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...
-..with the long arm of Llyn
-stretching out on one side...
-in the distance...
-..you can appreciate
-the enormity of Wales' largest bay.
-This is Arfordir Cymru.
-This time we'll be travelling
-north to south...
-..in pursuit of names, folklore...
-..and characters from the coast.
-With expansive estuaries, striking
-causeways, rich mythology...
-..and industry, old and new, this is
-an enchanting part of the world.
-From sprawling sandy beaches...
-..to quaint harbours.
-From low marshlands to steep cliffs.
-Our journey begins at the mouth of
-the River Dwyryd near Porthmadog...
-..travelling south past Barmouth,
-Aberystwyth and Llangrannog...
-..before heading up the River Teifi
-to the ancient town of Cardigan.
-Though the accents
-will change along the way...
-..one thing will remain constant.
-The sea, its history and influence
-on coastal residents...
-..will flow through it all.
-This week's journey...
-..takes us from the Dwyryd Estuary
-past Morfa Dyffryn...
-..and along the shoreline
-to the holiday town of Barmouth.
-Moel-y-Gest was a hill-fort
-during the Iron Age...
-..with its inhabitants
-in constant fear of attack.
-Today the views
-are considerably more peaceful...
-..across the Cob, built in 1825...
-..reclaiming 8,000 acres of land and
-connects Porthmadog to Minffordd...
-..which lies beside
-one of the country's wonders.
-This ancient site
-was formerly called Aber Ia....
-..before Sir Clough Williams-Ellis
-built his iconic village.
-the architect's wild imagination...
-..full of colour and wonder...
-..as though an Italian village
-has been inserted into North Wales.
-Views of the Dwyryd Estuary...
-..extending to Talsarnau
-think of northwest Wales nowadays...
-..you think of a rural area...
-..but it was an industrial site
-during the 19th century...
-..before Clough Williams-Ellis
-laid Portmeirion's cornerstone.
-Leading up to 1913...
-..260 ships were built
-in Porthmadog and Borth-y-Gest.
-This area would've been teeming
-with masts, with men shouting...
-..trains arriving laden with slate,
-hammers tapping away...
-..and anchor chains
-screeching across wrecks.
-Imagining that today
-in this perfect tranquillity...
-..is enough to give you goosebumps.
-At the centre of the estuary
-is a wooded island.
-Legend has it that Queen Anne
-gave it to Lord Harlech as a gift...
-..providing a meaning for the name.
-Ynys Gifftan. Anne's Gift Island.
-The island appears on a map
-from 1645 and is marked as Skysen.
-There's also a record of it
-as Ynys Cyftor...
-..but Gifftan is the more prominent
-name and the one used nowadays.
-Professor Melville Richards
-..it was a derivation
-of the word skiff, a type of boat...
-..followed by an abbreviated form
-of Anne, Skifftan, Ynys Gifftan.
-A farm was run here
-until the mid-1970s.
-The farmhouse still stands
-among the thorny brambles...
-..as if it expects the residents
-to return home any minute.
-The land opposite the island
-is a combination of grass and sand.
-Derwyn Evans spent many years
-working the marshland of Glastraeth.
-For a stranger like myself, this
-landscape is extremely striking...
-..but you're familiar with the view.
-I worked here for nine years...
-..lifting the sods.
-How did you do that?
-I'd cut them up
-and two others would lift them...
-..load them onto the trucks...
-..and take them away
-to be repurposed.
-Where did the turf go?
-It went to all parts of Britain but
-the majority of it went to London.
-What was it used for?
-All kinds of things -
-graves, repairing Wimbledon.
-Yes, indeed. Wembley too.
-So, turf from Glastraeth
-was used on Wembley football pitch?
-What makes this grass so special?
-Let me show you a blade of grass.
-I have photographs of you working.
-Is this you here?
-How old would you have been?
-So you'd load the turf onto trucks?
-Load it and away it goes!
-I'm sure you see the sea
-throughout the seasons here.
-Yes. I've been caught out here once.
-I was carrying turf.
-I was just about to carry one more
-load before finishing for the day...
-..when I realized
-we'd been caught short.
-We couldn't cross the bridge...
-..because the water
-was flowing beneath us.
-We didn't want to weigh it down
-in case we went down with it.
-So we stayed there and sat
-on top of the turf for two hours.
-Is it easy
-to be caught by the tide here?
-Yes. If you're unprepared,
-you'll be caught out.
-These trenches fill with water
-without you noticing.
-When you finally notice
-these trenches are filling up...
-..you realize the other trenches
-are higher and you can't cross.
-The sea will always be your master.
-He always creeps up on you.
-It's not nice.
-Not far from Glastraeth,
-on considerably drier ground...
-..is the church of
-The parish's original church
-was erected in the 12thC...
-..on what was once an island.
-Over time, the land dried out
-but the church's name...
-..considering its proximity
-to Traeth Bach and Traeth Mawr...
-..makes perfect sense -
-St Michael's Church on the Beaches.
-No matter which way you look at it,
-this enormous estuary is striking.
-Just around the corner
-is the village of Talsarnau...
-..whose name, quite simply,
-means beyond the causeways.
-A causeway is a path
-erected to cross wetlands.
-used to travel this area...
-..from the village of Ynys,
-northwards past Ynys Gifftan...
-..to Abergafren, beneath Minffordd.
-In an even earlier era...
-..the act of crossing water carried
-significance, it was something holy.
-during the early Christian era...
-..travellers expected tides
-in sacred places such as this...
-..and prayed for
-a safe crossing of the estuaries.
-Travelling is far easier nowadays.
-Three miles southwards
-is the historical town of Harlech.
-The name's meaning is uncertain.
-Llech refers to the stone
-on which the castle stands.
-Hardd either means pretty or tall,
-but one thing's for certain...
-..the stone is archaic,
-dating from the Cambrian Period...
-four hundred million years ago.
-A small step away geographically
-but a huge step chronologically...
-..and we're on the trail
-of the early Christians.
-is awash with beautiful churches.
-Since travelling by sea
-was easier than on land...
-..it was along these shores that the
-saints came to spread the gospel.
-This is one of
-the country's oldest churches.
-The elements try their hardest...
-..to batter this small church...
-..and often, parishioners
-have to dig it out of the sand.
-They are loath to lose it.
-And who can blame them?
-It's beautiful, I must admit.
-We know little about Saint Tanwg,
-the saint to whom it's dedicated.
-Some traditions associate him
-with Bardsey, others with Brittany.
-We know for certain that a Christian
-fellowship has existed here...
-..since the year 430...
-..which means the early origins
-of Christianity in Wales began here.
-of the sand's efforts to bury it...
-..the old church remains.
-It could teach us a lesson
-on several levels.
-We're on a journey along
-the crescent of Cardigan Bay...
-..in pursuit of history,
-names and coastal legends.
-The only way to reach Shell Island
-caravan site in Mochras...
-..is when the tide allows access.
-is very familiar with the area...
-..and the whimsical nature
-of the elements...
-..as the senior manager
-of Morfa Dyffryn sand dunes.
-This coastal landscape before us
-is both barren and striking.
-What's this area called?
-We're sitting on Ynys Mochras,
-though it's no longer an island.
-The River Artro behind us
-flows into the sea.
-At one time, the river also
-flowed into the sea from the west...
-..which meant Ynys Mochras
-stood alone in the middle.
-On this archaic map
-dating from around 1830...
-..Ynys Mochras can be seen clearly.
-The Artro flows out here, but at the
-same time as the map was created...
-..it also flowed
-to the west of the island too.
-This part to the south
-has since been filled?
-Yes, to the south
-are the Morfa Dyffryn sand dunes...
-..and gradually over 800 years,
-they've been moving further north.
-It continued to happen...
-..until 1819 when they
-completely redirected the river.
-Since then, the gap to the west
-has completely closed.
-is a National Nature Reserve too...
-..and they're both connected.
-They're incredibly important sites
-geologically and geomorphology.
-They're also important for wildlife
-reliant on these landforms.
-There are all kinds here!
-Plants predominantly hold
-the dunes' ecosystems together.
-Some of them have names
-which baffle the imagination.
-The Welsh name for this flower
-is tag aradr, restharrow in English.
-on land that was being ploughed...
-..it was a pain
-for people pulling the plough...
-..because this flower
-got tangled up in it...
-from ploughing properly.
-It emits a pleasant smell.
-It's surrounded by wild thyme too.
-These plants are characteristic
-of sand dunes of this age.
-Look what's in front of us here.
-The Welsh term for it is Corhelygen,
-a tree belonging to the willow.
-The salix repens.
-It's one of the site's
-It only grows
-in sand dunes where it's moist.
-You won't find it
-in many other places.
-Does it only grow to this height?
-Does it only grow to this height?
-It won't grow much taller.
-Rabbits graze on it but it
-doesn't grow to the size of a tree.
-Corhelygen with 'cor' meaning dwarf
-- small willow.
-It's obvious the landscape
-has taken years to form.
-You mentioned the sand sweeping in
-predominantly from Cardigan Bay.
-How do the dunes form and spread?
-The first thing you need is a piece
-of seaweed or driftwood will do.
-Sand will blow in...
-..and form behind it
-to create a mini dune.
-Once that's happened,
-plants creep in.
-It might get wiped out in a storm...
-..but the same process
-will happen the following year.
-These dunes are formed
-over a successive period.
-The more sand there is,
-the more plants it attracts.
-The further back you go
-in the system...
-..you can see
-where plants have grown.
-You get different plants
-in moist areas.
-You'll get even more plants
-growing under those conditions...
-..because plants die and create
-new soil to nurture other plants.
-It's a good balance, then.
-It's a good balance, then.
-Yes, it's completely balanced.
-It's interesting seeing
-all these changes occur each year.
-It's an exceptional place.
-The only other question I have is,
-how do I find my way home?
-The south's that way, so you
-should be heading in that direction.
-Let's try that then.
-From the sky, the area between Morfa
-Dyffryn and Barmouth looks calm.
-Closer to the ground,
-things are much livelier.
-From Ardudwy Beach, this stretch
-of sea is called Crochan Benar...
-..which is treacherous in a storm.
-A mile inland is
-the former site of Egryn Quarry...
-..which was in use
-until the 19th century.
-The stone used to build
-Harlech Castle came from here.
-Getting to these places is difficult
-if you don't know your way around...
-..but a path to the south
-leads to a fantastic vantage point.
-This route is called
-the Panorama Walk...
-..because the views from here
-Travellers came to Barmouth
-along this route...
-..before a road was built in 1815
-and a train line after that.
-Here you'll get a bird's eye view
-of the Mawddach Estuary.
-Mawdd is probably a personal name...
-..as it appears in the name
-Dinas Mawddwy, many miles inland.
-Over time, the name Abermawdd
-became Abermo and then Bermo...
-also appears on some signs.
-As you'd imagine, this route
-is very popular with tourists...
-..despite the fact that the medieval
-tavern that was situated here...
-..has long gone.
-They missed a trick there,
-They say Barmouth was one of the
-first holiday destinations in Wales.
-flocked here to try a new fad.
-John Jones or John Sam
-is a full-time resident of Barmouth.
-A former town mayor and the owner
-of a B&B who can proudly boast...
-..that his family
-has lived in Barmouth for centuries.
-I know you and your brother...
-..have been tracing
-your family's very colourful past.
-Both the town's history and
-my family's history is colourful.
-While they owned the smithy
-..their history was respectable...
-..but something significant
-happened around 1880...
-..and all the men died,
-for some reason.
-I don't know if they'd been
-struck down by a disease.
-The women were left behind.
-My great-grandmother and her sister,
-two relatively young women...
-..started a company
-providing company for lonely men.
-and they bore lots of children.
-Because of that my great-grandmother
-was excommunicated from chapel.
-Some of their children were
-taken away from them by the courts.
-They were essentially orphaned.
-When it comes to my grandfather,
-she sold him when he was six...
-..to a farm in Dysynni Valley.
-They had no boys
-and they needed a farmhand...
-..so my grandfather
-went there aged six.
-Like any harbour...
-..I'm sure people
-had connections all over the world.
-The ships set sail from Barmouth
-to all parts of Europe...
-..down to the Mediterranean...
-..over to the Americas...
-..and up to the Baltic.
-Ships also docked here.
-There was always a mix
-of nationalities here.
-It was a rather cosmopolitan town
-which looked out on the world.
-Captain William Davies' house...
-..known as Caprera.
-It's believed the captain...
-..transported a cargo
-from Barmouth to Genoa...
-..and it was there that he loaded
-another cargo bound for Sicily.
-As they were leaving Genoa...
-..someone asked him if he
-could accompany them to Sicily.
-The man happened to be
-..who was an Italian nationalist
-who unified Italy.
-He lived on a small island
-next to Sicily called Caprera.
-fell in love with the island...
-..and when he returned,
-he renamed his house Caprera...
-..as you can see.
-..as you can see.
-Names carry so much significance.
-You can see the whole town.
-Yes, between sea and mountain.
-The old town is on the cliff.
-The river used to fork here.
-A fork emanated
-on this side of the sand dunes.
-To this day
-we call those dunes Ynys y Brawd...
-..because of the connection
-with Cymer Abbey.
-When the abbey existed,
-all this land belonged to the monks.
-There are several places in town...
-have an association with the abbey.
-There's Craig Mynach, Cil Mynach...
-..Wern Mynach and so on.
-So this is the Frenchman's Grave?
-Yes, Auguste Guyard.
-During the period
-when the Prussians invaded France...
-..who was one of France's
-most well-known philosophers...
-..had to flee.
-He came here to live with
-his daughter and son-in-law.
-Paris was under siege and people
-were forced to eat dogs and cats...
-..and animals from the zoo.
-feared for his little dog, Clara.
-Clara came to Barmouth
-with Auguste Guyard.
-No place of rest
-has a better view than this.
-It's wonderful, isn't it?
-that a bunch of sailors...
-..decided on the name Barmouth
-Truth is, the name
-was in use long before that.
-Perhaps for as long as people
-have been flocking here.
-and wanderers down the generations.
-Tourists' modes of transport
-have changed throughout the ages...
-..but Wales' beautiful shores
-still attract them.
-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.
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.