Historic Landscape Characterisation

Bala and Llyn Tegid - Area 14 Floodplain south-west of lake (PRN 24714)



Historic background

The low-lying area to the south-west of Llyn Tegid (area 01), physically centred on the house of Dolfawr (SH886307) and surrounding the village of Llanuwchllyn (area 08), is a distinctive character area. The 1849 tithe map for Llanuwchllyn, when much of the parish, including almost all the holdings around Llanuwchllyn, was owned by Sir Watkin W Wynn (6th baronet), as part of the Glanllyn estate, does not contain much detail, but shows an area characterised by largish irregular enclosures, as well as a series of small islands at the end of the lake (which are now a breeding ground for wild birds). Dolfawr and Madog are both recorded on the tithe map as house and garden, but no details of the agricultural regime are recorded.

The 18th-century traveller, Reverend W. Bingley, noted that Llyn Tegid was subject to ‘dreadful’ overflowings, while other sources record a massive torrent in June 1781 when the Twrch overflowed its banks and the floods rushed over the Vale of Edeirnion to the south, killing several people and animals, destroying 17 houses and 5 bridges and inundating acres of meadows and cornfields. This resulted in the land being covered by so many stones that it was not considered worthwhile clearing them away. The Welsh lawyer Richard Fenton described the catastrophe in Archaeologia Cambrensis (1813).

Glanllyn, a 19th-century mansion built on an earlier foundation on the north side of the lake and at the heart of the eponymous estate, was largely used by Sir Watkin W Wynn during the shooting season. Fenton (1804-13) describes the 'new house at the end of the lake', as a 'heavy and gloomy building'. Glanllyn, originally Ty'n y Wern, was visited by Queen Victoria and Princess Beatrice in August 1889, while they were staying at nearby Pale (Hughes, 1900). During the First World War, seals were kept in the outbuildings here as part of an experiment to see whether they could detect submarines. Apparently, nothing came of it! It is now used by the Urdd (see area 08) as a centre for its outdoor activities (Berry, 2004, 18).

The 1948 RAF vertical aerial photographs (CPE/UK/2492 4072-6 11th March 1948) very clearly show silting where the Afon Dyfrdwy enters the lake. The large fields around Madog and Dolfawr remain unchanged as far west as Dol-fach. Some of the boundaries have trees.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Irregular fieldscape, water and wetland

This low-lying floodplain at the south-western end of Llyn Tegid is divided up by the Afon Dyfrdwy and Afon Twrch, which flow into the lake. The rural area is characterised by a series of irregular fields, delineated by earthen banks, with little settlement. The marshy land and islands adjacent to the lake itself constitute a bird sanctuary where shallow waters and marshy ground favour breeding by wildfowl and waders (incorporated in the Llyn Tegid SSSI). The simple road layout as shown on the tithe map in and around Llanuwchllyn remains the same today.

Gwersyll yr Urdd Glanllyn is a multi-activity centre situated on the shores of Llyn Tegid, a mile from the village of Llanuwchllyn (see above). It was established as an outdoor activity centre in 1950 around the ‘Old Mansion House’, and is part of the Urdd, the largest youth movement in Wales. Over the years, accommodation has changed from old wooden huts and tents to en-suite facilities. It organises activity courses, and can cater for 230 residents.

Back to Bala and Llyn Tegid Landscape Character Map



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