North Wales (Welsh: Gogledd Cymru) is the northernmost unofficial region of Wales. Retail, transport and educational infrastructure are centred around the largest town of Wrexham, with other important areas including Rhyl, Llandudno and the small city of Bangor. It is bordered to the south by the counties of Ceredigion and Powys in Mid Wales and to the east by the counties of Shropshire in the West Midlands and Cheshire in North WestEngland. North Wales is divided into three traditional regions, viz; Upper Gwynedd (or Gwynedd above the Conwy defined as the area north of the River Dyfi and west of the River Conwy); Lower Gwynedd (or Gwynedd below the Conwy also known as the Perfeddwlad and defined as the region east of the River Conwy and west of the River Dee) and Ynys Môn (or Anglesey), a large island off the north coast.. Northern Powys is geographically in northern Wales but not in North Wales region. The area of North Wales is 6,172 square km (Slightly larger than Brunei).
The Nant Ffrancon Pass in Snowdonia, North Wales, is the long steady climb of the A5 road between Bethesda, Gwynedd, and Llyn Ogwen in Conwy. The summit at 312 metres (1,024 ft) is at Pont Wern-gof, about one-third of a mile beyond the eastern end of Llyn Ogwen. From here the road descends through Nant y Benglog to Capel Curig and through to Betws-y-Coed. The A5 is the Holyhead to London trunk road, which was re-engineered by Thomas Telford between 1810 and 1826. The original road through the Nant Ffrancon was constructed by Lord Penrhyn in the late 18th century, and at Capel Curig in 1801 he built a coaching inn, which is now Plas y Brenin, the UK National Mountaineering Centre.
Nant Ffrancon (Valley of the Beavers) itself is a steep-sided glacial valley dropping to Bethesda between the Glyderau and the Carneddau. The valley starts in Cwm Idwal, carrying water from Llyn-y-Cwn through the Devil’s Kitchen and Llyn Idwal to join the Ogwen Valley below the Ogwen Falls on Afon Ogwen. Unlike Lord Penrhyn’s road, which largely followed the valley floor, Telford carved much of his road out of the north-eastern slopes of the Nant Ffrancon, thereby encountering difficulties in construction and future maintenance. But this enabled Telford to observe a maximum grade of 1 in 14 along the whole route from London to Holyhead in order to facilitate the operation of horse drawn mail coaches throughout.