Historic Landscape Characterisation

Arfon - Area 2 Fachwen Woods


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

Historic background

Hillslopes which are partly nineteenth century plantation, partly more ancient woodland, within which are many scattered dwellings and short terraces, mainly dwellings for quarry families, typically vernacular or estate vernacular in character. The area saw some industrial development from the late eighteenth century onwards, such as the opening of the slate quarry on Lord Newborough’s land at Fachwen and a woollen mill at Bedw Argoed, as well as the creation of a transport infrastructure to serve them. This includes the original Dinorwic Quarry road on 1788 or earlier, a road constructed in 1825-6 to Fachwen, a possible quay, Cei Llydan, and the course of the 1843 4’ gauge railway to serve the Dinorwic Quarry, as well as of the 2’ gauge tourist railway which has replaced it. At Gilfach Ddu the Dinorwic quarry workshops, inclines, barracks, and the Vivian quarry, all of them developments of the period 1869-1877, and the slightly later quarry hospital.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Nineteenth century plantations, quarries and industrial infrastructure

A south-west-facing slope above Llyn Padarn, largely wooded, but which also contains a number of industrial structures and features, some of which are now derelict and overgrown, others of which are managed as part of visitor attractions. The Vaynol estate’s controlling hand is evident in the management of the woodlands and also in the scale and workmanship of the industrial buildings.

This area forms part of the Padarn Country Park, and includes the Welsh Slate Museum, established in the quadrangular workshops building erected for Dinorwic Quarry in 1870, as well as other features connected with the quarry, including the largely intact incline series, the Vivian Quarry and the Dinorwic Quarry hospital. A water-sports centre has been established on the lake-shore adjacent to the Museum, which has involved some landscaping of the quarry tips.

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