wells,
Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells.
Highest maximum temperature: 35.2 °C (95.4 °F) at Hawarden Bridge, Flintshire on 2 August 1990.
Lowest minimum temperature: −23.3 °C (−10 °F) at Rhayader, Radnorshire (now Powys) on 21 January 1940.74
Maximum number of hours of sunshine in a month: 354.3 hours at Dale Fort, Pembrokeshire in July 1955.75
Minimum number of hours of sunshine in a month: 2.7 hours at Llwynon, Brecknockshire in January 1962.76
Maximum rainfall in a day (0900 UTC – 0900 UTC): 211 millimetres (8 in) at Rhondda, Glamorgan, on 11 November 1929.77
Wettest spot – an average of 4,473 millimetres (176 in) rain a year at Crib Goch in Snowdonia, Gwynedd (making it also the wettest spot in the United Kingdom).7879
Main article: Economy of Wales
The main building of Cardiff UniversityParts of Wales have been heavily industrialised since the 18th century and the early Industrial Revolution. Coal, copper, iron, silver, lead, and gold have been extensively mined in Wales, and slate has been quarried. By the second half of the 19th century, mining and metallurgy had come to dominate the Welsh economy, transforming the landscape and society in the industrial districts of south and north-east Wales.
From the middle of the 19th century until the mid-1980s, the mining and export of coal was a major part of the Welsh economy. Cardiff was once the largest coal exporting port in the world9 and, for a few years before World War One, handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool.10
From the early 1970s, the Welsh economy faced massive restructuring with large numbers of jobs in traditional heavy industry disappearing and being replaced eventually by new ones in light industry and in services. Over this period Wales was successful in attracting an above average share of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UK. However, much of the new industry has essentially been of a "branch factory" type, often routine assembly employing low skilled workers. The Cardiff-based Bank of Wales was established in 1971, but was later taken over by HBOS and absorbed into the parent company.
Wales has struggled to develop or attract high value-added employment in sectors such as finance and research and development, attributable in part to a comparative lack of economic mass (i.e. population) – Wales lacks a large metropolitan centre and most of the country, except south-east Wales, is sparsely populated. The lack of high value-added employment is reflected in lower economic output per head relative to other regions of the UK – in 2002 it stood at 90% of the EU25 average and around 80% of the UK average. However, care is needed in interpreting these data, which do not take account of regional differences in the cost of living. The gap in real living standards between Wales and more prosperous parts of the UK is not pronounced. In June 2008, Wales made history by becoming the first nation in the world to be awarded Fairtrade Status.80
British one Pound coin (reverse), depicting the Welsh dragon (Welsh: Y Ddraig Goch).In 2002, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Wales was just over £26 billion ($48 billion), giving a per capita GDP of £12,651 ($19,546). As of 2006, the unemployment rate in Wales stood at 5.7% – above the UK average, but lower than in the majority of EU countries.
As with the rest of the United Kingdom, the currency used in Wales is the pound sterling, represented by the symbol £. The Bank of England, created as the central bank for the Kingdom of England (which included Wales), is responsible for the currency of the entire UK. Banks in Wales, unlike those in Scotland and Northern Ireland, do not have the right to issue banknotes. The Royal Mint, who issue the coinage circulated over the whole of the UK, have been based at a single site in Llantrisant, south Wales since 1980, having been progressively transferring operations from their Tower Hill, London site since 1968.81 Since decimalisation, in 1971, at least one of the coins in UK circulation has depicted a Welsh design, e.g. the 1995 and 2000 one Pound coin (shown left). However, Wales has not been represented on any coin minted from 2008.82
Due to poor-quality soil, much of Wales is unsuitable for crop-growing, and livestock farming has traditionally been the focus of agriculture. The Welsh landscape (protected by three national parks) and 42 Blue Flag beaches, as well as the unique culture of Wales, attract large numbers of tourists, who play an especially vital role in the economy of rural areas.83 See Tourism in Wales.
Main article: NHS Wales
The logo of NHS Wales.Public healthcare in Wales is provided by NHS Wales (Welsh: GIG Cymru), which was originally formed as part of the NHS structure for England and Wales created by the National Health Service Act 1946, but with powers over the NHS in Wales coming under the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969.84 In turn, responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Assembly and Executive under devolution in 1999.
NHS Wales provides public healthcare in Wales and employs some 90,000 staff, making it Wales’ biggest employer.85 The Minister for Health and Social Services is the person within the Welsh Assembly Government who holds cabinet responsibilities for both health and social care in Wales.
Main articles: Demography of Wales and Demography of the United Kingdom
Swansea city centre and Swansea Bay. Swansea is the second most populous city in WalesThe population of Wales in the United Kingdom Census 2001 was 2,903,085, which has risen to 2,958,876 according to 2005 estimates. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the cities of Cardiff (Caerdydd), Swansea (Abertawe) and Newport (Casnewydd) and surrounding areas, with another significant population in the north-east around Wrexham (Wrecsam).
According to the 2001 census, 96% of the population was White British, and 2.1% non-white (mainly of British Asian origin).86 Most non-white groups were concentrated in the southern port cities of Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. Welsh Asian communities developed mainly through immigration since World War II. More recently, parts of Wales have seen an increased number of immigrants settle from recent EU accession countries such as Poland – although some Poles also settled in Wales in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff.In the 2001 Labour Force Survey, 72% of adults in Wales considered their national identity as wholly and another 7% considered themselves to be partly Welsh (Welsh and British were the most common combination). A recent study estimated that 35% of the Welsh population have surnames of Welsh origin (5.4% of the English population and 1.6% of the Scottish also bore Welsh names).87 However, some names identified as English (such as Greenaway) may be corruptions of Welsh (Goronwy). Other names common in Wales, such as Richards, may have originated simultaneously in other parts of Britain.
In 2002, the BBC used the headline "English and Welsh are races apart" to report a genetic survey of test subjects from market towns in England and Wales.88 Other recent researchers, such as Bryan Sykes and Stephen Oppenheimer, have argued that the majority of modern-day English and Welsh people trace a common ancestry to migrants who arrived in the British Isles during the Mesolithic and the Neolithic periods, although the National Museum Wales consider the conclusions made to date from genetic studies "implausible".8
In 2001 a quarter of the Welsh population were born outside Wales, mainly in England; about 3% were born outside the UK. The proportion of people who were born in Wales differs across the country, with the highest percentages in the South Wales Valleys, and the lowest in Mid Wales and parts of the north-east. In both Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil 92% were Welsh-born, compared to only 51% in Flintshire and 56% in Powys.89 One of the reasons for this is that the locations of the most convenient hospitals in which to give birth are over the border in Englandcitation needed. Around 1.75 million Americans report themselves to have Welsh ancestry,90 as did 467,000 Canadians in Canadas 2006 census.91
Main articles: Welsh language and English language
The Eisteddfod is an annual celebration of Welsh culture, conducted in Welsh.The Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 provide that the English and Welsh languages be treated on a basis of equality. However, even English has only de facto status in the UK (see Languages of the United Kingdom) and this has led political groups like Plaid Cymru to question whether such legislation is sufficient to ensure the survival of the Welsh language.92
English is spoken by almost all people in Wales and is therefore the de facto main language (see Welsh English). However, northern and western Wales retain many areas where Welsh is spoken as a first language by the majority of the population and English is learnt as a second language. 21.7% of the Welsh population is able to speak or read Welsh to some degree (based on the 2001 census), although only 16% claim to be able to speak, read and write it,18 which may be related to the stark differences between colloquial and literary Welsh. According to a language survey conducted in 2004, a larger proportion than 21.7% claim to have some knowledge of the language.93
Today there are very few truly monoglot Welsh speakers, other than small children, but individuals still exist who may be considered less than fluent in English and rarely speak it. There were still many monoglots as recently as the middle of the 20th century.94 Road signs in Wales are generally in both English and Welsh; where place names differ in the two languages, both versions are used (e.g. "Cardiff" and "Caerdydd"), the decision as to which is placed first being that of the local authority.
During the 20th century a number of small communities of speakers of languages other than English or Welsh, such as Bengali or Cantonese, have established themselves in Wales as a result of immigration. This phenomenon is almost exclusive to urban Wales. The Italian Government funds the teaching of Italian to Welsh residents of Italian ancestry. These other languages do not have legal equality with English and Welsh, although public services may produce information leaflets in minority ethnic languages where there is a specific need, as happens elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Code-switching is common in all parts of Wales, and the result is known by various names, such as "Wenglish" or (in Caernarfon) "Cofi".
St. Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.The largest religion in Wales is Christianity, with 72% of the population describing themselves as Christian in the 2001 census. The Church in Wales with 56,000 adherents is the largest denomination.95 It is a province of the Anglican Communion, and was part of the Church of England until disestablishment in 1920 under the Welsh Church Act 1914.
The Presbyterian Church of Wales was born out of the Welsh Methodist revival in the 18th century and seceded from the Church of England in 1811.
The Roman Catholic Church makes up the next largest denomination at 3% of the population. Non-Christian religions are small in Wales, making up approximately 1.5% of the population. 18% of people declare no religion. The Apostolic Church holds its annual Apostolic Conference in Swansea each year, usually in August. The patron saint of Wales is Saint David (Welsh: Dewi Sant), with St Davids Day (Welsh: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant) celebrated annually on 1 March.
In 1904, there was a religious revival (known by some as the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival or simply The 1904 Revival) which started through the evangelism of Evan Roberts and took many parts of Wales by storm with massive numbers of people voluntarily converting to nonconformist and Anglican Christianity, sometimes whole communities. Many of the present-day Pentecostal churches in Wales claim to have originated in this revival.
Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in Wales, with more than 30,000 reported Muslims in the 2001 census. There are also communities of Hindus and Sikhs mainly in the South Wales cities of Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, while curiously the largest concentration of Buddhists is in the western rural county of Ceredigion. Judaism was the first non-Christian faith (excluding pre-Roman animism) to be established in Wales, however as of the year 2001 the community has declined to approximately 2,000.96 Paganism and Wicca are also growing in Wales. According to the 2001 Census, there are 7,000-recorded Wiccans in England and Wales, with 31,000 Pagans.97
Main article: Culture of Wales
Part of a series on the
Culture of Wales
Calennig · Dydd Santes Dwynwen · Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau · Saint Davids Day · Calan Mai · Calan Awst · Calan Gaeaf · Gŵyl Mabsant · Eisteddfod
Traditional Welsh costume
Bara brith · Bara Lafwr · Cawl · Cawl Cennin · Crempog · Gower cuisine · Selsig Morgannwg · Tatws Pum Munud · Welsh breakfast · Welsh cake · Welsh rarebit
Cymwd · Cantref · Historic counties
Welsh (Cymraeg) · Welsh English · History of the Welsh language · Welsh placenames · Welsh surnames · Welsh medium education · Y Fro Gymraeg
Welsh law · Contemporary Welsh law
Welsh-language literature · English-language literature · Medieval Welsh literature · Welsh-language authors · Welsh-language poets
Cerdd Dant · Crwth · Cymanfa Ganu · Cynghanedd · Noson Lawen · Pibgorn · Tabwrdd · Telyn Deires · Twmpath · Welsh bagpipes
Welsh mythology · Matter of Britain · Arthurian legend
Boxing · Cnapan · Cricket · Football · Rugby league · Rugby union
Flag of Wales · Flag of Saint David · List of Welsh flags · Welsh Dragon · Welsh heraldry · Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
v • d • e
The National Library of Wales, AberystwythWales has a distinctive culture including its own language, customs, holidays and music.
Wales is primarily represented by the symbol of the red Welsh Dragon, but other national emblems include the leek and daffodil. The Welsh words for leeks (cennin) and daffodils (cennin Pedr, lit. "(Saint) Peters Leeks") are closely related and it is likely that one of the symbols came to be used due to a misunderstanding for the other one, though it is unclear which came first.
Main article: Welsh art
Many works of Celtic art have been found in Wales.98 In the Early Medieval period, the Celtic Christianity of Wales participated in the Insular art of the British Isles and a number of illuminated manuscripts from Wales survive, of which the 8th century Hereford Gospels and Lichfield Gospels are the most notable. The 11th century Ricemarch Psalter (now in Dublin) is certainly Welsh, made in St Davids, and shows a late Insular style with unusual Viking influence.
The best of the few Welsh artists of the 16th–18th centuries tended to move elsewhere to work, but in the 18th century the dominance of landscape art in English art bought them motives to stay at home, and bought an influx of artists from outside to paint Welsh scenery. The Welsh painter Richard Wilson (1714–82) is arguably the first major British landscapist, but rather more notable for Italian scenes than Welsh ones, although he did paint several on visits from London.99
The Bard, 1774, by Thomas Jones (1742–1803)It remained difficult for artists relying on the Welsh market to support themselves until well into the 20th century. An Act of Parliament in 1857 provided for the establishment of a number of art schools throughout the United Kingdom, and the Cardiff School of Art opened in 1865. Graduates still very often had to leave Wales to work, but Betws-y-Coed became a popular centre for artists, and its artists colony helped form the Royal Cambrian Academy in 1881.100 The sculptor Sir William Goscombe John made many works for Welsh commissions, although he had settled in London. Christopher Williams, whose subjects were mostly resolutely Welsh, was also based in London. Thomas E. Stephens and Andrew Vicari had very successful careers as portraitists based respectively in the United States and France. Sir Frank Brangwyn was Welsh by origin, but spent little time in Wales.
Perhaps the most famous Welsh painters, Augustus John and his sister Gwen John, mostly lived in London and Paris; however the landscapists Sir Kyffin Williams and Peter Prendergast remained living in Wales for most of their lives, though well in touch with the wider art world. Ceri Richards was very engaged in the Welsh art scene as a teacher in Cardiff, and even after moving to London; he was a figurative painter in international styles including Surrealism. Various artists have moved to Wales, including Eric Gill, the London-born Welshman David Jones, and the sculptor Jonah Jones. The Kardomah Gang was a intellectual circle centred on the poet Dylan Thomas and poet and artist Vernon Watkins in Swansea, which also included the painter Alfred Janes. Today much art is produced in Wales, as elsewhere in a great diversity of styles.
South Wales had several notable potteries in the late 18th and 19th centuries, beginning with the Cambrian Pottery (1764–1870, also known as "Swansea pottery") and including Nantgarw Pottery near Cardiff, which was in operation from 1813 to 1822 making fine porcelain, and then utilitarian pottery until 1920. Portmeirion Pottery (from 1961) has never in fact been made in Wales.
Main article: Sport in Wales
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.The most popular sports in Wales are rugby union and football. Wales, like other constituent nations, enjoys independent representation in major world sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and in the Commonwealth Games (however as Great Britain in the Olympics). As in New Zealand, rugby is a core part of the national identity, although football has traditionally been the more popular sport in the North Wales. Many of Waless top athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen train at the Welsh Institute of Sport and National Indoor Athletics Centre in Cardiff, the Wales National Velodrome in Newport and the Wales National Pool in Swansea.
The Welsh national rugby union team takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship. Wales has also competed in every Rugby World Cup, hosting the tournament in 1999, with a best result of third place in the inaugural competition. Welsh teams also play in the European Heineken Cup and Magners League (rugby union) alongside teams from Ireland and Scotland, the EDF Energy Cup and the European Heineken Cup. The traditional club sides, were replaced in major competitions with five regional sides in 2003 replaced by the four professional regions (Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys) in 2004. The former club sides now operate as semi-professional clubs in their own league, linked to the four regional sides. Wales has produced ten members of the International Rugby Hall of Fame including Gareth Edwards, J.P.R. Williams and Gerald Davies.
Wales has had its own football league since 1992 although, for historical reasons, two Welsh clubs (Cardiff City, and Swansea City) play in the English Football League and another four Welsh clubs in its feeder leagues. (Wrexham, Newport County, Merthyr Tydfil, and Colwyn Bay).
In international cricket, England and Wales field a single representative team which is administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). There is a separate Wales team that occasionally participates in limited-overs domestic competition. Glamorgan County Cricket Club is the only Welsh participant in the England and Wales County Championship. Waless other main bat-and-ball sport is British Baseball, which is chiefly confined to Cardiff and Newport, two cities with very long baseball traditions.
In recent years, rugby league has undergone a revival in Wales, with newly formed teams gaining in popularity.101 The Wales national rugby league team was formed in 1907, making them the third oldest national side. Before 1975 and in the 1980s they have been represented by the Great Britain national rugby league team in the World Cup.
Wales played Papua New Guinea at rugby league on the Kumuls tour of Europe. The match finished 50–10 in favour of WalesWales has produced several world-class snooker players such as Ray Reardon, Terry Griffiths, Mark Williams, Matthew Stevens and Ryan Day. Amateur participation in the sport is very high.
Wales has also produced a number of athletes who have made a mark on the world stage, including the 110-metre hurdler Colin Jackson who is a former world record holder and the winner of numerous Olympic, World and European medals as well as Tanni Grey-Thompson who has won Paralympic gold medals and marathon victories.
Wales has produced several world-class boxers. Joe Calzaghe the half-Welsh, half-Italian boxer has been WBO World Super-Middleweight Champion since 1997 and recently won the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight and Ring Magazine Light-Heavy Weight titles. Former World champions include Enzo Maccarinelli, Gavin Rees, Colin Jones, Howard Winstone, Percy Jones, Jimmy Wilde, Steve Robinson and Robbie Regan.
Two Welsh drivers have competed in the Formula One championship; the first was Alan Rees who finished in ninth position at the 1967 British Grand Prix, while Tom Pryce achieved two podium finishes in his career. As well as Formula One, Wales have had some notability in the World Rally Championship, producing two championship winning co-drivers, those being Nicky Grist, who helped Colin McRae to victory in 1995 and Phil Mills who helped Petter Solberg win the 2003 title. Wales hosts the British and final leg of the World Rally Championship.
The Isle of AngleseyYnys Môn is a member island of the International Island Games Association. In the 2005 Games, held on the Shetland Islands, the Isle of AngleseyYnys Môn came 11th on the medal table with four gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
Main article: Media in Wales
See also: Media in Cardiff
Cardiff is home to the Welsh national media. BBC Wales is based in Llandaff, Cardiff and produces Welsh-oriented output for BBC One and BBC Two channels. BBC 2W is the Welsh digital version of BBC Two, and broadcasts between 8.30pm and 10pm each week night for specific Wales based programming. ITV the UKs main commercial broadcaster has a Welsh-oriented service branded as ITV Wales, whose studios are in Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff. S4C, based in Llanishen, Cardiff, broadcasts mostly Welsh-language programming at peak hours, but shares English-language content with Channel 4 at other times. S4C Digidol (S4C Digital), on the other hand, broadcasts mostly in Welsh. Channel 4 and Channel 5 are now available in most parts of the country via digital television and satellite.
BBC Radio Wales is Waless only national English-language radio station, while BBC Radio Cymru broadcasts throughout Wales in Welsh. There are also a number of independent radio stations across Wales including Red Dragon FM, Radio Cardiff, The Wave, Swansea Sound, Heart Cheshire and North East Wales, Heart North Wales Coast, Nation Radio, 102.5 Radio Pembrokeshire, 97.1 Radio Carmarthenshire, Heart Cymru, Radio Ceredigion and Real Radio.
Most of the newspapers sold and read in Wales are national newspapers sold and read throughout Britain, unlike in Scotland where many newspapers have rebranded into Scottish based titles. Wales-based newspapers include: South Wales Echo, South Wales Argus, South Wales Evening Post, Liverpool Daily Post (Welsh ion) and Y Cymro, a Welsh language publication. The Western Mail is the main indigenous daily newspaper in South Wales and includes a Sunday ion Wales on Sunday. Both are published by the UKs largest newspaper corporation, Trinity Mirror. The Western Mail and South Wales Echo have their offices in Thomson House, Cardiff city centre.
The first Welsh language daily, Y Byd, was due to commence on 3 March 2008.102 However, on 15 February 2008, it was announced that plans for Y Byd had been abandoned because of funding problems.103
In addition to English-language magazines, a number of weekly and monthly Welsh-language magazines are published. Wales has some 20 publishing companies, publishing mostly English titles. However, some 500–600 titles are published each year in Welsh.104not in citation given
Notably, the recent hit revival of cult classic series Doctor Who was and is conceived in Wales (BBC Wales), with many episodes set in Cardiff. Most of the filming and production takes place in locations all over Wales and attracts staggering audiences worldwide. Its adult spin-off Torchwood, fronted by John Barrowman, is also set in Cardiff, with many links to Doctor Who.
Main article: Welsh cuisine
About 80% of the land surface of Wales is given over to agricultural use. However, very little of this is arable land; the vast majority consists of permanent grass pasture or rough grazing for herd animals such as sheep and cows. Although both beef and dairy cattle are raised widely, especially in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales is more well-known for its sheep farming, and thus lamb is the meat traditionally associated with Welsh cooking.
Some traditional dishes include laverbread (made from seaweed), bara brith (fruit bread), Cawl (a lamb stew) and cawl cennin (leek soup), Welsh cakes, and Welsh lamb. Cockles are sometimes served with breakfast bacon.
Main articles: Music of Wales and Music of Cardiff
Crasdant, a traditional Welsh folk band.
Traditional Welsh folk singer and harpist Siân James, live on stage at the Festival Interceltique de LorientThe principal Welsh festival of music and poetry is the National Eisteddfod. This takes place annually in a different town or city. The Llangollen International Eisteddfod echoes the National Eisteddfod but provides an opportunity for the singers and musicians of the world to perform.
Wales is often referred to as "the land of song",105 being particularly famous for harpists, male choirs, and solo artists including Sir Geraint Evans, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dame Anne Evans, Dame Margaret Price, Ivor Novello, John Cale, Sir Tom Jones, Charlotte Church, Bonnie Tyler, Bryn Terfel, Donna Lewis, Mary Hopkin, Katherine Jenkins, Meic Stevens, Dame Shirley Bassey, Duffy, Jem and Aled Jones.
Welsh soprano Gwyneth Jones
John Cale in 2006.Popular bands to have emerged from Wales have included the Beatles-nurtured power pop group Badfinger in the 1960s, Man and Budgie in the 1970s and The Alarm in the 1980s. Wales experienced a strong emergence of groups during the 1990s led by Manic Street Preachers, followed by the likes of the Stereophonics and Feeder; notable during this period were Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, and Gorkys Zygotic Mynci who gained popular success as dual-language artists. In the 2000s, Newport based rap group Goldie Lookin Chain gained success in the charts, as did Lostprophets and The Automatic. Other less mainstream bands have emerged from Wales, such as Skindred, The Blackout, Bullet For My Valentine, Steveless and Funeral for a Friend. The popular New Wavesynthpop group Scritti Politti was a vehicle for singersongwriter and Cardiff native Green Gartside.
The Welsh traditional and folk music scene is in resurgence with performers and bands such as Crasdant, Carreg Lafar, Fernhill, Siân James, Robin Huw Bowen, and The Hennessys. Traditional music and dance in Wales is supported by a myriad of societies. The Welsh Folk Song Society (Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru) has published a number of collections of songs and tunes. The Welsh Folk Dance Society (Cymdeithas Ddawns Werin Cymru) supports a network of national amateur dance teams and publishes support material.
Clear, a traditional instruments society, runs workshops to promote the harp, telyn deires (triple harp), fiddle, crwth, pibgorn (hornpipe) and other instruments. The Cerdd Dant Society promotes its specific singing art primarily through an annual one-day festival. The traditional music development agency, trac, runs projects in communities throughout Wales and advocates on behalf of traditional music. There are also societies for Welsh hymnology, oral history, small eisteddfodau, oral history, and poetry.
The Sîn Roc Gymraeg (Welsh language rock scene) in Wales is thriving, with acts ranging from rock to hip-hop. Dolgellau, in the heart of Snowdonia has held the annual Sesiwn Fawr (mighty session) festival since 1992. The festival has grown to be Waless largest Welsh-Language Music Festival.
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales performs in Wales and internationally. The world-renowned Welsh National Opera now has a permanent home at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, while the National Youth Orchestra of Wales was the first of its type in the world.
Main article: Literature of Wales (Welsh language)
See also: List of Welsh writers and Literature of Wales (English language)
Main article: Transport in Wales
See also: Transport in Cardiff
Second Severn Crossing carrying the M4 MotorwayThe main road artery linking cities and other settlements along the South Wales coast is the M4 motorway which also provides a link with England and eventually London. The Welsh section of the motorway, managed by the Welsh Assembly Government, runs from the Second Severn Crossing to Pont Abraham, Carmarthenshire, connecting the cities of Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.
In North Wales the A55 expressway performs a similar role along the north Wales coast providing connections for places such as Holyhead and Bangor with Wrexham and Flintshire and also with England, principally Chester. The main north-south Wales link is the A470 which runs from Cardiff to Llandudno.
Cardiff International Airport is the only large and international airport in Wales, offering links domestically and to European and North American destinations, located some 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Cardiff city centre, in the Vale of Glamorgan. Highland Airways ran internal flights between Anglesey (Valley) and Cardiff, from May 2007 until March 2010, when the company went into administration.106 The service, dubbed "Ieaun Air" after Deputy First Minister for Wales Ieuan Wyn Jones, AM for Ynys Môn (Anglesey), resumed on 10 May 2010 with Isle of Man airline Manx2 the carrier 107
An Arriva Trains Wales service at Llandudno Junction railway stationThe country also has a significant railway network managed by the Welsh Assembly Government which has a programme of reopening old railway lines and extending rail usage. Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street are the busiest and the major hubs on the internal and national network. Beeching cuts in the 1960s mean that most of the remaining network is geared toward east-west travel to or from England. Services between North and South Wales operate through the English towns of Chester and Shrewsbury. Valley Lines services operate in Cardiff, the South Wales Valleys and surrounding area and are heavily used as commuter lines.
Arriva Trains Wales is the major operator of rail services within Wales. It also operates routes from within Wales to Crewe, Manchester, Birmingham and Cheltenham. Virgin Trains operate services from North Wales to London as part of the West Coast Main Line. First Great Western operate services from London to Cardiff and Newport every half hour with an hourly continuation to Swansea. It also runs services from Cardiff and Newport to southern England. CrossCountry offer services from Cardiff to Nottingham and Newcastle upon Tyne via the West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire.
Regular ferry services to Ireland operate from Holyhead and Fishguard, and the Swansea to Cork, cancelled in 2006, was reinstated in March 2010.108
Main article: National symbols of Wales
The Flag of Wales incorporates the red dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) of Prince Cadwalader along with the Tudor colours of green and white. It was used by Henry VII at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 after which it was carried in state to St. Pauls Cathedral. The red dragon was then included in the Tudor royal arms to signify their Welsh descent. It was officially recognised as the Welsh national flag in 1959. The British Union Flag incorporates the flags of Scotland, Ireland and England but does not have any Welsh representation. Technically it is represented by the flag of England, as the Laws in Wales act of 1535 annexed Wales following the 13th-century conquest.
The daffodil and the leek are also symbols of Wales. The origins of the leek can be traced to the 16th century, while the daffodil became popular in the 19th century, encouraged by David Lloyd-George. This is attributed to confusion of the Welsh for leek (cenhinen) and that for daffodil (cenhinen Bedr or St. Peters leek). A report in 1916 gave preference to the leek, which has appeared on British £1 coins.109
"Hen Wlad fy Nhadau" ("Land of My Fathers") is the National Anthem of Wales, and is played at events such as football or rugby matches involving the Wales national team as well as the opening of the Welsh Assembly and other official occasions.
Saint David's Day 1 March national day
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