Historic Landscape Characterisation

Bala and Llyn Tegid - Area 4 Bala hinterland (PRN 24704)



Historic background

There is little evidence to suggest that the nearby Roman (area 07) and adjacent medieval (area 02) settlements had a great impact on this area, and the main growth occurred during the post-medieval period, alongside Afon Tryweryn and at the point where this watercourse meets the River Dee. The construction of the Bala & Ffestiniog railway in 1882 had a marked impact on this locality, bringing industrial development and commerce to what had previously been an undeveloped floodplain.

In 1952 a waterworks scheme diverted the course of both rivers, truncating a large section of the River Tryweryn. The flood detention and compensation storage works were designed to pump 50,000,000 gallons of water per day to West Cheshire, Wrexham and the atomic energy developments in Wirral.

The 1957 RAF aerial photographs (58/2122/45-53 (Flight 22) 12/03/1957) show a fairly dramatic increase in the size of the historic core of Bala, into area 04. It has become much more built-up now, with the housing estate on the western edge of town, although there is still no connection between the nucleation (centred on area 03) on the hilltop and the rest of the town, or any infill between the main road out in this direction and the railway (obviously still shown). However, the town has reached its current extent on the road out to the south-west. There has been a slight expansion to the east, although there is no 'new' B4391 and no industrial estate yet. The present footpath which runs south-east from the southern end of the High Street across the top of the lake appears to be the line of the original road out towards Dinas Mawddwy, and interestingly there are the relict remains of possible quillet strips here which appear to be bounded on the south by this track.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century suburban character, open spaces

During the 19th -century, the Bala hinterland area consisted mostly of enclosed field systems with large tracts of the suburban land given over to allotments for urban tenants. Although these field patterns have been respected by the modern expansion of the town, the character is defined largely by the built environment and open spaces rather than by its historic agricultural context.

The largely undeveloped floodplains that lie to the south of the town and skirt around the east end of the lake preserve some well-defined earthworks that relate to the Bala & Ffestiniog railway.

The northernmost extent of the town is defined by a small enclave of large late Victorian and Edwardian dwellings that hug the hillside to the west of the road out to Tryweryn. However, in contrast to the urban centre of Bala, the landscape of the hinterland is almost completely modern, and has developed through 20th century town and country planning. In the southern half of the character area, an inter-war housing estate reflects the political and socio-economic changes of the early 20th century. The latter half of the century is represented by modern and early modern housing estates to the north-west and south-east of the town.

Back to Bala and Llyn Tegid Landscape Character Map



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