- Geography of Wales
Wales is located on a
peninsulain central-west Great Britain. The entire area of Wales is about 20,779 km² (8,023 square miles). It is about 274 km (170 miles) long and 97 km (60 miles) wide. Wales borders England to the east and the sea in the other three directions: the Bristol Channelto the south, St George's Channelto the west, and the Irish Seato the north. Wales has over 1,200 km (750 miles) of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest being Angleseyin the northwest.
Much of Wales's landscape is
mountainous, particularly in Snowdoniaand the central Cambrian Mountains. The mountains were shaped during the last ice age, the Devensian glaciation. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia, and include Snowdon("Yr Wyddfa" in Welsh), 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. The Brecon Beaconsare in the south and are joined by the Cambrian Mountainsin Mid Wales, the latter name being given to the earliest geologicalperiod of the Paleozoicera, the Cambrian.
In the mid 19th century, two prominent
geologists, Roderick Murchisonand Adam Sedgwickused their studies of the geology of Walesto establish certain principles of stratigraphyand palaeontology. After much dispute, the next two periods of the Paleozoicera, the Ordovicianand Silurian, were named after ancient Celtic tribes from this area.
Border between Wales and England
borderbetween Wales and England is highly arbitrary; it was largely defined by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542, based on mediæval feudalboundaries. It has apparently never been confirmed by referendum or reviewed by any Boundary Commission (except to confirm Monmouthshire as part of Wales in 1968). The boundary line very roughly follows Offa's Dykefrom south to north as far as a point about 40 miles from the northern coast, but then swings further east. The boundary separates Knighton from its railway station, virtually cuts off Church Stokefrom the rest of Wales, and slices straight through the village of Llanymynech(where a pubactually straddles the line).
Local government in Wales"
Wales is divided into 22
unitary authorities, which are responsible for the provision of all local government services, including education, social work, environment and roads services. Below these in some areas there are community councils, which cover specific areas within a council area. The unitary authority areas are known as the principal areas of Wales. The Queen appoints a Lord Lieutenantto represent her in the eight Preserved counties of Wales.
List of towns in Wales"
populationand industrial areas are in South Wales, including the cities of Cardiff, Swanseaand Newportand the South Wales Valleys. There are five cities in total in Wales - in addition to the three unitary authorities with City status, the communities of Bangor and St David'salso have the status.
Seven Wonders of Walesis a traditional list of seven geographic and cultural landmarks in Wales: Snowdon(the highest mountain), the Gresfordbells (the peal of bells in the medieval church of All Saints at Gresford), the Llangollenbridge (built in 1347 over the River Dee), St Winefride's Well(a pilgrimagesite at Holywellin Flintshire) the Wrexhamsteeple (16th century tower of St. Giles Church in Wrexham), the Overton yew trees (ancient yew trees in the churchyard of St Mary's at Overton-on-Dee) and Pistyll Rhaeadr(Wales's tallest waterfall, at 240 ft or 75 m). The wonders are part of the traditional rhyme::"Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple," :"Snowdon's mountain without its people," :"Overton yew trees, St Winefride wells," :"Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells."
*Highest maximum temperature: 35.2°C (95.4°F) at
Hawarden Bridge, Flintshireon 2 August 1990.
*Lowest minimum temperature: -23.3°C (-10°F) at
Rhayader, Radnorshireon 1 January 1940.
*Bright sunshine: Maximum duration in a month: 354.3 hours at Dale Fort (
Dyfed) in July 1955; minimum duration in a month: 2.7 hours at Llwynon ( Powys) in January 1962.
*Rainfall: Maximum in a day (09-09 UTC): 211 mm at Rhondda (
Gwent) on 11 November 1929.
*Wind: Highest gust recorded at a low-level site: 108 knots (124 m.p.h.) at Rhoose (
South Glamorgan) on 28 October 1989. [http://www.metoffice.com/climate/uk/location/wales/#temperature Met Office: Welsh climate] ]
On average, Wales is cloudier than England, because of the hilly nature of the terrain and the proximity to the Atlantic. Rainfall in Wales varies widely, with the highest average annual totals in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, and the lowest in the east, close to the English border. Throughout Wales, the months from October to January are significantly wetter than those between February and September. Snow is comparatively rare near sea level in Wales, but much more frequent over the hills. The average number of days each year when sleet or snow falls in Wales varies from about 10 or less in some south-western coastal areas to over 40 in Snowdonia.
Wales has three designated
Brecon Beacons, in the southeast of Wales
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, along the Pembrokeshirecoast
Snowdonia National Parkin the Snowdoniaregion of northwest Wales
Wales has many
waterfalls, including some of the most striking waterfalls of the United Kingdom. The highest and most famous waterfall in Wales is Pistyll Rhaeadrat 240 ft (75 m). The name of the falls is Welsh for "spring of the waterfall" and is located near the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. The waterfall is formed by the Afon Disgynfariver, passing over a Siluriancliff. At the end of the falls, the river continues and is known as the Afon Rhaeadr. The falls are counted as one of the Seven Wonders of Walesand are designated as the 1000th Site of Special Scientific Interestby the Countryside Council for Wales, for its importance to Welsh geomorphology. The 19th century English author George Borrowremarked of the waterfall, "I never saw waterfalling so gracefully, so much like thin, beautiful threads, as here."
Other waterfalls include
Aber Falls(Welsh: Rhaeadr Fawr, "big waterfall") at Abergwyngregyn, the Rhaeadr Cynfalfalls in Ffestiniog(including Rhaeadr Y Cwm) and Pistyll Blaen Y Cwmin the Marilyn Rhialgwmof the upper Tanat Valley; and in the south, Sgwd Henrhydnear Coelbren, Melincourt falls in Resolven, and several in a small area in the south of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The largest natural
lakein Wales is Llyn Tegid(Bala Lake). Llangorse Lakeis second largest.
Geology of Wales
Geography of the United Kingdom
Geography of England
Geography of Scotland
Geography of Ireland East Wales Mid Wales
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