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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 January, 2005, 17:09 GMT
Hill farm handed to heritage body
A Snowdonia hill farm made famous in a best-selling book has been acquired by a conservation body.

Dyffryn Mymbyr near Capel Curig was left to the National Trust in a bequest by hill farmer, Esmee Kirby.

The 3000-acre farm was the setting for the book, I Bought a Mountain.

Much of the farm, in one of the most rugged and photographed areas of Snowdonia National Park, will be open to the public.

Iwan Huws, director of the National Trust in Wales, said: "Dyffryn Mymbyr is a very special place, set in one of Wales's most dramatic landscapes.

"The acquisition of this hill farm by the National Trust safeguards a view which has come to symbolise the majesty of Snowdonia and the beauty of Wales.

Dyffryn Mymbyr
The area is rich in wildlife and historical interest

"It is known by people across the world. Enhancing the environmental and landscape value of the farm and providing open access for all who want to enjoy this wonderful natural asset, will be at the heart of our work at Dyffryn Mymbyr," added Mr Huws.

The late Mrs Kirby and her husband Peter were tireless campaigners for the conservation of the natural environment of Snowdonia.

In 1961 she co-founded the Snowdonia Society and more recently the Esmee Kirby Snowdonia Trust.

The land at Dyffryn Mymbyr is thought to have been farmed with a hefted flock of sheep for centuries. It supports a wide range of habitats and features, including upland heath, bogs, and extensive areas of acid grasslands.

Historical features such as dry stone walls, traditional sheep and goat pens, and rustic field barns feature on the landscape and the site is already a popular destination with walkers.

In his 1940 book I Bought A Mountain, Thomas Firbank tells how he took over Dyffryn Mymbyr without any experience before World War II.

Three further legacies from the late owner will pay for the upkeep of the farm.

The National Trust already owns more than 20,000 hectares in Snowdonia, or 12% of the National Park including 12 of the 15 peaks over 900 metres. Elwyn Jones, property manager with the National Trust, said the acquisition of the farm was very important to the organisation.

"The National Trust is a lot more than mansion houses and historic buildings." he said.

"The protection of the countryside and places of stunning natural beauty like this are very important to us."

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