top of page

5 hidden secrets of Snowdonia

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

As wanderers step into the enchanting village of Beddgelert, they are often drawn to the

legendary tale of our noble hunting hound, Gelert - a story that beautifully illustrates our rich


But the heart of Beddgelert and the majestic surrounds of Eryri don't end there; they pulsate

with a multitude of hidden secrets waiting to be unearthed. There are tales less told but

equally captivating, weaving a diverse and intricate tapestry of our beautiful national park.

Are you ready to delve beyond the known and embrace the mystery and magic of our lesser-

known stories?

Let us guide you through a journey of discovery with five of our cherished local tales.

The enchanting tale of Rupert the Bear

Rupert the bear and Gelert

Embark on a magical journey into the enchanting realm of Rupert the Bear, a cherished

children's character who, unbeknownst to many, has strong roots in Beddgelert.

Rupert's creator, illustrator Alfred Edmeades Bestall M.B.E., frequently retreated to our

charming village, drawing inspiration from its serenity and the breathtaking landscapes of

Eryri. Bestall's cottage, quaintly named Penlan, still nestles here as a testament to his

enduring legacy.

You can trace his vibrant imagination through the Rupert the Bear comic strips, where Eryri's

dramatic landscapes come alive.

Venture a little further and discover a touching tribute to Bestall in the form of Cae Gel, a

picturesque meadow, created in remembrance of him. This idyllic setting was made possible

through the generosity of The Followers of Rupert Bear.

The mysteries of Darwin's Boulders

Darwin's Boulders

Travel a few miles from Beddgelert and step into the awe-inspiring valley of Cwm Idwal,

nestled beneath Yr Wyddfa.

It was here in 1831 that Charles Darwin made ground-breaking discoveries that forever

altered our understanding of the Earth's history.

Darwin, on observing the embedded marine seashells in the valley's boulders, deduced the

area was once submerged beneath an ancient ocean and the land had been created by an

uplift of the Earth’s crust.

Further observations led him to theorise that glaciers, tens of thousands of years ago, had

shaped this enchanting valley. This groundbreaking insight provided substantial evidence to

support theories of plate tectonics and glacial geomorphology, underpinning our modern

understanding of the world.

The epic saga of the red dragon

Beddgelert dragon

Venture deep into the lore of the Welsh Dragon, an emblem closely intertwined with


The saga begins with King Vortigen, who sought to erect a castle at Dinas Emrys. Despite

repeated attempts, the construction was thwarted time and again by inexplicable


In desperation, Vortigen enlisted the wisdom of a young wizard, Myrddin (later known as

Merlin), the legendary adviser to King Arthur. Myrddin prophesied that two dragons, one red

and one white, lay dormant beneath the hill, their presence disrupting the castle's


Upon excavation, the dragons were discovered and subsequently awoke to engage in a

ferocious battle.

The red dragon emerged victorious, symbolising the enduring spirit of Wales.

Today, the remnants of Vortigen's castle rest atop Dinas Emrys, whispering the epic tales of

the victorious Red Dragon through the winds of Snowdonia.

The Beddgelert meteorite: our cosmic connection

Beddgelert bridge

Beddgelert has the distinct honour of being one of two known locations in Wales where a

meteorite has made landfall.

In the fateful year of 1949, the tranquillity of the night sky over Prince Llewelyn Hotel was

shattered by a celestial visitor.

According to those who saw it, a meteorite slightly larger than a tennis ball, blazed through

the sky, lighting it up with a brilliant blue flame before crashing through the hotel's roof. It

lasted for a few seconds before being followed by a loud bang. The landlady of the Llewelyn

Hotel found it in the floorboards early the next day.

The celestial rock, now a rare specimen for astronomers and enthusiasts alike, was taken to

Durham University to be studied, but a small piece can also be viewed at Amgueddfa Cymru

in Cardiff, reminding us of our fascinating connection with the cosmos.

Dali’s Hole: a crystal blue pool

Dali's hole

Dive into the captivating allure of Dinorwic quarry in Llanberis, the unexpected home of the

mesmerising crystal blue pool known as Dali’s Hole.

This former slate quarry, once the largest in the world, has morphed into a climbers

paradise and a magnet for adventurous souls.

Despite its challenging terrain, with a scramble over loose rocks, the hike is incredibly

rewarding, presenting hikers with stunning panoramic views.

Adding to its allure is a hidden cavern accessible through a waterfall’s double tunnel. Here,

you'll be greeted by Banksy-inspired graffiti, a contemporary artistic flourish amidst the

rugged beauty of this natural spectacle.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page