Rowen is a village on the western slopes of the Conwy valley in the former County of Caernarvonshire. now Conwy County Borough, Wales. It lies off the B5106 road, between Tal y Bont and The Groes Inn. Buildings of Gwynedd 2009 refers to the River Roe probably following the Roman route from Caerhun to Abergwyngregyn. The village was included in the Snowdonia National Park in 1951 and still has an Eryri sign at the village entrance road. Rowen is several times winner of tidiest village awards.
In recent times the name of the village has been variously spelt as "Y Wy- Wen" ( white river ), "Rowen", "Ro-wen" and "Roewen". Although the Religious Census of 1851 records the name "Ro-wen", most early 20th-century maps simply use the name "Y Ro", Welsh for "gravel" or "pebbles". Wen means "white", or could mean "holy".
The Afon Roe, a tributary of the River Conwy, flows through the village. A tributary of Afon Roe is Afon Tafolog, which drains the eastern slopes of Drum, a mountain in the Carneddau mountains.
In the book Crwydro Arfon (1959, by Alun Llewelyn-Williams), Rowen is described as .. one of the loveliest villages in Wales ( p.77).
The following poem, called Voice of Afon Ro, was written by G. Gerallt Davies in 1945 -
- Llais Afon Ro
- Hi ddaw'n deg o Dyddyn Du — yn unswydd
- I ddawnsio a chanu,
- Ac ugain craig yn gwgu,
- Ar wen hon ag oerni hy.
(by G. Gerallt Davies, Ro wen, 1945)
The village has a shop, a hotel " Tir y Coed ", a pub, Y Tŷ Gwyn, a village hall, but the small primary school closed in 2011. There is a youth hostel on the slope a mile to the west of the village. Social housing came to the village in the 1970s - Lanerch Estate.
In the past, however, the village had a greater significance; it had three mills, and several ale houses and inns. It also had a pandy or fulling mill, so woollen cloth must have been made nearby. The village is identified in the Caerhun common enclosure award maps. The award map refers to the creation of the White Hart Road on the mountain above Fotty Gwyn and the roman bridge, possibly related to the old royal mail coaching days (Masters of the Post by Duncan Campbell-Smith, 2011, p.74). There are past associations with cattle droving and fairs. Bulkeley Mill (completed 1684) is one of the notable old mills of the village. One historic source refers to a mountain cloud burst happening above the village with properties being lost (probably mid-1800s).
The village is a popular starting point for hillwalking and mountain biking in northern Snowdonia, especially in the Carneddau mountains.
Nearby are the Roman road route through Bwlch-y-Ddeufaen, with its cromlech Maen-y-Bardd, the neolithic dwelling site Caer Bach and the ancient 12th-century church of Llangelynnin.
Part of the A Family at War series (Granada TV) was filmed in this village.
Rowen Young Farmers - 75yrs - 1938 to 2013.
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