Darwin in Cwm Idwal


Come walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. Photo © C. Duigan.

Over the next few weeks I will be making my annual contribution to teaching ecology and conservation at Bangor University and this will be reflected in my blogs and tweets.  We will be going on a field trip to Cwm Idwal to assess the conservation importance of the lake.  I will have the thrill of telling the students that they are walking in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, a Cambridge student, who came here to learn geology with his teacher Adam Sedgwick.  Enroute to the lake I will point out some of the geological features which some what eluded them.

In his autobiography Darwin wrote:

“We spent many hours in Cwm Idwal, examining all the rocks with extreme care, as Sedgwick was anxious to find fossils in them; but neither of us saw a trace of the wonderful glacial phenomena all around us; we did not notice the plainly scored rocks, the perched boulders, the lateral and terminal moraines. Yet these phenomena are so conspicuous that, as I declared in a paper published many years afterwards in the Philosophical Magazine, a house burnt down by fire did not tell its story more plainly than did this valley. If it had still been filled by a glacier, the phenomena would have been less distinct than they now are.”

One thought on “Darwin in Cwm Idwal

  1. Pingback: Darwin’s Boulders, Cwm Idwal | Uisce

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