Dwyryd-Y Bermo Arfordir Cymru


Dwyryd-Y Bermo

Cyfres newydd ar drywydd yr enwau, hanesion a phobl sydd yn cyfoethogi glannau Bae Ceredigion. New series exploring the rich history and place names along the shores of Cardigan...


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-On high ground such as this...

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-..with the long arm of Llyn

-stretching out on one side...

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-..and Pembrokeshire

-in the distance...

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-..you can appreciate

-the enormity of Wales' largest bay.

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-Cardigan Bay.

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-This is Arfordir Cymru.

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-This time we'll be travelling

-north to south...

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-..in pursuit of names, folklore...

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-..and characters from the coast.

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-With expansive estuaries, striking

-causeways, rich mythology...

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-..and industry, old and new, this is

-an enchanting part of the world.

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-From sprawling sandy beaches...

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-..to quaint harbours.

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-From low marshlands to steep cliffs.

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-Our journey begins at the mouth of

-the River Dwyryd near Porthmadog...

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-..travelling south past Barmouth,

-Aberystwyth and Llangrannog...

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-..before heading up the River Teifi

-to the ancient town of Cardigan.

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-Though the accents

-will change along the way...

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-..one thing will remain constant.

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-The sea, its history and influence

-on coastal residents...

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-..will flow through it all.

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-This week's journey...

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-..takes us from the Dwyryd Estuary

-past Morfa Dyffryn...

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-..and along the shoreline

-to the holiday town of Barmouth.

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-Moel-y-Gest was a hill-fort

-during the Iron Age...

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-..with its inhabitants

-in constant fear of attack.

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-Today the views

-are considerably more peaceful...

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-..across the Cob, built in 1825...

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-..reclaiming 8,000 acres of land and

-connects Porthmadog to Minffordd...

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-..which lies beside

-one of the country's wonders.

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-This ancient site

-was formerly called Aber Ia....

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-..before Sir Clough Williams-Ellis

-built his iconic village.

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-Portmeirion embodies

-the architect's wild imagination...

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-..full of colour and wonder...

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-..as though an Italian village

-has been inserted into North Wales.

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-Views of the Dwyryd Estuary...

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-..extending to Talsarnau

-are picturesque.

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-When you

-think of northwest Wales nowadays...

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-..you think of a rural area...

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-..but it was an industrial site

-during the 19th century...

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-..before Clough Williams-Ellis

-laid Portmeirion's cornerstone.

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-Leading up to 1913...

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-..260 ships were built

-in Porthmadog and Borth-y-Gest.

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-This area would've been teeming

-with masts, with men shouting...

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-..trains arriving laden with slate,

-hammers tapping away...

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-..and anchor chains

-screeching across wrecks.

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-Imagining that today

-in this perfect tranquillity...

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-..is enough to give you goosebumps.

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-At the centre of the estuary

-is a wooded island.

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-Ynys Gifftan.

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-Legend has it that Queen Anne

-gave it to Lord Harlech as a gift...

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-..providing a meaning for the name.

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-Ynys Gifftan. Anne's Gift Island.

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-The island appears on a map

-from 1645 and is marked as Skysen.

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-There's also a record of it

-as Ynys Cyftor...

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-..but Gifftan is the more prominent

-name and the one used nowadays.

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-Professor Melville Richards

-suggested...

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-..it was a derivation

-of the word skiff, a type of boat...

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-..followed by an abbreviated form

-of Anne, Skifftan, Ynys Gifftan.

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-A farm was run here

-until the mid-1970s.

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-The farmhouse still stands

-among the thorny brambles...

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-..as if it expects the residents

-to return home any minute.

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-The land opposite the island

-is a combination of grass and sand.

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-Derwyn Evans spent many years

-working the marshland of Glastraeth.

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-For a stranger like myself, this

-landscape is extremely striking...

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-..but you're familiar with the view.

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-I worked here for nine years...

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-..lifting the sods.

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-How did you do that?

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-I'd cut them up

-and two others would lift them...

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-..load them onto the trucks...

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-..and take them away

-to be repurposed.

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-Where did the turf go?

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-It went to all parts of Britain but

-the majority of it went to London.

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-What was it used for?

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-All kinds of things -

-graves, repairing Wimbledon.

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-Wimbledon?

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-Wimbledon?

-

-Yes, indeed. Wembley too.

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-So, turf from Glastraeth

-was used on Wembley football pitch?

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-Yes.

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-Yes.

-

-What makes this grass so special?

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-Let me show you a blade of grass.

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-It's rounded.

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-I have photographs of you working.

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-Is this you here?

-How old would you have been?

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-About 21.

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-About 21.

-

-So you'd load the turf onto trucks?

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-Yes.

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-Yes.

-

-Load it and away it goes!

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-I'm sure you see the sea

-throughout the seasons here.

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-Yes. I've been caught out here once.

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-I was carrying turf.

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-I was just about to carry one more

-load before finishing for the day...

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-..when I realized

-we'd been caught short.

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-We couldn't cross the bridge...

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-..because the water

-was flowing beneath us.

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-We didn't want to weigh it down

-in case we went down with it.

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-So we stayed there and sat

-on top of the turf for two hours.

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-Is it easy

-to be caught by the tide here?

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-Yes. If you're unprepared,

-you'll be caught out.

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-These trenches fill with water

-without you noticing.

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-When you finally notice

-these trenches are filling up...

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-..you realize the other trenches

-are higher and you can't cross.

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-The sea will always be your master.

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-He always creeps up on you.

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-It's not nice.

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-Not far from Glastraeth,

-on considerably drier ground...

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-..is the church of

-Llanfihangel-y-traethau.

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-The parish's original church

-was erected in the 12thC...

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-..on what was once an island.

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-Over time, the land dried out

-but the church's name...

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-..considering its proximity

-to Traeth Bach and Traeth Mawr...

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-..makes perfect sense -

-St Michael's Church on the Beaches.

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-No matter which way you look at it,

-this enormous estuary is striking.

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-Just around the corner

-is the village of Talsarnau...

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-..whose name, quite simply,

-means beyond the causeways.

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-A causeway is a path

-erected to cross wetlands.

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-A stage-coach

-used to travel this area...

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-..from the village of Ynys,

-northwards past Ynys Gifftan...

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-..to Abergafren, beneath Minffordd.

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-In an even earlier era...

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-..the act of crossing water carried

-significance, it was something holy.

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-Before stage-coaches,

-during the early Christian era...

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-..travellers expected tides

-in sacred places such as this...

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-..and prayed for

-a safe crossing of the estuaries.

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-Travelling is far easier nowadays.

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-Three miles southwards

-is the historical town of Harlech.

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-The name's meaning is uncertain.

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-Llech refers to the stone

-on which the castle stands.

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-Hardd either means pretty or tall,

-but one thing's for certain...

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-..the stone is archaic,

-dating from the Cambrian Period...

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-..more than

-four hundred million years ago.

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-A small step away geographically

-but a huge step chronologically...

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-..and we're on the trail

-of the early Christians.

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-This coast

-is awash with beautiful churches.

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-Since travelling by sea

-was easier than on land...

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-..it was along these shores that the

-saints came to spread the gospel.

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-This is one of

-the country's oldest churches.

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-Llandanwg Church.

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-The elements try their hardest...

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-..to batter this small church...

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-..and often, parishioners

-have to dig it out of the sand.

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-They are loath to lose it.

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-And who can blame them?

-It's beautiful, I must admit.

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-We know little about Saint Tanwg,

-the saint to whom it's dedicated.

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-Some traditions associate him

-with Bardsey, others with Brittany.

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-We know for certain that a Christian

-fellowship has existed here...

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-..since the year 430...

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-..which means the early origins

-of Christianity in Wales began here.

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-In spite

-of the sand's efforts to bury it...

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-..the old church remains.

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-It could teach us a lesson

-on several levels.

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-.

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-We're on a journey along

-the crescent of Cardigan Bay...

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-..in pursuit of history,

-names and coastal legends.

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-The only way to reach Shell Island

-caravan site in Mochras...

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-..is when the tide allows access.

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-Rhodri Dafydd

-is very familiar with the area...

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-..and the whimsical nature

-of the elements...

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-..as the senior manager

-of Morfa Dyffryn sand dunes.

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-This coastal landscape before us

-is both barren and striking.

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-What's this area called?

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-We're sitting on Ynys Mochras,

-though it's no longer an island.

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-The River Artro behind us

-flows into the sea.

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-At one time, the river also

-flowed into the sea from the west...

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-..which meant Ynys Mochras

-stood alone in the middle.

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-On this archaic map

-dating from around 1830...

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-..Ynys Mochras can be seen clearly.

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-The Artro flows out here, but at the

-same time as the map was created...

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-..it also flowed

-to the west of the island too.

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-This part to the south

-has since been filled?

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-Yes, to the south

-are the Morfa Dyffryn sand dunes...

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-..and gradually over 800 years,

-they've been moving further north.

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-It continued to happen...

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-..until 1819 when they

-completely redirected the river.

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-Since then, the gap to the west

-has completely closed.

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-Morfa Harelch

-is a National Nature Reserve too...

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-..and they're both connected.

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-They're incredibly important sites

-geologically and geomorphology.

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-They're also important for wildlife

-reliant on these landforms.

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-There are all kinds here!

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-Plants predominantly hold

-the dunes' ecosystems together.

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-Some of them have names

-which baffle the imagination.

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-The Welsh name for this flower

-is tag aradr, restharrow in English.

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-Years ago,

-on land that was being ploughed...

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-..it was a pain

-for people pulling the plough...

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-..because this flower

-got tangled up in it...

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-..preventing it

-from ploughing properly.

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-It emits a pleasant smell.

-It's surrounded by wild thyme too.

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-These plants are characteristic

-of sand dunes of this age.

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-Look what's in front of us here.

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-The Welsh term for it is Corhelygen,

-a tree belonging to the willow.

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-The salix repens.

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-It's one of the site's

-characteristic shrubs.

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-It only grows

-in sand dunes where it's moist.

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-You won't find it

-in many other places.

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-Does it only grow to this height?

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-Does it only grow to this height?

-

-It won't grow much taller.

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-Rabbits graze on it but it

-doesn't grow to the size of a tree.

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-Corhelygen with 'cor' meaning dwarf

-- small willow.

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-It's obvious the landscape

-has taken years to form.

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-You mentioned the sand sweeping in

-predominantly from Cardigan Bay.

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-How do the dunes form and spread?

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-The first thing you need is a piece

-of seaweed or driftwood will do.

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-Sand will blow in...

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-..and form behind it

-to create a mini dune.

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-Once that's happened,

-plants creep in.

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-It might get wiped out in a storm...

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-..but the same process

-will happen the following year.

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-These dunes are formed

-over a successive period.

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-The more sand there is,

-the more plants it attracts.

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-The further back you go

-in the system...

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-..you can see

-where plants have grown.

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-You get different plants

-in moist areas.

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-You'll get even more plants

-growing under those conditions...

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-..because plants die and create

-new soil to nurture other plants.

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-It's a good balance, then.

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-It's a good balance, then.

-

-Yes, it's completely balanced.

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-It's interesting seeing

-all these changes occur each year.

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-It's an exceptional place.

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-The only other question I have is,

-how do I find my way home?

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-The south's that way, so you

-should be heading in that direction.

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-Let's try that then.

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-From the sky, the area between Morfa

-Dyffryn and Barmouth looks calm.

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-Closer to the ground,

-things are much livelier.

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-From Ardudwy Beach, this stretch

-of sea is called Crochan Benar...

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-..which is treacherous in a storm.

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-A mile inland is

-the former site of Egryn Quarry...

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-..which was in use

-until the 19th century.

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-The stone used to build

-Harlech Castle came from here.

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-Getting to these places is difficult

-if you don't know your way around...

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-..but a path to the south

-leads to a fantastic vantage point.

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-This route is called

-the Panorama Walk...

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-..because the views from here

-are breath-taking.

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-Travellers came to Barmouth

-along this route...

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-..before a road was built in 1815

-and a train line after that.

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-Here you'll get a bird's eye view

-of the Mawddach Estuary.

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-Mawdd is probably a personal name...

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-..as it appears in the name

-Dinas Mawddwy, many miles inland.

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-Over time, the name Abermawdd

-became Abermo and then Bermo...

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-..though Abermaw

-also appears on some signs.

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-As you'd imagine, this route

-is very popular with tourists...

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-..despite the fact that the medieval

-tavern that was situated here...

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-..has long gone.

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-They missed a trick there,

-didn't they?

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-They say Barmouth was one of the

-first holiday destinations in Wales.

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-Early holidaymakers

-flocked here to try a new fad.

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-Sunbathing.

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-John Jones or John Sam

-is a full-time resident of Barmouth.

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-A former town mayor and the owner

-of a B&B who can proudly boast...

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-..that his family

-has lived in Barmouth for centuries.

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-I know you and your brother...

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-..have been tracing

-your family's very colourful past.

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-Both the town's history and

-my family's history is colourful.

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-While they owned the smithy

-in Borthwen...

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-..their history was respectable...

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-..but something significant

-happened around 1880...

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-..and all the men died,

-for some reason.

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-I don't know if they'd been

-struck down by a disease.

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-The women were left behind.

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-My great-grandmother and her sister,

-two relatively young women...

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-..started a company

-providing company for lonely men.

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-Neither married

-and they bore lots of children.

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-Because of that my great-grandmother

-was excommunicated from chapel.

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-Some of their children were

-taken away from them by the courts.

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-They were essentially orphaned.

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-When it comes to my grandfather,

-she sold him when he was six...

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-..to a farm in Dysynni Valley.

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-They had no boys

-and they needed a farmhand...

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-..so my grandfather

-went there aged six.

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-Like any harbour...

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-..I'm sure people

-had connections all over the world.

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-The ships set sail from Barmouth

-to all parts of Europe...

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-..down to the Mediterranean...

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-..over to the Americas...

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-..and up to the Baltic.

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-Ships also docked here.

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-There was always a mix

-of nationalities here.

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-It was a rather cosmopolitan town

-which looked out on the world.

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-We're approaching

-Captain William Davies' house...

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-..known as Caprera.

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-It's believed the captain...

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-..transported a cargo

-from Barmouth to Genoa...

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-..and it was there that he loaded

-another cargo bound for Sicily.

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-As they were leaving Genoa...

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-..someone asked him if he

-could accompany them to Sicily.

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-The man happened to be

-Giuseppe Garibaldi...

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-..who was an Italian nationalist

-who unified Italy.

0:20:230:20:27

-He lived on a small island

-next to Sicily called Caprera.

0:20:270:20:33

-The captain

-fell in love with the island...

0:20:330:20:37

-..and when he returned,

-he renamed his house Caprera...

0:20:370:20:42

-..as you can see.

0:20:420:20:43

-..as you can see.

-

-Names carry so much significance.

0:20:430:20:46

-You can see the whole town.

0:20:500:20:52

-Yes, between sea and mountain.

-The old town is on the cliff.

0:20:520:20:56

-The river used to fork here.

0:20:560:20:59

-A fork emanated

-on this side of the sand dunes.

0:21:000:21:03

-To this day

-we call those dunes Ynys y Brawd...

0:21:040:21:07

-..because of the connection

-with Cymer Abbey.

0:21:080:21:11

-When the abbey existed,

-all this land belonged to the monks.

0:21:120:21:17

-There are several places in town...

0:21:180:21:20

-..whose names

-have an association with the abbey.

0:21:220:21:26

-There's Craig Mynach, Cil Mynach...

0:21:260:21:29

-..Wern Mynach and so on.

0:21:290:21:31

-So this is the Frenchman's Grave?

0:21:420:21:45

-Yes, Auguste Guyard.

0:21:450:21:47

-During the period

-when the Prussians invaded France...

0:21:470:21:51

-..in 1880...

0:21:510:21:54

-..Auguste Guyard...

0:21:540:21:56

-..who was one of France's

-most well-known philosophers...

0:21:560:22:02

-..had to flee.

0:22:020:22:04

-He came here to live with

-his daughter and son-in-law.

0:22:040:22:08

-Paris was under siege and people

-were forced to eat dogs and cats...

0:22:080:22:14

-..and animals from the zoo.

0:22:140:22:16

-Victor Hugo

-feared for his little dog, Clara.

0:22:170:22:20

-Clara came to Barmouth

-with Auguste Guyard.

0:22:200:22:24

-No place of rest

-has a better view than this.

0:22:240:22:27

-It's wonderful, isn't it?

-It's magical.

0:22:270:22:30

-Some claim

-that a bunch of sailors...

0:22:470:22:50

-..decided on the name Barmouth

-in 1768.

0:22:500:22:52

-Truth is, the name

-was in use long before that.

0:22:520:22:55

-Perhaps for as long as people

-have been flocking here.

0:22:560:22:59

-Saints, seamen

-and wanderers down the generations.

0:23:000:23:03

-Tourists' modes of transport

-have changed throughout the ages...

0:23:030:23:08

-..but Wales' beautiful shores

-still attract them.

0:23:080:23:11

-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.

0:23:310:23:33

-.

0:23:330:23:34

Cyfres newydd ar drywydd yr enwau, hanesion a phobl sydd yn cyfoethogi glannau Bae Ceredigion. New series exploring the rich history and place names along the shores of Cardigan Bay.


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