Historic Landscape Characterisation

Caernarfon /Nantlle – Area 46 Fort Belan/Caernarfon Airport PRN 15745


This aerial view of Abermenai, which looks south, shows Fort Belan and the docks on the northern spit of mainland sand in the centre, with Foryd bay behind, and one of the runways of the airfield just visible to the top right. The southern-most tip of Anglesey intrudes into the bottom of the shot.



Historical background

An area given over to defensive sites. Fort Belan was constructed at the extreme northern point of the area to guard the western entrance to the Menai Straits. It was originally built in 1776 to repel a possible invasion from Revolutionary America, was garrisoned during the Napoleonic Wars, and was extended in 1824 and again at a later stage in the nineteenth century. Caernarfon Airport has its origins in RAF Llandwrog, operational from 1941 to 1945 when it was the largest airfield in Wales .

Key historic landscape characteristics

Docks, fort, airfield

This low-lying spit of sand contains a disparate mix of historical elements. The fort is an oblong structure with salients in the shorter sides, north and south. The tidal dock forms part of the later nineteenth-century work.

The airport was laid out with the common triangular pattern of runways, of which one remains in use. A considerable number of buildings from the 1940s survive in a semi-derelict state either within the curtilage of the present airport itself or in the immediate vicinity (RAF Llandwrog was the largest airfield in Wales during the war). The former sick quarters and WAAF site have been heavily re-adapted as a studio and offices by Sain Records, and a second-hand furniture outlet occupies the former site No. 1, which is less altered. A small museum is maintained at the airport.




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