A profile of Esmé Kirby, the conservationist who formed the Snowdonia National Park Society. Her career began as an actress, and at 23 she married Thomas Firbank, whose bestselling book, I Bought a Mountain (1940) tells of their married life at Dyffryn, a 3,000-acre farm near Capel Curig. Their marriage ended as the Second World War began but Esmé continued to farm on her own in the rugged Snowdonia landscape and made a success of it. She remarried and became a volunteer conservationist and formed the Snowdonia National Park Society, to ensure the mountains were protected from future development.
"This book makes an excellent companion to the original 'I Bought a Mountain' by Esme's former husband, Thomas Firbank.
Having been fortunate enough to visit Dyffryn farmhouse (now owned by the National Trust), the atmospheric photography alone will lift any soul who has travelled or been fortunate to live in Snowdonia." - Reviewer, Amazon
"Thomas Firbank's 'I Bought a Mountain' (1940) is the best-selling account of his spell as a sheep farmer in Snowdonia. It is an unlikely and fascinating story. It is a very good book, no doubt. However, it is not an entirely satisfying one... Teleri Bevan's 'Esme: Guardian of Snowdonia' has now placed the background heroine of Firbank's story where she belongs: front and centre. And Esme's story is an important one to tell, so this is a welcome book." - Jim Morphy, Wales Arts Review
"How unusual a woman farmer would have been in that environment! And an outsider, too, without any farming background. Yet the local farming community saw her strength and determination, and helped her to succeed... She made a success of Dyffryn against all the odds, leaving a lasting legacy. We might all know of the farm through Thomas Firbank's book, but it is still there and thriving, for us all to enjoy, because of the sheer hard work and dedication of an extraordinary woman – the young wife he took to a dilapidated hill farm in Snowdonia eighty years ago." - Suzy Ceulan Hughes, Gwales
"Not many biographers could turn a bundle of minutes and agendas into such a lively account, fleshed out by interviews with Esme's family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. Esme was clearly not an easy person to pigeonhole." - Francesca Rhydderch, The Welsh Agenda