The Mountain Region, the River Valleys and LowlandsCategory: Land + People
By D. M. Preece and H. R. B, Wood
On the highest parts of the Welsh uplands there are few people because the resources are meager. The damp climate, the low temperatures due to altitude, the thin soil and the difficulty of access make sheep rearing the chief occupation. It is possible to travel several miles over the Central Welsh uplands without seeing a single inhabited house. Ruined cottages there are evidence of the movement of people from these “poverty spots” to the cities of England and Wales. There are more Welsh people in London than in Cardiff, an appreciable percentage of the dairy-men and drapers of the capital city being of Welsh descent. Owing to the depression in the S. Wales coalfield between the two World Wars this movement of Welsh people to England was accelerated.
In the more accessible river valleys, where soils are deeper and richer, and the temperatures higher, mixed farming is practised, and this supports more people in scattered farms and villages.
In the upper Severn valley there was formerly a flourishing woollen industry at Newton and Welshpool. This has suffered through the lack of coal and the competition of such areas as the West Riding of Yorkshire. To-day, this industry is confined to Newton, and the output is small. There are, however, a few small isolated woollen mills in some of the valleys of Central Wales, e.g. at Tal-y-Bont, near Aberystwyth, where Welsh “homespuns” are manufactured.