Historic Landscape Characterisation

Caernarfon/Nantlle – Area 38 Cae Rhonwy and Gelli Ffrydiau PRN 15737


This aerial view, which looks south, clearly shows some of the relict field boundaries (lynchets) which are the most significant historic features in this area, a relatively level shoulder below Mynydd Mawr. The sparsely scattered settlement pattern is also notable.



Historical background

An area which contains extensive evidence of late prehistoric settlement and associated field systems. By the late eighteenth century the area formed part of the estate of Hughes of Llysdulas, a family whose fortunes derived from the Parys copper mines. Colonel Hughes was ennobled as Lord Dinorben in the early nineteenth century. Cae Rhonwy is associated with the satirist Siôn Caeronwy (John Jones, fl. 1784).


Key historic landscape characteristics

Relict archaeology (settlement and lynchets)

The pattern of fields evident at the time of a survey carried out in 1809 is still largely evident in the present landscape, which overlies an extensive (presumably late prehistoric) field system. Unlike the sea-facing slopes around Rhostryfan, the main field boundaries here are preserved as grassed-over lynchets which don't have walls or banks overlying them and have largely fallen out of use. There are several (contemporary?) settlements within the field system, and a small hillfort on the eastern edge. None of the sites has been excavated, and there is not a reliable, accurate plan. Most of the area is scheduled.


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