Carwyn Graves launches his new book ‘Tir: The Story of the Welsh Landscape’ on the Lampeter campus.

Carwyn Graves, a member of staff at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has launched his new book ‘Tir: The Story of the Welsh Landscape’ on the Lampeter campus this week.

The book is a continuation of his previous successful book ‘Welsh Food Stories’, where he takes a step back from focusing on the history of food to look at the history of the land that produced the food. However, there is a strong link with apples as the book contains an entire chapter on the history of orchards in the Welsh landscape.

Launching the book, Carwyn said:

“After three years of work it’s a very good feeling. It was apparent when I started writing that agriculture and wildlife are controversial and increasingly important fields – and by the time the book came out farmers were protesting on the steps of the Senedd. That shows the importance of understanding our landscape, and the role agriculture and nature have played in shaping it.”

In the volume ‘Tir: The Story of the Welsh Landscape’ the writer and ecologist takes us on a tour of seven key elements of the Welsh landscape, such as the mountain pasture, the wild moorland and the hedges. By diving deep into the history and ecology of each of these landscapes, the book shows that the landscape of Wales, in all its beautiful variety, is just as much a human cultural creation as a natural phenomenon: its raw materials evolved alongside the human beings who have lived here since the ice receded.

The thrust of the book is that the history of the Welsh landscape until the mid-20th century is a history of people and nature developing side-by-side, and that the major changes that have come since then have been clearly damaging to people in the countryside and also to wildlife. There are therefore lessons that we can learn from our history about producing food alongside nature thriving.

The book aims to give readers a broader picture. Carwyn has enjoyed drawing on the expertise of so many people – from traditional farmers to landscape historians (including Professor David Austin, formerly of Lampeter), ecologists and poets, observing the overlap that exists between these areas.

Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Provost for UWTSD Lampeter and Carmarthen campuses said:

“The University was delighted to host the launch in collaboration with Calon, University of Wales Press. The audience was enchanted by Carwyn’s immense knowledge and expertise along with his ability to communicate aspects of the book in such a clear and unassuming way. We now look forward in great anticipation to reading the book and enjoy its fascinating and rich content.”