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Merionethshire (Meirionydd in Welsh) is a maritime county bounded to the north by Caernarfonshire, to the east by Denbighshire, to the south by Montgomeryshire and Cardiganshire, and to the west by Cardigan Bay. Its total area is 427,810 acres, and it is one of the more sparsely populated counties of the UK. It is also one of the strongest Welsh-speaking parts of Wales. The coastline consists alternately of cliffs and stretches of sand and the county generally is the most mountainous in Wales; a large part of the Snowdonia National Park lies within it. The greatest heights are Aran Mawddwy (2970ft) and Cader Idris (2929 ft). The chief rivers are the Dwyryd, the Mawddach and the Dyfi. Waterfalls and small lakes are numerous, the largest being Bala Lake (4 miles long and 1 mile broad). The main towns are Bala, Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Corwen, Dolgellau, Ffestiniog and Tywyn. The main industries are agriculture and tourism.

Places of special interest: Castell-y-Bere ((SH6608); Cymer Abbey (SH7291); Ffestiniog Railway (SH6946); Harlech Castle (SH5731); Portmeirion italianate village (SH5837); Rhug Chapel (SJ0543); Tomen-y-mur Roman Fort (SH7038).


From 1888 to 1974, Merionethshire was governed by it's own county council. In the local government reorganisation of 1974, the administration of Merionethshire was handed to the new administrative counties of Gwynedd and Clwyd. In 1996 those were replaced by unitary authorities.