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The University
of the Third Age,

The Mawddach Project

The Mawddach Project was the first work that the members of Barmouth U3A were involved in after the establishment of the U3A group in Barmouth.
The document below was created for the project and is reproduced for the interest of our readers.

Many of us who live around the Mawddach estuary think that it is the most beautiful place in the world. We say to each other, 'Aren't we lucky?' And we are. But it is also an amazing area in many other ways. The Mawddach Project will provide an opportunity for you, as an individual or in a small group, to investigate and record a particular aspect of the Mawddach's diversity.

The list of possible subjects for investigation is so long that possibly, you will be deterred, but do not be. The University of the Third Age is about recognising that all of us who are no longer in full time employment have skills, knowledge, experiences and an ability to learn; and are able to share these things with others. You may not think that this applies to you, but it does. The astonishing thing about the U3A (the Barmouth U3A anyway) is that everyone comes to it nervously, but finds that almost immediately they are comfortable with the group, that they do have something to offer or to enjoy. It is so uncompetitive!

The Mawddach Project is an opportunity for Barmouth U3A members to take part in a whole branch endeavour. It is not known how it will develop - big or small. It does not matter. The monthly meetings have already whetted the appetite of some members, about geology, gold mining and wildlife. mawddach Future meetings will give broad brush insights into other aspects of the Mawddach. Some individuals and groups have started investigating smaller aspects in greater detail. Whatever it is that we discover or investigate will be collected, and mounted as an exhibition.

So how do you choose an area of investigation and start to carry it out?
•• Decide what interests you - there are lots of suggestions at the bottom of this page, but feel free to choose your own.
Does one of our interest groups cover it?
•• If so, you can contact the co-ordinator or just start the investigation yourself. If there is no interest group, you can contact someone you know on the committee.
Is there any help available?
•• See the list of resources below or ask a committee member who you know. Maybe they will know someone who would like to do the investigation with you.
How big does the investigation have to be?
•• It can be any size you like.

Read on...
If you are uncertain how to go about tackling your chosen topic, we will do our best to help. Findings and experiences can be recorded in a great many different ways. If you have difficulty in deciding the best way to present your material, in sourcing information, or in accessing or using equipment, check the resources sections below, speak to a group co-ordinator or a committee member you know.

It is anticipated that the project will culminate in an exhibition, open to local residents and visitors to the area. The exhibition will be the U3A's members individual and collective findings, interpretations and impressions of the Mawddach.
mawddach At this stage there are no set expectations about how the project will develop, how big it will be and whether it will have any unifying themes. It is intended that it will gather momentum over the coming months and will evolve as more contributions are brought to fruition.

The U3A is about learning and expanding horizons. It is intended to foster self - directed learning. It is also about collaboration, co-operation, enjoyment, sociability and service to the wider community. This project fits with all those criteria and offers great scope for innovation, research and creativity.
Members, let's make a success of this, and put Barmouth U3A on the map. But above all let's enjoy it, learn new things, get to know each other better and meet new people.

Resources available within Barmouth U3A:
• Two members willing to help with translation of documents.
• A member with personal access to census records and Births, Marriages and Deaths records.
• A member willing to help others to locate appropriate photographs in archives.
• A member willing to search the internet for relevant information.
• Members willing to teach others how to use the internet, scan in photographs etc.
• A laptop computer, printer, scanner, digital camera, memory cards.
• A multi-media projector, screen for use with projector.
• A flip chart easel.

Outside Resources:
Gwynedd Archives at Dolgellau library, with records, documents, photographs and maps (some internet access).
Gwynedd Archives in Caernarfon library (some internet access).
The National Library of Wales Archives (some internet access).
Barmouth library (a few books on loan and also some out of print books for reference only).
• The online catalogues of all Gwynedd libraries.
• The inter-library loan service.
• The internet; Deudraeth Cyf offers a range of free taster sessions in the use of various computer skills including internet for beginners, the use of email, simple photo manipulation and word processing.
• Funding has been offered for a short course from an expert in the use of archives.
• The staff of 'The National Library of Wales' is especially committed to helping members of U3A's.
• Local newspaper archives.
Third Age Trust Resource Centre.

List of Topics:

Agrarian:  Hill Farming; Sheep Shearing; Forestry; Fishing; Other Farming.

Industry:  Shipbuilding; Ship Outfitting; Wool; Tanning; Printing; Mining for Copper, Gold, Minerals; Slate Quarrying; Tourism.

Travel and Transport:  Tracks and Pathways; Roads; Railways; Bridges; Fords and Ferries; The Mawddach as a Highway; Walks; Inns; Coaching Houses; B&B; Lodging Houses; Hotels; Horses; Pack Animals.

Buildings:  Materials; Techniques; Connection between Building, Geography and Climate.
Architecture of Public Buildings; Commercial premises; Farm Houses; Mills; Factories; Store Houses; Schools; Homes of any or all classes' of people; Hospitals; Asylums; Poor Houses; Places of Worship.
Interiors; Decorations; Furniture; Tools/implements; Equipment; Antiques; Artifacts.
Special Buildings: Cors y Gedol Hotel; The Roundhouse; The Bathhouse; Ty Gwyn.

Settlements:  Barmouth; Cutiai; Bontddu; Taicynhaef; Llanelltyd; Dolgellau; Penmaenpool; Arthog; Friog; Fairbourne.
Natural History:  Sites of Special Scientific Interest; Nature Reserves; Forests; Woodlands; Arthog Bog; Mawddach Trail; The Salt Marshes; Flora; Fauna; Mammals; Birds; Invertebrates; Fresh Water Life; Marine Life.

Historical Periods:  Pre history; The Dark Ages; The Middle Ages; 1500's; 1600's; 1700's; 1800's; 1900's.

Geography/Geology/Ecology:  Mawddach Tributaries; Mountains; Mountain Ranges; Lakes and Reservoirs; Streams and Waterfalls; River Silting; Maps; Changing Shape of the Mawddach; Climate Change.

mawddach Religion:  Pagan (Druids); Quakers; Cymer Abbey; Catholicism; Non-conformism; Chapels; Churches; Religious/Sacred Sites: Preachers; Monks; Nuns; Elders; Religious Leaders; Clergy; Ministers; Priests; Saints; Clothing; Robes; Vestments; Music; Texts; Books; Rituals; Law; Customs; Ceremonies; Rites.

People:  The Origins of the People of the Mawddach; Immigration; Emigration; Local Families; Genealogy; Famous and Notorious Residents; Famous and Notorious Visitors; Mayors; Councillors; Innovators in Trade and Industry; Musicians; Writers; Poets; Bards; Painters; Artists; Sculptors; Potters; Textile Artists; Farmers; Shipbuilders; Boatmen; Fishermen; Ship's Outfitters; Professionals; Philanthropists; Traders; Builders; Quarrymen; Miners; Servants; Estate Owners; Craftsmen.

Estates:  Nannau; Hengwrt; Farchynys; Borthwnog Hall; Penmaenucha.

Other Areas of Interest:  Diet; Cuisine; Recipes; Health; Welfare; Trade; Hospitals; Education; Traditional Medicine; Commerce; Trade; Traditional Festivals; Celebrations; Rituals; Myths; Legends; Folk Stories; Folk Music; Oral History; Clothing; Media; Politics; Leisure; Communications; Law and Order; War; Services; Shopping; Clubs and Societies; The National Trust; Institutions; Volunteers.

Themes:  Scandals; Disputes; Feuds; Conspiracies; Heroes; Villains; Tragedies; Treachery; Treason; Skulduggery; Intrigue; Misfortune; Murders; Muggings; Accidents; Fate; Wind and Tide; Wrecks; Weather; Fortunes Made or Lost; Prosperity; Poverty; Social Class; Bribery and Corruption; Enterprise; Humour; Innovation/Invention; Anecdotes; Characters.

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