Where is Wales?

Wales as a country is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (part of the European Union), and is a western promontory of the main island (Great Britain). To the east the border with England stretches for 160 miles from the Dee estuary in the north to the Severn estuary in the south. The rest of country is surrounded by the Irish Sea to the north, Cardigan Bay to the west and the Bristol Channel to the south.

What’s the size of Wales?

In area Wales is 8,015 square miles or 20,758 sq. kms, or 5,129,413 acres, or 2,075,800 hectares. This represents 8.5% of the area of the United Kingdom, and 0.5% of the area of the European Union of 25 countries.
If Wales were an independent state it would be 153rd in the rankings of the world’s 233 states and dependencies – slightly smaller than Israel (22,072 sq.kms.) and larger than Slovenia (20,273 sq.kms.), or Kuwait (17,818 sq.kms.) In area Wales is 26% of the size of Scotland, 30% of the size of Ireland, 48% of the size of Denmark, 50% of the size of Holland, 65% of the size of Catalunya, 68% of the size of Belgium and 144% of the size of Connecticut in the USA.

How does it compare in area with the rest of the UK and Ireland:

Sq.mls.         Sq.kms.          Acres                   Hectares             % of UK      % of EU
England        50,350         130,427         32,229,213         13,042,700        53.7           3.0
Scotland       30,421          78,789          19,469,185         7,878,900          32.4           1.8
Wales            8,015           20,758           5,129,413           2,075,800          8.5             0.5
N. Ireland     5,461           14,144           3,495,058           1,414,400           5.8             0.3
UK                93,788         242,910         60,024,368         24,291,000        100            5.6
EU                1,669,807    4,324,782      1,068,676,905    432,478,200                        100
Ireland          27,133        70,273           17,364,836         7,027,300                            1.6

What kind of country is it?

Wales has long been known for its varied and picturesque landscape, encompassing lowland coastal areas and more mountainous regions, especially in the north. Three National Parks – Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons, and Pembrokeshire Coast – cover 20% of the land area. There are also five other designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beau ty – the Isle of Anglesey and the Clwydian Range in the north, and the Gower Peninsula and Wye Valley in the south.

clickonwales.org / Wales factfile

Coast

Wales has a coastline of 1,680 miles (including the island of Anglesey) – i.e. 15% of the coastline of Great Britain (11,073 miles) and 23% of the coastline of England and Wales (5,581 miles).

Mountains

The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia in the north west. The only mountain in the ten highest in Wales that lies outside Snowdonia is Penyfan in the Brecon Beacons. The 10 highest in Wales are:
Mountain Height (m) Height (ft)
1 Snowdon 1085 3556
2 Carnedd Llewelyn 1064 3491
3 Glyder Fawr 999 3278
4 Y Garn 947 3107
5 Elidir Fawr 924 3031
6 Tryfan 915 3002
7 Aran Fawddwy 905 2969
8 Y Lliwedd 898 2946
9 Cadair Idris 893 2930
10 Pen y Fan 886 2907

The highest mountains in each of the countries of the UK are:
Country Mountain Height (m) Height (ft)
Scotland Ben Nevis 1344 4409
Wales Snowdon 1085 3556
England Scafell Pike 978 3209
N. Ireland Slieve Donard 849 2785

Rivers

Welsh rivers are, for the most part relatively small. The main exception is the River Severn which, at 220 miles, is the longest river in the United Kingdom – some five miles longer than the Thames. Wales’ second river, the Wye, would rank fifth in length within the UK, and our third longest river, the Dee, would be 27th. The Severn, the Wye and the Dee also flow through England for some of their length.
River Length (miles) Length (kms)
1 Severn/Hafren 220 354
2 Wye/Gwy 135 215
3 Dee/Dyfrdwy 70 112
4 Towy/Tywi 68 109
5 Usk/Wysg 56 90
6 Teifi 50 80
7 Taff/Taf 40 64
8 Taf (W.Wales) 30 50
9 Tawe 28 48
10 Conwy 27 43
clickonwales.org / Wales factfile
The longest rivers in each of the countries of the UK are:
Country River Length (miles) Length (kms)
Wales Severn 220 354
England Thames 215 346
Scotland Tay 117 188
N. Ireland Bann 76 122

Weather

The average weather in Wales differs slightly from the rest of the UK, with average temperatures slightly lower than England but higher than Scotland or N. Ireland, rainfall the highest of all four countries and sunshine the lowest.
Average temp. Average temp. Sunshine Rainfall Days rain Days air
(max) (min) (hours) (mm) >=1mm frost
UK 10.0 4.6 62.9 217.4 22.1 2.2
Wales 10.5 5.5 49.6 335.8 25.7 0.9
England 11.1 5.6 72.6 175.4 21.6 0.9
Scotland 8.2 2.8 51.0 256.7 21.9 4.6
N Ireland 9,7 3.8 58.9 209.6 22.3 3.3
Weather: (Cardiff, south east Wales)
Month Average sunlight Av. Temp. Av. Temp. Av. Precipitation
(hour)
(max) (min) (mm.)
Jan 2 7 2 108
Feb 3 7 2 72
Mar 4 10 3 63
Apr 5 13 5 65
May 6 16 8 76
Jun 7 19 11 63
Jul 6 20 12 89
Aug 6 21 13 97
Sep 5 18 11 99
Oct 3 14 8 109
Nov 2 10 5 116
Dec 2 8 3 108
clickonwales.org / Wales factfile
Weather: (Aberystwyth, Mid Wales)
Month Average sunlight Av. Temp. Av. Temp. Av. Precipitation
(hour)
(max) (min) (mm.)
Jan 2 7 2 97
Feb 3 7 2 72
Mar 4 9 3 60
Apr 5 11 5 56
May 6 15 7 65
Jun 7 17 10 76
Jul 5 18 12 99
Aug 5 18 12 93
Sep 4 16 11 108
Oct 3 13 8 118
Nov 2 10 5 111
Dec 2 8 4 96
clickonwales.org / Wales factfile

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