Berwyn range


Berwyn range

The Berwyn range (Welsh: "Y Berwyn" or "Mynydd y Berwyn") is an isolated and sparsely-populated area of moorland located in the north-east of Wales, roughly bounded by Llangollen in the north-east, Corwen in the north-west, Bala in the south-west, and Oswestry in the south-east. It is famously known for its alleged 1974 UFO crash known as the Berwyn Mountain UFO incident.

The Berwyn range also played its part in causing King Henry II to turn back during his invasion of Gwynedd in 1165. Rather than taking the usual route along the northern coastal plain, his army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyns. The invasion faced an alliance of Welsh princes, but there was no fighting - endless days of heavy rain forced the army to retreat.

Description

The area is wild, remote (by British standards) and covered in a layer of heather about one metre thick, with some acidic grassland and bracken, which makes the area difficult for hill-walkers. Navigation can be difficult as the hills in the area are not very high, and are often obscured by mist or low cloud. The area supports substantial populations of upland birds including raptors, such as the Hen Harrier ("Circus cyaneus"), Merlin ("Falco columbarius"), and Peregrine ("Falco peregrinus") (about 14-18 breeding pairs of each species, 1-2% of the total British populationFact|date=March 2008), and for this reason it is a Special Protection Area classified in accordance with the European Union's Birds Directive.Other wildlife include Short-eared Owl, Raven, Buzzard, Polecat and Golden Plover.

The main summits are Cadair Berwyn and Cadair Bronwen.

The Berwyn range is crossed to the south-west by the B4391 Milltir Cerrig mountain pass at an altitude of 486 metres (1594 feet).

Etymology

The scholar T. Gwynn Jones suggested that a possible origin of the term "Berwyn" was "Bryn(iau) Gwyn (ap Nudd)", where the Middle Welsh word "bre" (hill) had mutated to "Ber" + "Gwyn", Gwyn ap Nudd being the mythological King of the Tylwyth teg (Fair Folk, or fairies). [T. Gwynn Jones, "Welsh Folklore and Folk-Custom" (1930; new edition 1979). Several other place names in the area also include the element 'Gwyn'.]

References


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