Historic Landscape Characterisation

Caernarfon/Nantlle – Area 43 Gwyrfai Valley slopes PRN 15742


This view, which looks north east, shows a farm characteristically set at the foot of the mountain side, with the large irregular enclosures behind, and the unenclosed mountain tops (area 44) above those.



Historical background

An area in which the Vaynol estate owned much of the land. Previously entirely rural in character, it was developed for slate quarrying after the opening of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway in 1878-81.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Large farms, slate quarries, woodland

This large, open area is characterised by substantial tenant farms of nineteenth-century construction, built at the break of slope, with stone-built field barns and other agricultural structures on the lower parts of the holdings. The slopes are dominated by the well-preserved landscape of the Glanrafon Slate Quarry and its extensive tips; there is also a smaller slate quarry at Clogwyn y Gwin. The course of the railway, particularly the substantial dry-stone embankments, is a noticeable feature. Remarkably, there is little relict archaeology (either prehistoric or medieval) known in the area, which would otherwise seem to have good potential for their preservation, although no systematic fieldwork has been undertaken.



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