The Moles of Treflach

Even today the Jacobite’s toast the little gentleman in black velvet for obvious reasons.  It is this time of year and Autumn they are most prolific with their tunnelling when the grass is short and molehills most visible. They are looked on as a pest as they leave debris on the soil surface and over time they have been trapped, however their disappearance created the invention of the mole plough to improve soil drainage, and the moleskin clothing of today gets its name from the medieval moleskin known for its luxurious warmth and comfort.

The purpose of the tunnelling is to create a labyrinth world to trap invertebrates to eat.

After the last Ice Age, moles only made it on to the mainland in the UK as they move so slow and rising sea levels meant they didn’t make it to Ireland and other islands around.

I cannot leave this subject and not mention some other moles of Treflach. In the First World War there were prisoners of war at Porth-Y-Waen; some escaped and lived in the woods of Treflach for some time. Where a cottage now stands, there is a network of tunnels close by.  When one hungry escapee went to the local shop for food he was followed back to base surreptitiously. The tunnels were sealed up but not destroyed!

By Andrew Steele