1882 A Field Trip with the Caradoc Field Club

Pistyll Rhaedr  © Copyright Peter Evans and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence


The Caradoc Field Club was a natural science society based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  It would seem that some members were also members of the Chester Society.

July 19th Wednesday I was invited by Mr. Jebb to meet the members of the Caradoc Field Club at the well-known waterfall of Pistyll Rhaiadr. The weather was very rainy previously but luckily the 19th was very fine. I got the groom to drive me to Milltir Gerig [SJ020 304 on B4391] at the head of the Llangynog valley. The valley looked very pleasing with its green fields all the way down to Llangynog and hemmed in on each side by wild, rocky hills. I left the road at Milltir Gerig and went over the mountain towards the waterfall. I got to the river which runs over the falls near where it is joined by a pretty mountain torrent at a place called Cerig-y-bedau. Here I saw a British Stone Circle,[SJ057 302] 40 feet in diameter, with a passage of 10 feet wide leading from it to a distance of 150 feet. Near the end of the passage, but not in line with it was another circle 15 feet in diameter. The passage or avenue had stones standing upright on each side but they were very irregular and not over 18 inches in height. No doubt but the stones had been removed or else fell down and got covered over with peat. The ground in the line of the avenue was intersected by a little hollow, but there was no attempt at leveling. The stones were obtained from a spot near where a greenstone band crosses, which lay strewn about in handy blocks. Plenty of slate rock cropped out on each side of it but not used. Near the east end which ran east and west I saw a slab of slate with the following inscription:

Granhafon Boundary 1824

I got to the falls[SJ274 095] at a quarter to 2 o’clock when I seated myself upon a flat block of stone to eat my luncheon. The water fell into a round pool at my feet and the spray flew over me. It was a magnificent sight, seated there in full view of the falls. I was so near the foot of the falls and the height was so great that the foamy water seemed to drop from the white clouds above it.

The fall first over a thick mass of rudely columnar ash rock, which stands perpendicularly, under the ash is a great thickness of slate rock which was a little worn with the water, but the fall is nearly perpendicular three parts of the way, here it falls into a deep rock-bound pool worn into the slate rock. In this pool it whirls round at a rapid rate, then rushes under a natural arch which it cut through the slate, then another little cascade leads it into another pool, from which it leaps over into the nearly rockbound pool at the bottom, where it keeps whirling around until it makes its escape down the valley. The total height of the cascade is 210 feet, and the stream there was 30 feet wide. The rocks are semicircular and beautiful, wooded on each side of the cascade. Several flowering plants and ferns grow on the rocks and under the trees, so that the whole forms a truly magnificent sight.

My friends arrived at 3 o’clock so that I was introduced to new friends and saw old ones, such as Mr. Jebb, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Beacall. The above three went up Cader Idris with me last year. There were a few ladies, Mrs. Jebb and Mrs. Taylor being among them; the last named lady was the wife of the Vice President. After seeing the falls, we started to cross the Berwyns to Llandrillo Station. There were only nine had the courage or the time at their disposal to follow me, but Mrs. Jebb, Mrs. Taylor and a gentleman accompanied us to Llyn Lyn-caws [SJ071 316 – about 3km from falls – ed.] Mr. Phillips had to return, but Mr. Beacall followed Mr. Jebb and myself. The Vice president also followed. Llyn Llyn-caws is nearly surrounded by either hills or rocks, evidently a lake formed by glacial action. It is very uninteresting to the botanist, but is said to contain large trout.

We had a stiff pull up the Berwyn ridge but rested several times on the way to see the views down the upland valleys with their ever-shifting sunshine and shadows. On the way up we saw several patches of the Lycopodium alpinum We made a halt on Moel Sych [SJ066 318] where the counties of Merioneth, Denbigh and Montgomery meet at a point marked by a cairn. We next went to the top of Cader Berwyn [SJ 072 327] where a greenstone mass forms a rugged peak. From the top of Cader Berwyn we got extensive views of the distant mountains. The Caernarvonshire mountains could not be seen clearly, but we saw Aran, Arenig, they Clwydian range, the Eglwyseg Rocks near Llangollen and the Wrekin far away on the skyline. Bala Lake shone like a mirror in the sunshine and Llyn Mynydlod could be seen as well as the pool of Maesyclawd at Llanderfel. We found the cloudberry on our way across Craig Berwyn to Cader Fronwen, but we could not get any fruit, and the flowers were over. The golden plover was the only bird of interest except the goldcrest, which I saw at the falls.

We got down over the top to Hendwr hill where I showed them the fine stone circle on Moel Ty Ucha. This British circle is 30 feet in diameter and has 44 upright stones, varying in height from 18 to 24 inches. The circle is almost complete with an entrance on the south side. There is one stone out of place but it lies close to where it stood.

We got down to the station five minutes before train time, here we parted with two of our number who returned home by train. The rest went to Bala.

July 20th  I was rather stiff in the morning, but I got ready for Bala as I was to guide my friends over the beds at Gelli Grin and Aberhirnant, and then bring me back to see my collections. I had an invitation to breakfast with them so I went by the first train. I found them all in fair trim for another ramble. We all enjoyed a most excellent breakfast of tea and coffee, salmon, ham and eggs, cold fowl and hot chops. After breakfast we all strolled through Bala to see all that was to be seen and then went along the foot of the lake where we found the shoreweed and quill wort, meadow rue, etc. Aran, Cader, and Arenig appeared towering and the lake itself looked beautiful with its surface covered with white crested waves which rolled along before a strong breeze. At Penygarth we saw very interesting glacial striations running from west to east in a line with the valley. At Rhosygwaliau they were interested in the great number of boulders which were strewn in the bed of the river at the junction of the Hirnant and Cymmerig [SH943 346]

Shortly after we got to the fossil zones at Gelli Grin where I shoiwed them the different zones and several fossils. We saw several plants, but the most interesting was the green butterfly orchis (Habenaria viridis)

 I showed them a lovely bit of river scenery near Glanhirnant when crossing the Hirnant by the rustic bridge. The stream rushed like a torrent over and between large boulders and water worn outcrops of rock, until it disappeared beneath the shade of the overhanging trees. Between Rhosygwaliau and Aberhirnant we saw another beautiful sight; there was a rugged brow of a hill which overlooked the road covered with the fine-leaved heather in full bloom, its purple glow looked most lovely in the bright sunshine. Above the heather was a kestrel hovering on almost motionless wings. Near this spot we saw the wild marjoram and a monstrous variety of sedum anglicum, what ought to be pretty white or pinkish flowers were only green leaves.

All of them admired the valley, and no wonder, for its wild, rugged and beautifully wooded sides is enough to please the most fastidious. At the back of Aberhirnant I showed them the Hirnant Beds and their line of strike. We had luncheon between Maeshir and the Stile, and got to the stile by one o’clock. Here time was given to see the distant mountains and lovely scenery – Aran, Arenig, the Clwydian range and the Berwyn range were very clear, the grand mountains of Snowdonia were also seen. All were pleased to see Snowdon, Moel Siabod, and Glyder Fawr with the Pass of Llanberis between them.

The Dee winding through its rich and beautifully wooded vale pas Llanderfel was also very much admired, and the rounded hills and mountain valleys of Aberhirnant were also very pleasing, On the way down here we found the Vicia orobus [a vetch, ed.], the gentiana campestris and the rare and interesting Listera cordata [an orchid – lesser Twayblade – ed.]. Calettwr next came in for a share of admiration, its wild torrent rushed down the gorge, under the bridge beneath the shade of trees.

During their stay here, they examined with great interest my collections of fossils, eggs, coins, minerals and the antiquities. The bronze celt and the silver piece of Louis 14th which I recently added to my collection were of much interest. I also showed them some rare British plants, the illicibrium verticillatum being of great interest. Frances had tea ready after seeing the collections and all did justice to it. Mr. Jebb sat on the right of Frances and the Vice President (Mr. Taylor) on her left. I had Mr. Beacall on my right and the Rev. Mr. Swainson on my left. After tea and a vote of thanks to us we started for the station all saying that they never enjoyed themselves more in any of their rambles. We had a fine, sunshiny day which added much to our enjoyment. They asked me to write a report of it for the Shrewsbury Chronicle of the 4th of August – Which see. [Not found, ed.]