Historic Landscape Characterisation

Ardudwy - Area 7 Fieldscape, mid-hill slopes around Cae'r-llwyn (PRN 18240)



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

Historic background

There are several recorded late prehistoric enclosed settlements within this area, and the nature of the field pattern (irregular-shaped enclosures defined by stone rubble banks and heavily lyncheted) gives the impression of a landscape originally shaped in the late prehistoric period, possibly with post-medieval additions, but with relatively little recent interference. This has been a transition area, always on the cusp between the uplands and lowlands

There are only two farmsteads in the area, both of which give the impression of being post-medieval encroachments onto the edge of the mountain waste (possibly re-using earlier similar encroachments). There is no recent settlement or activity apart from the incongruous 20th century reservoir and waterworks.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Late prehistoric settlement and field systems, upland edge encroachment

This area lies on the mid hill-slopes between areas 01 (improved pasture, 19th century enclosures) and 02 (largely unimproved land). It is quite distinct from both principally by virtue of its field pattern and agricultural use and history. This area is dominated by irregular, often sub-circular, large enclosures (there is not a straight line or carefully-constructed drystone wall in sight) and although only a few prehistoric settlement sites are recorded, recent fieldwork suggests that many more remain to be found. In plan, the irregular field pattern (and the altitude and location) suggest that it may represent post-medieval encroachment on to the fringes of the upland waste, but many of the field boundaries are distinctive, mainly comprising stone rubble banks, often quite spread and no longer stock-proof (see photograph), and curvilinear in plan. Many are also heavily lyncheted, with height differences of up to 1m between different sides. By comparison with other areas in Gwynedd, these suggest a prehistoric date (at least in origin) or many of the fields. There are several minor water-courses running through the area which must always have been relatively productive agricultural land but which has escaped modern improvements. Some of the fields have been cleared (for agricultural purposes) while others remain full of natural stones and boulders. This area is similar in character to area 13.


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