This book will be released in hardback in AUGUST 2017
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Two hundred years ago, Wales was an all but forgotten corner of England. Travelling across its remote uplands between scattered settlements was often a challenge as was entering a land close to home where few people outside its towns spoke English. It was rarely visited without good reason. A Wilder Wales introduces readers to the sheer breadth of experience these travellers had, through extracts from 35 books, journals and periodicals, written between 1609 and 1831. These accounts, ranging from jobbing writers, to a Duke's progress, include antiquarians, historians and seekers of sublime scenery from the Wye Valley to the 'British Alps' of Mid and North Wales. A Wilder Wales highlights the astonishing transformation from a poor rural backwater to the crucible of the industrial revolution and how others saw the land and its people. These accounts describe the early days of mining, in Parys Mountain (Anglesey) and Ceredigion as well as early coal mines in Pembrokeshire and then cover the birth of metal refineries in Swansea, Merthyr and across the Valleys. As well as describing the towns, countryside and mountains, religion, customs, politics and eating and drinking are discussed, along with a more open-minded consideration about Welsh language and culture than would emerge in later accounts.
David Lloyd Owen was conceived in Bagdad and born in London, with summers being spent at his family's old house near Llangrannog, Ceredigion. After reading environmental biology at Liverpool University, he went to Jesus College, Oxford for his doctoral research on the behaviour and ecology of the Chough, looking at three pairs living near Llangrannog. He put his animal behaviour research to good use by becoming an equity analyst in the City of London just before 1986's 'Big Bang' and started following the water sector in 1989. Since 1996, he has been a water consultant, advising governments, multilateral institutions, companies, and banks about water policy, especially regarding finance and sustainability. In the 1990s, several months were spent travelling through Western China, Baltistan and Ladakh. After marrying Polly in 1998, they decamped to Wales, buying a farm near Cardigan which they now share with Bethan, Trystan and plenty of animals. As well as collecting books on Wales and South and Central Asia, he dabbles in rural life, writing, epicure and local politics, ending up as Mayor of Cardigan in 2003.