A reservoir was built in the Clywedog valley, near Llanidloes, Powys to supply water for the City of Birmingham. On 31 July 1963 the Clywedog Bill was given the Royal Assent, and building work began. By drowning the Clywedog valley 615 acres of agricultural land would be lost and three farms drowned.

Opposition to the plan to build the reservoir in the valley grew among local inhabitants. The campaign against the drowning of the valley was led by members of Plaid Cymru. In April 1963 the Clywedog sub-committee met for the first time to discuss what could be done to save the valley from drowning. The committee included J. W. Meredydd, Arthur Thomas, Islwyn Ffowc Ellis, Elystan Morgan and Elwyn Roberts.

Map of Clywedog (40K)
Minutes of the first meeting of the Clywedog sub-committee. (52K)

Plaid Cymru's executive committee decided to take out a lease on 2.6 acres of land in the Clywedog valley for 25 years. The land was divided into 75 units which were rented by 200 people from Wales and beyond who opposed the scheme. Each unit of land was worth £12 and they were divided into four parts costing £3 each.

The main reason for acquiring this land was that landowners were permitted to express their opinions in the public enquiry which was set up to look into the matter. It was also thought that the landowners could keep 'trespassers' who were working on the scheme off their land. The Clywedog defence committee knew that the dam would be built, but purchasing the land was a way for them to express their objections to the proposed development. A law was passed which gave the government compulsory purchase powers, and the campaign to purchase land failed to stop the reservoir being built.

On 13 April 1965 an open day was arranged in the Clywedog valley for members of the British press while the building work was under way. Some members of Plaid Cymru, including its leader Gwynfor Evans, created a disturbance to emphasise the fact that the local people and many people in Wales were unhappy with the situation.

On 6 March 1966 a bomb exploded on the site of the reservoir and it was suspected that there was a connection with 'MAC' (Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru), a group of political extremists under the leadership of John Barnard Jenkins. The bomb caused £36,000 worth of damage, and six weeks of work was lost. 'MAC' was also responsible for placing bombs at the Temple of Peace in 1968, and in Abergele on the morning of the investiture of Prince Charles, when Arwel Jones and George Taylor were killed by their own bomb.

Plaid Cymru's opposition to the Clywedog Bill (80K)

The Water Industry

Top of this page Ymgyrchu! Home Page
Espanol This page Y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg Up a level Time Line Ymgyrchu! Ymgyrchu! Home Page Search Ymgyrchu! Site Map National Library of Wales