Drovers' roads and digging up the past the old fashioned way
I've been doing some good old fashioned research of late by visiting local libraries and archives to find information about drovers and their routes in NE Wales. It has made a change to use something other than a computer, typing in a search term in Google and clicking 'go'.
I did the obvious trawl of trusted websites like Genuki to get up and running. I then tried some web searches of catalogues and indexes held in local libraries and archives to find reading material like this info for Denbighshire and available in the archives offices at Ruthin Gaol [an atmospheric location in which to work].
It was all so easy. I was reading a book first published in the 1940s called 'Wales and the Drovers' by P G Hughes while sitting in Wrexham Library. It made reference to an article published in 1945 which was worthy of note and, faster than you could type the search term 'Caernarvonshire History Society Journal', all it took was a short walk across the first floor of Wrexham Reference Library to find the journal and the article therein, A Drover's Account Book.
My thanks also go to people like John Turner who has taken it upon himself to photograph drovers' roads.
And David Rowe from Mold Civic Society is forever a source of useful information. His suggested reading material was:
- Roads & Trackways of Wales by Richard Moore-Colyer (Landmark Press 2001)
- Hidden Highways of North Wales by R.J.A Dutton (Gordon Emery 1997), includes local the packhorse trail starting in Caergwrle
- The History of Halkyn Mountain by Bryn Ellis, p209 details the Turnpike Trusts and charges
My article is a way into the subject of droving and will be added to when time permits. It tries to pinpoint some drovers' routes as we look on BBC Local at ways of providing info about things to do and places to to visit as well as local history.