Historic Landscape Characterisation

Bala and Llyn Tegid - Area 16 Fieldscape north of Llyn Tegid (PRN 24716)




Historic background

Details relating to the history of this extensive area are few. Fenton (1804) reports on the view across the lake from Y Fachddreiniog: the first ridge of hills bounding the lake is not very high, and is composed of fields, meadows, pasture and cornfields.

Llanycil tithe map (1842) covers the area north of the lake, including Bala itself (area 02). It is fairly detailed and shows a more intricate pattern of small fields around Llanycil church (with its rectangular churchyard) than survives today, while the field pattern to the south-west (towards area 15), which comprised larger fields, remains largely unchanged. There is very little settlement, and that is also largely as shown on the tithe map, except for a cluster of c. 4 houses around the small crossroads at Llanycil, where a lodge, apparently pre-dating Bryntegid (built in 1849 as Victorian gentleman’s residence), is dated 1838.

On Craig y Fron are the remains of impressive caverns with stone pillar supports (SH919365). Stone was quarried here for the construction of Capel Tegid and other prominent buildings in Y Bala (Berry, 2004, 2).

The character of the area remains largely unchanged from the picture presented by the 1946 RAF vertical aerial photographs (106G/UK 1468 2472, 4363): the lower part of the area was characterised by trees and small pockets of woodland (by the lake and up to the road from Llanycil to Cyffdy, and around Cerrig-llwydion and especially to the south-west including Nurse Cae Seren and around Coed Cerrig-llwydion), while above that line is treeless. The fields around Moel-y-garnedd uchaf are unchanged, as are those in the area down to Cefn Bodig (large irregular fields). The character in the south-west part of the area is more 'remote': here, there is no settlement and no trees, just bare fields. The land appears to be pasture. Plas Moel y Garnedd stands out, while Eryl Aran seems to be surrounded by trees and garden: Fronfeuno also appears to be significant. All of these houses are early 19th-century 'gentleman's estates' (E Thomas, pers comm). Further south, Gwernhefin is instantly recognisable, and the fields to north-west (large and irregular) retain the same character. This area, devoid of other settlement, might represent the extent of the former monastic lands.

The 1957 RAF vertical aerial photographs (58/2122/145-53 (Flight 22) 12/03/1957) show a very definite appearance of former estate land in the area between Llanycil church, Bryn-du and Plas Moel-y-garnedd, while one photograph (58/2122/145 (Flight 21) 12/03/1957) shows a field east of Lon as having small strips which could be horticultural allotments.

The monastic mill recorded here is likely to have been situated under the modern farm (Gwernhefin) rather than on the Afon Llafar itself, as the water course leading to it is very straight and comes directly down across the contour just north of the farm.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Eighteenth- and 19th -century fieldscapes, scattered settlement

The irregular fieldscapes here are largely unchanged since the 1840s tithe map. The fields are all down to pasture and are situated on a sloping, south-facing hillside with numerous clumps of trees redolent of former parkland. As with other areas hereabouts, the boundaries that exist comprise hedges and trees (where they have not been replaced by modern post-and-wire fences). Gwernhefin is a Regency/gentry farm, but one of the more interesting features is the 1950s' terrace of south-facing houses (probably built by Sidney Colwyn Foulkes) in the small clustered hamlet of Lon, with their unusual rear porches. A sheet-metal outbuilding among the few farms here is also worthy of note.

Back to Bala and Llyn Tegid Landscape Character Map


Visit our social network sites
Ymwelwch a'n safleoedd rhwydwaith cymdeithasol