Snowdon is up for sale, and it could be yours for just £7m
Thursday 31 July 2014
After decades struggling to make a living from tending his flocks in the rugged mountains of Snowdonia – enduring criticism from those preferring to see the landscape preserved rather than worked on - Dafydd Morris has had enough.
The 76-year-old farmer, from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, who still tends to his sheep every day, is set to become a multi-millionaire with plans to sell off hundreds of acres of land in one of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes.
Around 600 acres of land on the northern slopes of Snowdon, which he has owned since 1986, is up for grabs in a sale which could make more than £7m.
Speaking to The Independent , Mr Morris confirmed: “We are playing with the idea” of selling the land and that it would be “something in the region of 600 acres in total”.
The land includes Clogwyn Du'r Arddu – one of the best places for rock climbing in Britain, and rough pasture from the cliffs to the Snowdon Mountain Railway Halfway station.
A website created by agents acting for Mr Morris states: “This famous mountain is regarded as one of the wonders of Wales, the jewel in the crown of Snowdonia and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the UK.”
In a pitch to interested buyers, it says: “A large part of the Snowdon massif is up for sale and Dafydd Morris is calling on all conservationists and the public in general to grasp the opportunity to buy a part of Snowdon to help conserve and cultivate its natural beauty for generations to come.”
It adds: “Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh is the highest mountain in Wales and is the home to a number of rare plant and bird species including the world renowned Snowdon Lily artic-alpine plant, treasured by the Welsh nation.”
Access to the private blog is by invitation only in a bid to stem the tide of would-be purchasers.
Mr Morris explained the reason for his decision to sell: “We are thinking now of selling the mountain because people are not happy with the way that the hill farmers are working on the mountain, and they are complaining and complaining, saying that we are destroying the environment and everything else. So we are thinking seriously of giving them a chance to watch after the environment.”
He added: “It seems to be that they genuinely worry for the environment and wildlife, and if that is true, they can show me now that they do care and they will buy it and do something good with it.”
The life of a hill farmer is “very, very hard indeed”. Mr Morris recalled: “In 2013 we had a terrible snowstorm, and we lost 258 ewes and we did not get a penny in compensation.”
Mr Morris is a veteran campaigner for the rights of hill farmers and a former chairman of the independent Council of the Welsh Highland Shepherds, and said that while he was unable to give details of potential buyers, he had met with his land agent to discuss the sale. He will still be left with a large area of land, owning another 600 acres which he does not plan to sell any time soon.
Responding to the news, John Harold, the director of the Snowdonia Society, said he hoped the proposal is motivated by a desire to protect the “iconic landscape, precious mountain habitats, rare wildlife, and the 'mountain experience'” rather than the “potential income of £7.5million.”
He added: “Fortunately, much of the land is a National Nature Reserve and nearly all of it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. It is unlikely Snowdon will end up spattered with private glamping sites or such eyesores.”
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