and again I have visited many places in this nation of mine. Often
to do so while traveling north I have had to journey along the A487 road,
for that is the road that runs north from Machynlleth the ancient capital of Wales
through the narrow steep sided valley of the Dulais river. Nestling
among the fir trees and slate outcrop in the valley bottom is the little sleepy village of Corris.
O I know that those of you who are fellow welshmen and know of it, will ask why I have
included it in my special places. I can imagine what your question
will be "what is so special about Corris? there are hundreds
of places just like it in Wales". That
would be a valued comment dear visitor and I shall answer you
times, from the 'new' section of road hewn out of the mountainside
high above, I have looked down at Corris and wondered of its times past. So it was that on a autumn morning a few years ago I decided
to visit, when I did so there was a cold and heavy mist enveloping the valley.
As I stood on the 'old' road that runs through the village with my mind attuned back to the days of Owain Glyndwr, for
I was to attend the dedication of a monument to him at Machynlleth
later that day, it was not hard for me to 'see' the
valley 'the way it was', no! not the year before or even at the
turn of the century, but hundreds of years previously in the days
of 'Llywelyn the Great', his grandson 'Llywelyn the Last', and
As the mist attempted to tighten its grip on my vision, I peered
through its constraints up the valley towards my favourite mountain,
Cader Idris, the 'chair of Idris' a giant skilled in poetry, philosophy
and astronomy. It is said of that old sentinel, which has observed
every movement that has occurred through the pass of Corris since
the beginning of time, that anyone who stays the night upon it
either dies, becomes mad or ends up a poet,
from the direction of the mountain I 'heard', as I stood enveloped
in that thick mist, the sound of rattling harness, the clank of
metal, and the banter of men. The noise was such that it was as
though I was 'hearing' an armed column advancing south towards
me in that secluded place. O yes! it was so easy then, for me
to understand why Corris is such a Special Place for me.
Corris stands upon the route that was so important to those Princes
of Gwynedd and Wales, for it was for them the gateway through the mountains
that enabled them to march south during those years they attempted
to keep this nation of mine free.
I hope that you too dear visitor may one day have the chance to stand on that
'old' road and 'hear' that very same sound that I am sure I heard,
for I will remember it for the fact that during that infinite
second in time a shiver ran down my spine, the like I may never
Afterwards, as I stood there with my brain awash with the emotion of history, it was good, so very good, to think that perhaps,
just perhaps, I had had the privilege to 'hear' through the echo's
of time, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and his men as they marched south
for the last time. For they were betrayed and defeated at Builth
in 1282. (See section on the Princes)
Yes Corris and the Dulais valley is a very special place to me.
e bawb (thanks to all) even the farmer, yes a farmer where the
land is that steep that the sheep have two legs shorter on one
side Ha Ha, who's name I shamefully forgot to ask, for the information
you gave me on my visit.
the unnamed farmer gave me the following census. It seems that
in the 1860's the population of Corris was between 350 and 400
souls. However, as slate grew in popularity, so more mines opened
in the valley. Such was the increase that when the 1880 census
report became available it seems there were some 2000 plus souls
resident in Corris. On entering the twentieth century, it seems
the village had become a town and had become a busy industrious
place. It boasted 14 shops, 4 chapels, 1 church, 3 banks, 2 schools,
2 public houses, 1 bakery, 1 Silver band, a Cricket team, 1 Rugby
and 1 Football team.
as has happened in many mining communities all over Wales, all
these have gone and Corris has returned to being a little village
in sleep mode, perhaps dreaming of its place in history.
One of the few remaining streets that are left in this little
village in the mountains. Gone are those hurly burly days of a
century ago when it was a large vibrant community. Also gone are
those many slate miners who once made their weary way home to
the cottages which made up the little streets.
The little red door of the Post Office which stands on what is
the the old road north west from Machynlleth to the quarry. There
are still customers today, but not as many as yesteryear.
may be, just may be, that the time of slate and coal will come
again and both will rise to the challenge of the world demanding
their products once again. Or will those mines that have closed
remain for ever shut, because of those who have governed the United
Kingdom through the years who believed that the miner should be
defeated at all costs. Maybe it will be Silicoses that governs
the day? That most evil of disease which makes a miner go from
being an active family man, to a wheezing coughing invalid with
a very shortened life expectancy. Then when he is confined to
his chair or bed he has to fight for compensation,
which he usually doesn't get before he dies.
Having seen the devastation the disease
has caused to families all over Wales then I would have to say,
if someone wanted to re open the mines, let
the damn mines stay shut.
all the people that I met and indeed in a special way to Corrisitself Diolch
yn Fawr for your hospitality. Until
we meet again, Hwyl from me Ole R.D.;
the Red Dragon of Wales,
O yes I promise I shall be back for I believe there are still
some great characters that I have not met,