Tremadog, Porthmadog and the Traeth Mawr Estuary

tremadog nr porthmadog

Snowdon Lodge is bound up in history from Lawrence of Arabia to the legendary Welsh prince Madog.  Snowdon Lodge is in the village of Tremadog, inextricably bound up with the 18th Century developments of James Maddock, and the house itself was Lawrence of Arabia’s birthplace.  Bringing your group to this accommodation is a great opportunity for inquisitive minds to find out more about the legends and history of Wales.

The most ancient legend of the area concerns the rocky cliffs at the back of Snowdon Lodge.  In the 12th century, these were sea cliffs and some say these were the location for the launch of Prince Madog, who is rumoured to have lead the first settlement of North America.  The legend says that Prince Madog travelled with a colony of settlers from Wales to North America,  predating Columbia by some 500 years.  Later explorers of the America’s claimed to have met native American tribes with Welsh influence in their language and structures.   There is no evidence for the legend or for the location of the launch (some say he set sail from Rhos-on-Sea), but it is a good legend to wet the appetite for exploring the history of the region more.

Rocky cliff above Snowdon Lodge in Tremadog
Rocky cliff above Snowdon Lodge in Tremadog

The village, or as it is properly called ‘Borough’,  of Tremadog was built by William Maddocks, with the aspirations of it becoming the county town of the district.  He built an imposing town hall, a theatre and two coaching inns, around a classic square which he planned as the centre of a large town. There were plans for the first London to Dublin Turnpike to pass through this area and Maddock named the streets Dublin road and London Road in expectation. These were renamed when a bridge was built over the Menai Strait and a route via Anglesea was created.

Traeth Mawr Estuary by Tremadog
Traeth Mawr Estuary by Tremadog

Maddocks was the younger son of an 18th century Lord.  He planned to reform the poor peasant way of life in mountainous Wales, with the introduction of industry, better agricultural land and transport.  He bought an estate on the Traeth Mawr Estuary by Tremadog and set about reclaiming land and improving the transport links.  With a small amount of capital, he engineered an embankment across the huge mouth of the Traeth Mawr Estuary.  The aim was to reclaim acres of farming land and provide a solid route across the treacherous moving sands.   Maddock used his parliamentary connections to raise funds for the huge project which was constantly in debt.  Maddocks eternal optimism aided by support from local people made a success of the Porthmadog Cob, against all the odds.  This embankment still stands today and has transformed the local economy.

Portmadog Maritime Museum
Porthmadog Maritime Museum

The presence of the Cob, restricting the flow of the river into one channel, scoured out a natural port deep enough for sea-going ships and around this grew the town of Porthmadog.  Only 20 minutes walk from Snowdon Lodge, Porthmadog became a vibrant town, the role which Maddoks had fashioned for Tremadog. On the harbour at Porthmadog is the small Porthmadog Maritime Museum,  here you can discover the history of this shipbuilding town famous for carrying welsh slate to roof the world.

Ffestiniog Railway
Ffestiniog Railway, Porthmadog

William Maddocks Cob provided a sold route across the Estuary and this enabled the building of the  Ffestiniog Railway.  The railway transported slate from the quarries in the welsh mountains into the port, powered entirely by gravity with horses pulling the empty carts back up.   A great day trip adventure from Snowdon Lodge is a trip on the Ffestiniog Railway, which is now powered by steam.

lawrence of arabia bronze
Lawrence of Arabia
snowdon lodge lawrence of arabia memorabelia
Lawrence of Arabia memorabilia at Snowdon Lodge

The most recent historical event in Tremadog took place at Snowdon Lodge itself.  The house, also named Ty Lawrence,  was the birthplace of TR Lawrence. Snowdon Lodge was home for the Lawrence family after TR Lawrence’s father left his wife in  Ireland to start a new life with his housekeeper.  The accommodation at Snowdon Lodge is decorated with Lawrence of Arabia memorabilia, the house has a commemoration plaque and in the grounds, there is a commemoration bench.

Bringing your group to Snowdon Lodge is a great opportunity for inquisitive minds to find out more about the legends and history of Wales.  Find out more about SNOWDON LODGE GROUP HOSTEL and accommodation in North Wales.

Lawrence of arabia comemeration bench in snowdon lodge grounds
Lawrence of Arabia commemoration bench in the grounds of  Snowdon Lodge