Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
Saturday 10th March 2007
In this week's Open Country Helen Mark visits Dolgellau in North Wales.
It was 350 years ago this year that the founder of the Quaker movement, George Fox, arrived in the town. Helen Mark meets local Quaker Catherine James, who explains why it was that he was so well received in Dolgellau. And she tells Helen about the persecutions that followed and what effect the subsequent decision of many to emigrate to America had on the town.
Above Dolgellau looms the imposing mountain Cader Idris. Helen walks up the mountain with National Park Warden and former vet Rhys Gwynn to learn about its plants and wildlife, as well as its folklore. Later he takes Helen to the banks of the nearby estuary, once a hive of industrial activity but now one of the most inspiring areas in the Welsh countryside.
Apart from having a rich history Dolgellau is also rich in minerals. Prospector George Hall takes Helen on a tour of some of the old gold mines in the hills surrounding the town. They may be disused now, but George believes there's still plenty of the metal left to be dug out.
And many of the disused mines around the town are now a sanctuary for wildlife. Helen pays a nervous visit underground on the lookout for lesser horseshoe bats and otters.
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