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-Pont Fawr, Llanrwst,
-spanning the river Conwy...
-..is one of Wales's
-most recognisable bridges.
-For locals, there is an easier way
-to walk from Llanrwst to Trefriw.
-Via Pont Gower.
-I'm on my way to Trefriw
-to meet Myrddin ap Dafydd.
-A local lad who's roamed these
-mountains since he was a boy.
-This area has been the inspiration
-for many of his songs.
-# When the scythe
-was on the bracken,
-# When the axe was sharp,
-# When the sickle
-was harvesting here,
-# And the land was maintained.
-# The foreign landlord
-had a huge wall around his mansion.
-# But only gave spare stones
-# For the labourer
-to build his dwelling.
-# When the turf was ploughed,
-# And the seeds were in the furrows,
-# When the rake was harvesting,
-# And the slope
-was under the heavy crops.
-# There were families
-in the neighbourhood,
-# Even though the work was hard,
-# And four walls and slates
-were a refuge for the language. #
-What's your connection with Trefriw?
-I'm from Llanrwst.
-When we were kids, we used
-to come to Trefriw over Pont Gower.
-It was a safe path for us
-to come here on our bikes.
-Trefriw's football pitch
-was better than Llanrwst's!
-The family moved to Trefriw
-when I was 15.
-It was like moving from the city
-to the country.
-The garden in Llanrwst
-consisted of one geranium pot.
-We had two acres of land here.
-It gave us a chance to explore
-the mountains and the valleys.
-Cwm Crafnant and Geirionydd.
-Is that where your fondness
-for the countryside began?
-Yes, I often went walking.
-I soon knew most of the area
-In Trefriw, the sun shines down
-on you in the morning.
-I'm an early riser.
-There's something magical
-about the hours around dawn.
-The sun is very pure
-early in the morning.
-They say the early sun is good
-for fruit trees.
-It helps the dew disappear early.
-These apples look very tasty.
-You go first.
-What's this river called?
-This is the Crafnant.
-It flows all the way down
-from Llyn Crafnant.
-It passes a number of water mills
-on the way.
-This is an excellent place
-for a young child to grow up.
-This is an excellent place
-for a young child to grow up.
-None of these paths are straight.
-Hardly any of the houses
-in the village face the same way.
-They all look as if they've
-slid down the hillside.
-It's very peculiar.
-The climbing starts in earnest now.
-Look at these stone walls - there
-are a lot of stone walls in Trefriw.
-Trefriw had many excellent
-The best in Wales.
-The best in the valley.
-We start our journey in Trefriw -
-where do we go next?
-We follow one of my favourite paths,
-up past Grinllwm mountain.
-That takes us
-up above Cwm Crafnant...
-..all the way
-to the Klondyke lead mine.
-Years ago, there was a thriving
-industry in nearby lead mines.
-From there, we pass Llyn Geirionydd,
-and back to Llanrwst.
-We're heading for the forest now...
-..along a wall
-that separates two houses.
-We're walking along the wall.
-It's a peculiar path.
-This area is full of peculiarities.
-Did this area influence you
-as a poet?
-The seasons are very close
-to you here.
-After moving to Trefriw,
-I became part of a strong community.
-We used to hold evenings
-of poetry competitions...
-..at Plas Celyn and Fron Deg.
-People would come together
-for nights of poetry.
-That's what sparked my interest
-If it's fun, you're attracted to it.
-Yes, but I remember R E Jones
-..bringing us all back down
-to earth one night.
-We were all laughing...
-..and he told us that we were
-the only people in the world...
-..who held such poetry evenings.
-It makes you think.
-It's an inspiration for some people
-to write poetry.
-We don't want this tradition
-to die out.
-What were your early influences?
-An eisteddfod was held in Trefriw
-I used to compete regularly
-in the local eisteddfod.
-J R Jones, Talybont,
-was one of the adjudicators.
-He gave me
-a wonderful adjudication once.
-An encouraging word from people
-like him went a long way.
-It's started raining.
-We're coming up
-to the mountain path now.
-This must have been
-the old mountain wall.
-We're on the northern face
-of the mountain.
-It's the sheltered side
-of the mountain.
-Huw Sel, a carpenter and a poet
-from Ysbyty Ifan...
-..claimed that wood
-from north-facing trees...
-..was of better quality.
-The trees were tougher.
-Some of the trees had a kink
-in the middle.
-It was useful for making
-a scythe handle.
-Huw had a rich vocabulary
-of Welsh words.
-I learnt a lot from him. He'd
-normally work with the ash tree.
-This is a birch -
-some would say it's a silver birch.
-But it's a downy birch.
-This is a real mountain tree.
-The old farmers and carpenters
-knew their stuff.
-There are some interesting names
-in this area.
-This is called Cefn Cyfarwydd.
-There's something in that name...
-..and people were familiar with it.
-In the olden days, a story teller
-was called a 'cyfarwydd'.
-Cwm Cowlyd is the other side
-of this ridge.
-There's a reference
-to the owl of Cwm Cowlyd...
-..in the tale of 'Culhwch ac Olwen'.
-That owl could remember
-way back to a time...
-..before the first tree
-was cut down in Cwm Cowlyd.
-There was a Roman settlement
-There were wells here
-that contained a lot of iron.
-These were the wells in Cae Coch.
-They've reopened now -
-they're well worth seeing.
-There was a lot of iron, lead
-and zinc in the rocks around here.
-We're about to reach Klondyke now.
-Klondyke? That's a strange name.
-"And here they drown."
-This is an old lead mine.
-The lead that was left over
-is still there.
-It's contaminated the water. There
-are very few fish in this river.
-That's Mynydd Deulyn over there.
-Crafnant on the one side
-and Geirionydd on the other.
-You have to be careful
-where you walk around here.
-There are huge holes
-It's opening out now.
-There must have been an old railway
-line on this flattened area.
-We're walking along
-such a natural area...
-..but you can still see
-man's influence in some places.
-This is the old incline that
-brought lead from the upper shafts.
-You can see where the lead fell
-from the buckets.
-This is a very rough path.
-It's well worth coming down here.
-These are the best mining remains
-in the area - look at this shaft.
-It has a huge entrance.
-I have no idea
-where these shafts lead.
-An interesting piece
-That's one way to cross a river!
-This is a huge building.
-It's an amazing building -
-and imagine what went on inside it.
-The lead industry was still strong
-here until about 50 years ago.
-There were night shifts here -
-Parc was the last working mine.
-Pubs in Llanrwst would open at
-6.00am for the nightshift workers.
-Scotland Road was the old
-Scott area of town.
-T Glynne Davies describes it
-amusingly in the novel 'Marged'.
-It's where the miners used to live.
-There were Irishmen,
-experienced Cornish miners...
-..and miners from Yorkshire.
-Many of the families
-still live in the area...
-..with surnames such as Berry,
-O'Connor, Harker and Metcalfe.
-They moved here to work and they're
-now naturalised Welsh families.
-Scott was the old miners' town -
-it was the wild west of Llanrwst.
-I remember a story about Ifan
-Denbigh arguing with his wife.
-These miners would carry
-dynamite in their pockets.
-He was arguing with his wife
-at home in Scotland Road...
-..and he threw
-a stick of dynamite into the fire...
-..and ran out of the house.
-His house exploded
-but his wife survived!
-Can't live with them,
-can't live without them!
-The decline of the mining industry.
-We're heading up towards
-Llyn Geirionydd now.
-is just over this ridge.
-This hill is called Bryn Y Caniadau.
-Taliesin's court was situated here.
-This was a permanent site for
-the eisteddfod until 80 years ago.
-60 eisteddfodau were held here.
-About 1,000 people attended
-the eisteddfod here.
-How recently were they held here?
-They were held here until the 1920s.
-They were established
-by local poets.
-Three in particular - Gwilym Cowlyd,
-Trebor Mai and Gethin Jones.
-This is Taliesin's Monument.
-It's been here for over 150 years.
-It fell during a fierce storm
-It was rebuilt very recently.
-many of the old stones here.
-When people attended
-..they would carve their names
-in the rock.
-There are some strange names here -
-T H Parry-Williams has carved
-his name here somewhere.
-Gwilym Cowlyd took his name
-from Llyn Cowlyd.
-He lived in Ardda, near Llyn Cowlyd.
-Trebor Mai lived just over
-this ridge in Llanrhychwyn.
-His name conjures up
-an image of a renowned poet.
-His name is actually
-"I am Robert" in reverse!
-was a very special man.
-He was a printer, a poet
-and also ran a bookshop in Llanrwst.
-He collected books, too.
-He'd collect more than he sold.
-In the end,
-he had to close down the shop.
-He kept a bull mastiff at his shop.
-Cowlyd would work
-at the back of the shop...
-..and the dog
-would look after the shop.
-The dog knew where
-the most precious books were kept.
-If a visitor went anywhere near
-these books, the dog would growl.
-No wonder he didn't sell many books.
-They called the early eisteddfodau
-They were great occasions.
-They were similar
-to rebel eisteddfodau.
-They were rebelling
-against the National Eisteddfod.
-Clwydfardd had his Gorsedd
-in the National Eisteddfod.
-It had become very anglicised.
-MPs and landowners were allowed
-to join the Gorsedd.
-Cowlyd and his friends wanted
-a return to the tradition...
-..when the Gorsedd
-was only for bards and composers.
-Cultured people. The Eisteddfod had
-to return to its Welsh roots, too.
-It also needed to be held
-in a wide open space.
-This is where they would hold
-Things took a turn for the worse
-when Trebor Mai and Gethin died.
-Cowlyd went off the rails somewhat.
-He created problems when
-the Eisteddfod came to Llanrwst.
-Clwydfardd would cry to the masses,
-"Is there peace?"...
-..and Cowlyd would shout,
-"No, there isn't!"
-His behaviour became
-more and more erratic.
-The Shah of Persia
-was part of his Gorsedd.
-He wanted to get some big names
-in his Gorsedd.
-The Pope and the Amir of Afghanistan
-were also in his Gorsedd.
-He was very anti-establishment.
-He had a very sad end to his life.
-He died a pauper in Llanrwst.
-They didn't put a headstone
-on his grave for 30 years.
-He was a genius, in some ways.
-Today, the Eisteddfod is close
-to how Cowlyd wanted it to be.
-We have to stop here - this
-is Llywelyn Fawr's old church.
-Rhychwyn was a saint
-in the 6th Century.
-He was the son of Helyg -
-you've heard of Llys Helyg.
-He lived in the 6th Century.
-It's a very old building.
-There are two sections - this one,
-facing south, is the older section.
-This was built
-almost 1,000 years ago.
-The walls are very thick
-and the door frames are quite low.
-The door is amazing.
-You can't speak aloud in here.
-You always whisper
-when you're in a church.
-The roof trusses
-are all made of wood.
-A lot of work
-went into building this.
-Look at the stained glass window -
-one of the oldest in Wales.
-How long has it been here?
-It was installed by the Wynne family
-when the second section was built.
-Llywelyn Fawr may well have sat
-in these seats.
-It's one of the few buildings
-..you can be sure he visited
-at one time or another.
-He was very close
-to the Conwy Valley.
-He was born at Dolwyddelan Castle...
-..he was buried at the monastery
-..and his burial stone
-is in Llanrwst.
-This was his church.
-His hunting court was in Trefriw.
-He'd walk up the steep hill
-from Trefriw to Llanrhychwyn.
-According to the stories, his wife,
-Siwan, was not an early riser.
-She seldom made the trek here
-on a Sunday morning.
-Llywelyn built a church in Trefriw
-in the end - St Mary's Church.
-Siwan was of Norman descent.
-It is said he built the church...
-..to save Siwan the steep walk
-every Sunday morning.
-He was keeping his wife happy!
-There's a certain something
-about ancient churches.
-You almost feel closer to God.
-There's a special atmosphere here.
-There are pieces of furniture
-with names and dates carved on them.
-Some of them have been here
-for 400 years.
-There's something magical about
-them and the gravestones outside.
-You can see examples
-of the old style of calligraphy.
-There's a wonderful colour
-to these flowers.
-There are a number of roads
-down from Llanrhychwyn...
-..but this road, which leads
-to Castell Gwydir, is special.
-There are different types of trees
-Holly trees with red berries.
-Red leaves on the beech tree.
-Red leaves on the beech tree.
-Oak. Horse chestnut.
-There's a cedar tree over there -
-one of many in the area.
-We're within sight
-of Castell Gwydir now, Iolo.
-It's not a real castle -
-it's an Elizabethan palace.
-It has wonderful chimney stacks
-from the Elizabethan period.
-The Wynne family lived here. They
-were very powerful in north Wales.
-John Wynne of Gwydir was the most
-well-known member of the family.
-He wrote a book about his family
-and about local history.
-This lowland is quite wet
-after the recent rainfall.
-It would be a lot worse without
-this river defence here.
-It's done well
-during periods of high water levels.
-This is an old river path.
-They've raised it
-and strengthened it.
-John Wynne lived in Gwydir -
-'gwydir' means old low land.
-That's why it's called Gwydir.
-He began the work of strengthening
-the river defence around here.
-He had a small harbour near Gwydir.
-Boats would sail up the river
-carrying wine from Beaumaris.
-They built a huge estate
-and included this lowland.
-There were many tales
-about John Wynne of Gwydir.
-He would often trick people.
-He once called his lawyer
-to his garden in Gwydir.
-He placed some of the
-garden's earth in his own shoes.
-Both of them went to a cottage
-..and he stated that he was
-standing on Gwydir territory.
-The lawyer confirmed this...
-..and the poor old widow
-signed her home over to Wynne.
-That's why he was knighted,
-Here we are - Pont Gower.
-The end of the road.
-We've walked along flat countryside,
-..valleys, lakes and mountains.
-A very varied walk.
-This is Pont Gower - who was Gower?
-He was Trefriw's Vicar.
-He saw his opportunity when
-the railway was built in Llanrwst.
-This is Llanrwst and Trefriw's
-He built a wooden bridge
-to link the villages.
-He placed a toll booth at one end...
-..and collected contributions, for
-the Vicar's sherry fund probably!
-He'd also transport people
-back and forth to Trefriw.
-There were a lot of stories
-about John Gower.
-You'll have to come back again
-to hear some more.
-Delighted! Any excuse!
-# But May came to Nant Conwy,
-# To green the hazel and the ash.
-# The habitat of the hard woods,
-# Will survive in spite of this.
-# Spring's colours came once more,
-# Where the hard winter had been.
-# The land will beat the master,
-# While the oak remains. #
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