Historic Landscape Characterisation

Ardudwy - Area 16 Upper mountain slopes Moelfre and Mynydd Llanbedr (PRN 18249)


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

Historic background

This area comprises two huge areas of mountainous upland extending roughly from the 200m contour up to the mountain ridge itself (principally area 27) in certain places at over 750m, based on the areas of Moelfre (to the south) and Mynydd Llanbedr (to the north). They are so similar in archaeology and character that they can be treated as a single area.

Although both areas are now completely void of settlement, archaeological fieldwork, initially by Bowen and Gresham (1967), by Richard Kelly (1982) and by targetted upland survey in the area below Llyn Bodlyn (southern area) and on Mynydd Llanbedr by GAT (1988 and 1992), has demonstrated that these uplands have a complex history which needs to be drawn out.

The upland survey in particular identified, in two relatively restricted areas, dozens of sites of archaeological interest of all periods, from early prehistoric cairns and standing stones, hut circles and enclosures, clearance cairns, mounds long huts, building foundations, sheepfolds, mining remains, peat cuttings and many more ephemeral stone features. None of the sites have been excavated but morphologically they indicate some sort of occupation and human exploitation of these remote areas (not necessarily continuously) over the last three or four millennia.

The 18th and 19th century coach road from Bontddu down to the coast passes through the centre of the southern area (across Pont Scethin) and Ty Newydd (on the southern slopes of Moelfre) was a well-frequented stopping-over place.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Relict stone-built archaeological remains, drystone field walls

The most immediately visible historic features are the great lengths of straight, 19th-century field walls which cut directly and unsympathetically across these craggy and rocky areas. However, as the above section has shown, closer examination reveals a more complex historic landscape which requires further detailed investigation and analysis. These stone-built relict remains, varied in period and type and slight in nature, and their sheer numbers are the main characteristic of the historic landscape here.

One of the principal characteristics of the areas is that they have no modern settlement, and the only access is on foot via a small number of footpaths. They are, indeed, remote.


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