locations

Stormteller map

This story is set in my home territory although the themes are universal. I live in a village called Taliesin 3 miles from the sea in North West Ceredigion.

Taliesin is named after Wales' special poet, who lived in the 6th century is person to write down all the old stories of Wales.

The picture at the top of every page is taken from the hill behind Taliesin. To the west is the sea, with a village called Borth on the shore and just to the north in the centre of the picture a nature reserve called Ynyslas, opposite (on the right) a village called Aberdyfi on the estuary of the River Dyfi (pronounced Dovey).

In between Taliesin and Borth is a marsh – the darker area beyond the snowy fields – called Cors Fochno – Borth bog. That too is a nature reserve.

In fact the whole of the beautiful valley is now a UNESCO biosphere.

Mynydd HyddgenTo the east, behind the picture, the land rises, going up to 500 meters into the hills, and the county of Powys.

This is where the teenage boys Bryn and Tomos go on their journey, shown in green on the map, across the moors and through the forest.

There is an old battlefield at Mynydd Hyddgen (right) where the Welsh fought the English 600 years ago, and just over the ridge, the source of the mighty rivers Severn and Wye.

Beyond that is the town of Llanidloes.

Borth

Borth petrified forestBorth, Where Tomos lives at the start of the story, is a long struggle out village about a mile long on the coast.

It used to be a fishing village. When the tide is out you can see the remains of an old petrified Forest exposed on the beach.

At high tide it comes dangerously close to the line of houses on the front. In winter 2013/14 it suffered some of the most severe storms in the UK.Borth beach at high tide 2010 Tomos's is one of these houses.

The sea has been known during storm surges to come right through the ground floors of these houses.

This happens perhaps once a year, although new sea defences are being built to try and prevent this, yet there is still a danger of the frequency of storm surges increasing. Previously there were particularly bad storms and floods in 1974, 1975 and 1997, and a scientific report has cited Borth as being the most vulnerable coastal settlement in Wales. houses on the seafront at Borth

On the moors

The place where Bryn lives is made up, but it is at the top of the Clettwr valley.

 the alleged grave of TaliesinTaliesin's grave (right) is a real place, but it is actually a collapsed Stone Age dolmen.

To the east of this the land rises and becomes bleak. Mainly it is sheep pasture and evergreen forest.

It is dotted with abandoned farmhouses and mines.

Lluest-yr-rhos in winterThe highest peak is Pumlumon, at 752m. From here you can see Ireland on a good day, as well as much of Wales north and south!

When the cloud comes down it is very easy to get lost. It's inhospitable in winter, but stark and beautiful.

There is wildlife despite the lack of biodiversity cause by the sheep grazing and the conifer plantations. These include birds of prey, hares and rabbits, badgers and foxes.Pumlumon north face in winter.

As Bryn discovers there is also plenty to eat in the form of edible plants, fungi and animals.

Nowadays the footpaths from the east stop more or less at the border between Ceredigion and Powys.

Over the border the huge Hafren forest begins, where the sources of the Severn (Hafren in Welsh) and the Wye are located.Hafren forest and the young river Severn

This makes it hard to plan a walk from Taliesin to Llanidloes, but it would have been easier in the old days.

The picture on the left of the young Severn shows somewhere near where the second climax of the story happens.

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