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Peat was used as fuel in the most areas of Ceredigion. Mosses of various kinds which had been compressed over the ages formed a layer of peat sometimes many feet deep in these temperate areas and the cutting of the peat for carrying away required the skilled use of the three special tools shown here.

1 The marking iron. This is used to cut the turf on top of the peat into squares.


2 The turf spade. This is used to lift the blocks of turf and place them on the ground below where the peat has already been cut.


3 The peat cutter or peat spade. This is pushed downwards to cut out long slices of peat, which are stacked in small stacks to dry before carrying home.

Mountain peat is harder and heavier than downland peat, and it is possible to cut thicker slices of lowland peat. The long blade of the cutter is called the "cockerel" and the short blade the "hen"; both are shorter in a mountain peat cutter than in a lowland cutter. Peat is still burned in a few houses in mid-Wales and extensively in some remote parts of the British Isles such as the Outer Hebrides.


Fuel. 3-4 shillings per load plus carriage. Each family requires six loads.

peat spread out to dry

Meyrick, S. R., The History and Antiquities of the County of Cardiganshire, 2nd edition, 1907, p. 114

The great bog between Tregaron and Ystrad Meuryg is the property of Johnes, Lisburne etc who are paid 5d per day (5d yr haiarn) for as much as one man can cut in 1 day, supplies a cottage hearth for a whole year. This is called Gors Coch ar Deifi Mr Wms, Ystrad Meurig consumes 20 days per annum a cottager having many children will require 2 or 3 days cutting per annum.

peat piled ready for transport

Williams, Edward, (Iolo Morganwg) NLW MS 13156A, p. 189