Tal y Foel – Past and Present
Mon Mam Cymru (Anglesey – Mother of Wales) is a very special place and here at Tal y Foel, the site of the historic ferry to Caernarfon, you can learn about the history of the area. Many features of interest can be seen and you can, by arrangement, take a guided walk or horse back ride.
Topics include the geology of the area and the story of its inhabitants. Early mesolithic people lived here around 9,000 years ago. They were followed by first bronze and then Celtic iron age people. The Romans arrived in AD 60, and stayed for over 300 years leaving the area to the rule of the Welsh Princes. This continued until Caernarfon Castle was built by Edward 1 in 1283.
Tal y Foel owes its existence to Caernarfon Castle. It was an important ferry point to the mainland first mentioned in 1464 and it ran from here until 1852 and from nearby until 1952. During the 19th century, Caernarfon became a port for the booming slate industry. The ferry at Tal y Foel carried Anglesey people and their goods to its markets and Anglesey men to work in the quarries.
There have been buildings at Tal y Foel since 1464, owned and maintained by the holders of the ferry on behalf of the crown but the history of the buildings at Tal y Foel is not well documented. The present house is a converted barn. Plas y Borth next door was the ferry house and tavern. In the later 19th century, with the move of the ferry, Tal y Foel became a true rural backwater. Until recently Tal y Foel produced early Anglesey potatoes and other crops that were very important to the local economy. Changes in agricultural practice and the effects of a global economy mean that we see sheep, beef cattle and dairy herds grazing.
Today Tal y Foel is the home of a thriving equestrian and farm accommodation business. This is just one component of the growing tourism and leisure industry on the Island that now contributes more to the Welsh economy then agriculture.