Historic Landscape Characterisation

Ardudwy - Area 27 Upper mountain slopes, Rhinogau (PRN 18260)


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

Historic background

There are few signs of past human activity in this wild and remote, mountainous landscape, with the exception of one or two isolated late prehistoric hut circles in the northern part of the area. The upland grazing here has only been lightly influenced by grazing. The mountain range is a dramatic backdrop to Ardudwy and forms an almost impenetrable barrier. There are three paths over the summit which follow traditional routes. The two northern ones lead out of Cwm Bychan (one, un-named, over Bwlch Gwilym, and the other known as the Roman Steps (Bwlch Tyddiad)), while the southern one carries on from Cwm Nantcol and is known as Bwlch Drws Ardudwy.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Open rugged mountain

Rhinog has been designated a SSSI and National Nature Reserve (CCW ref. 31WNX). The area covered is massive, the NNR extends for c. 598ha centred on SH662290 (which all falls within this character area), while the SSSI covers in total 2681ha (most of this lies within this character area, but it also extends over small parts of areas 16 and 28).

The reserve covers rugged mountainous country including Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach. Its ecological and physiographical features probably have no counterpart in the rest of Wales or England. On the Cambrian gritstones, the whole area is an example of upland vegetation only lightly influenced by grazing.

One or two 19th century drystone walls (either typically straight or more sinuous following gulleys intrude), a few sheepfolds, some mountain cairns (or 'piles of stones') and small areas of abandoned tips and levels are the only human artefacts here (although where the slopes are less rugged and rocky at the range's northern end there are one or two isolated hut circles).

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