Historic Landscape Characterisation

Ardudwy - Area 18 Llanbedr (PRN 18251)



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

Historic background

The dedication of the church at Llanbedr is medieval but there is no evidence of early settlement in the present buildings in the village, all of which are more recent (18th to 20th century). The settlement developed as a loosely ribbon development centred on the bridge (a scheduled ancient monument) which carries the main north-south road over the Afon Artro. The church and the nucleus of the earlier buildings appear on the north side of the river which was in the commote of Ardudwy Uwch Artro in the earlier medieval period.

Most of the buildings are of 18th and 19th century date, and relate to the development of the settlement in the latter century, probably around the Victoria Inn which was a strategic coaching inn on the main road down the coast. The settlement also forms a cross-roads, with roads heading off eastwards to the remote valleys of Cwm Bychan and Cwm Nantcol, and westwards down to the beach and dunes, where the road ends in the holiday complex of Mochras (Shell island). The houses and a few commercial buildings (pub, school, stores post office, garage) grew up along these four roads. In the later 19th and 20th centuries, several holiday ‘villas’ were built on the outskirts of the village (particularly on the northern side) emphasising the direction of the development of the local economy.

Key historic landscape characteristics

19th and 20th century ribbon settlement

The settlement is an attractive small nucleation based on the crossing of the Artro. The older buildings (mostly late 18th century) lie on the north side of this and include the main commercial buildings (for example the Victoria Inn, a single-storey building with a typically-intricate internal layout whose substantial stables and outbuildings lie across the minor road to the north, the Wenallt Stores (a large imposing, double-fronted building see photograph) and other buildings which are now restaurants serving the holiday trade). Other commercial and domestic buildings extend along the road towards Llanfair, where the medieval church, shops, a couple of 19th century chapels and 20th century ‘villas’ standing in their own grounds add to the character of the settlement. Many of the commercial buildings appear to have substantial yards and outbuildings behind them.

The majority of the domestic buildings in the settlement are detached houses, some standing in large gardens (to the north and south of the river). Plas Gwynfryn, for example, is a large complex, but others such as Ty’n Ddol and Bronafon are smaller but substantial dwellings, probably early 19th century. Most of the houses are of two stories and usually two bays; the use of ground floor covered verandas along the fronts is a common feature.

There are also fine examples of terraced housing in the settlement, all of which are south of the river: these include one of five houses (which includes Mona and Derwen) along the main road (which are again of two stories with dormers in small front-facing gables on the upper floor), and Moelfre Terrace which lies along the road out to the beach. This is an interesting terrace of small groups built in different but compatible styles with upper dormers, facing directly onto the road. To the west is a more imposing short terrace of large three-storeyed houses with substantial front gardens, probably early 19th century in date.

There is an imposing group of 20th century detached houses within their own landscaped grounds (for example Craig Artro) to the south of the nucleated settlement. Typical of the 19th-century settlements which have grown up along the main road hereabouts, the railway station is some distance outside the main centre on the road down towards the beach (area 14).

All the buildings are of ashlar stone (dark granite), with the odd exception of a building immediately south of the bridge (now a youth hostel) which is incongruously built of brick. To the east of the village is a well-preserved mill and associated race, associated with a small slate quarry.

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