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Bala, Gwynedd facts for kids

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  • Welsh: [Y Bala] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)
Bala High Street.jpg
Bala high street
Bala is located in Gwynedd
Population 1,974 (2011)
OS grid reference SH925359
• Cardiff 142.3 miles
• London 207 miles
  • Bala
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BALA
Postcode district LL23
Dialling code 01678
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament
  • Dwyfor Meirionnydd
Welsh Assembly
  • Dwyfor Meirionnydd
List of places
52°54′40″N 3°35′46″W / 52.911°N 3.596°W / 52.911; -3.596

Bala (Welsh: [Y Bala] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) is a town and community in Gwynedd, Wales. Formerly an urban district, Bala lies in the historic county of Merionethshire, at the north end of Bala Lake (Welsh: [Llyn Tegid] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)). At the 2011 Census, it had a population of 1,974, 78.5% of whom spoke Welsh.


In the 18th century, the town was well known for the manufacture of flannel, stockings, gloves and hosiery. The Tower of Bala (Welsh: Tomen) (30 ft. (9 m) high by 50 ft (15 m) diameter) is a tumulus or "moat-hill", formerly thought to mark the site of a Roman camp. The large stone-built theological college, Coleg Y Bala, of the Calvinistic Methodists and the grammar school, which was founded in 1712, are the chief features, together with the statue of the Rev. Thomas Charles (1755–1814), the theological writer, to whom was largely due the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Other famous people from the Bala area include Michael D. Jones, Christopher Timothy, Owen Morgan Edwards, born in Llanuwchllyn, and T.E. Ellis, born in Cefnddwysarn.

In 1800 a 15-year-old girl, Mary Jones, walked the 25 miles from her home village Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to purchase a bible in Bala. The scarcity of the Bible, along with the determination of Mary to get one (she had saved for six years), was a major factor in the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804.

Betsi Cadwaladr, who worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, and who gave her name to the Health Board, came from Bala.

Bala hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1967, 1997 and 2009. The 2009 Eisteddfod was notable because the chair was not awarded to any of the entrants as the standard was deemed to be too low. Bala hosted the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yr Urdd Gobaith Cymru, National Eisteddfod for the Welsh League of Youth, in 2014. On 16 June 2016, Bala's name was changed to Bale temporarily in honour of Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale. This was only for the duration of UEFA Euro 2016.


The Welsh word bala refers to the outflow of a lake.


Bala, Ontario, Canada, was named after the town in 1868. They have become twin towns.


Bala Lake (Welsh: [Llyn Tegid] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) is the largest natural lake in Wales. It occasionally freezes over—most recently in the severe winters of 1947 and 1963. The rare gwyniad fish — trapped in the lake at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago — is in danger because its natural home is increasingly unsuitable. A member of the whitefish family, it is found only in Bala Lake.

Coleg y Bala is at the top of the hill on the road towards Llyn Celyn. The Victoria Hall is a small old cinema, that had been a community hall. There are several chapels: notably Capel Mawr and Capel Bach. The livestock market on Arenig Street is still going strong. Bro Eryl estate was built just after World War II.

Cwm Hirnant, a valley running south from Bala, gives its name to the Hirnantian Age in the Ordovician Period of geological time.


The Afon Tryweryn, a river fed from Llyn Celyn which runs through Bala, is world-famous for its white water kayaking. International governing bodies, the International Canoe Federation, the European Canoe Union and the British Canoe Union all hold national and international events there. The Canolfan Tryweryn National Whitewater Centre has its home in Bala. There are at least three local campsites that cater for the influx of canoeists from many parts of the world.

An annual music festival known as 'Wa Bala' is also held in the town. The venue hosts local Welsh bands and is similar in format to Dolgellau's Sesiwn Fawr.

Nearby are the mountains Aran Fawddwy and Arenig Fawr.


As with the rest of the UK, Bala benefits from a maritime climate, with limited seasonal temperature ranges, and generally moderate rainfall throughout the year. There is a met office weather station at Bala, sited at 535 feet above sea level.

Climate data for Bala 163 m, 1971–2000
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.7
Average low °C (°F) 0.9
Source: YR.NO



Bala is home to Welsh Premier League football club Bala Town F.C. who play at Maes Tegid. Bala's local rugby club is Bala RFC.


Bala has been served by various railway stations on the Great Western Railway:

  • Bala Lake Halt railway station was Bala's first station, on the Bala and Dolgelly Railway (open 1868 to 1882; 1934 to 1939)
    • Bala (Penybont) railway station is the name of the Bala Lake heritage railway's station on the site of the Bala Lake Halt
  • Bala (New) railway station - Bala's second station, on the Festiniog and Blaenau Railway (open 1882 to 1965)
  • Bala Junction railway station - The meeting point of the Bala and Dolgellau Railway, Corwen and Bala Railway and the Bala and Festiniog Railway (open 1882 to 1965)

The Bala Lake Railway (Welsh: [Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid] Error: {{Lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) runs for 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from Llanuwchllyn to the edge of the town, along a section of the former trackbed of the Great Western Railway's line between Ruabon and Barmouth. It terminates at Bala (Penybont) railway station, which opened in 1976 on the site of the former Lake Halt station. As of 2020, work is being undertaken to extend the line along the lake foreshore to a new station in the town center.

Bus services are provided by Lloyds Coaches, as part of the Welsh Government funded TrawsCymru network. Services operate westbound to Barmouth via Dolgellau, and eastbound to Wrexham via Corwen and Llangollen. Through ticketing is available for onward connections at Dolgellau, to Bangor, Machynlleth and Aberystwyth.

The town lies on the A494, a major trunk road that leads to Dolgellau, 18 miles to the southwest, and to Ruthin, Mold and Queensferry to the northwest. The A4212 starts in the town, and crosses the Migneint to Trawsfynydd. Heading southeast, the B4391 crosses the Berwyn range to the English border and the town of Oswestry.

Notable people

  • T. E. Ellis politician and leader of Cymru Fydd
  • Michael D. Jones, a Welsh Congregationalist minister, principal of Bala theological college, a founder of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia and one of the fathers of modern Welsh nationalism, was born in Llanuwchlyn.
  • Christopher Timothy, actor, born in Bala.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bala (Gales) para niños

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