Porthmadog is probably one of the busiest towns on the Lleyn Peninsula and it is unusual as it is built on reclaimed land from the sea. The slate mining industry that grew up around this town saw it undergo an extremely rapid growth in the mid 19th century. William Maddocks, is credited with the idea of creating this town out of the marshland in the Glaslyn Estuary, he also had the foresight to build an embankment, known locally as “The Cob” and a harbour from where hundreds of thousands of tons of slate left Porthmadog to all parts of the world. By the late 19th century the railways had arrived and a decision to use Holyhead as the main port for Ireland severely effected the trade out of Porthadog to the extent that by 1945 shipping was no longer the economic driving force it once was in the area. The railways also were short lived, the Ffestiniog Railway built to transport the slate to the harbour closed and was rescued by enthusiasts around the mid 1950’s . Porthmadog began to thrive again with the new industry of the 20th century – tourism.
The narrow gauge railway that once transported slate now took tourists through some of the most picturesque parts of Snowdonia. Whilst the town centre boasts a range of traditional local shops most people visit to appreciate the sandy beaches at Black Rock Sands a It may well have been a great seaport rich in maritime history but today it is a prime location for visitors who want to enjoy the seaside and yet appreciate the dramatic scenery that Snowdonia can offer.