Historic Landscape Characterisation       

Ardudwy - Area 1 Fieldscape, lower hill slopes (PRN 18234)


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved, Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, 100017916, 2005

Historic background

The area contains evidence for late prehistoric settlement in the form of a number of enclosed homesteads and associated enclosures. Aerial photography has shown the potential for recording further, extensive early settlement as now-ploughed out earthworks. The area is agriculturally fertile and has been extensively farmed in the past.

There are several sub-medieval (16th century onwards) houses here (e.g. Egryn, Hendre-fechan, Hengwm) which demonstrate the early establishment of large farmsteads on the better-quality land. At the southern end of the area, the place-names Hafotty and Ffridd fechan indicate expansion at some time during the post-medieval period onto the upland fringes.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Drystone walls, fieldscape, post-medieval houses, relict archaeology

This area lies in a narrow corridor between the sea and the upper mountain slopes just north of Llanaber. It comprises the fieldscape on the fertile and improved lower hill slopes between the main A496 road and approximately the break of slope where the field pattern changes as the ground becomes less fertile (area 02).

The overwhelming historic landscape characteristics of this area are the massive drystone field walls which carve up the landscape into fairly large, regular fields. The contrast between the almost-white walls and the green pasture is particularly striking. Most of these are 19th century in date. However, towards the upper part of the area in particular many of the fields here are irregular in shape, size and plan and are generally small. They are defined by dry stone walls in a variety of construction techniques. The curvilinear pattern of many of them betray their origins in the prehistoric period, and there are many well-preserved (as well as some ploughed-out) prehistoric settlement sites and enclosures within this area (for example at Hendre-eirian and around Eithin-fynydd). The agricultural basis of the area is reasonably good pasture which is improved. There are a number of sheepfolds in the corners of some of the fields.

The area is also characterised by a settlement pattern of scattered farmsteads, ranging in date, size and importance from 16th-century Egryn Abbey to small, 19th century upland-type farms such as Ffridd fechan. The field patterns in the south of the area, and the name Hafotty, may relate to post-16th century encroachment of the upper wastes. In fact, outside the settlement of Llanaber, all the settlement along this stretch of coastline is contained within this area.


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