55th Anniversary of Clywedog Dam Bombing

The 1960s protests over Tryweryn and the flooding of the village and valley of a Welsh speaking community have been well publicised. The event was just one of a number of such incidents in which long established communities were destroyed so water could be piped to the NW of England and the Midlands.

Another community destroyed was that at the site off the Clywedog reservoir in Clwyd-Powys. Following an enabling Act of Parliament, the dam and reservoir were constructed between 1964 and 1967 by damming the river Clywedog:

“The reservoir involved the flooding of much of the former agricultural land represented by small irregular fields and a number of farms and former farms and cottages, including those at Aber-biga, Gronwen, Eldid, Croes-isaf, Grodir, Coppice-llwyd (Cwm-pwll-llwyd) and Llwybr-y-madyn, Ystrad-hynod, Merllyn and Draws-y-nant, many of which were probably of medieval to early post-medieval origin. Other archaeological sites affected included the Ystradhynod Bronze Age burial mound and standing stone, excavated in 1965-66 in advance of flooding, which lay on the valley floor below Dinas, sited relatively close to the banks of the river Clywedog. In addition to some local opposition, similar to that which had accompanied the construction of the Tryweryn reservoir near Bala a few years earlier, construction work was delayed for several months in 1966 by a bomb detonated within the construction site, for which it was widely suspected that a political extremist group, Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), was responsible”.

According to the wiki article on Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru, David Pritchard, a prominent member of MAC who had carried out an attack on an electricity transformer at Tryweryn was involved in the Clywedog attack. MAC was the most effective direct action group in Wales and operated for most of the 1960s decade.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the attack on the Clywedog Dam.

Image Gwynfor Evans, president of Plaid Cymru (and later a founder member of the Celtic League), shakes hands with David Pritchard after a case at Bala magistrates’ court when Pritchard and fellow MAC member David Walters (middle) had each been fined for the transformer incident at Tryweryn. (1963)

Bernard Moffatt

AGS Celtic League (11th August 2021)

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