Historic Landscape Characterisation

Caernarfon/Nantlle – Area 48 Salem/Plas y Nant PRN 15747


This view is of one of the bridges of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway (now being reconstructed as the Welsh Highland Railway), and one can see from the trees and plantings how the whole area conformed to a late nineteenth notion of the picturesque.



Historical background

An area apparently developed by hoteliers in the late nineteenth century. Hyde Hall comments on the picturesque nature of the area in 1809-1811, with its ‘florid plantations' in an otherwise treeless area. It was then owned by the Williams family of Marle in Creuddyn. A corn mill and a scythe-grinding mill were established here. Two small slate quarries also operated in the nineteenth century.


Key historic landscape characteristics

Picturesque, tourist landscape

A narrow pass in the Gwyrfai valley in which there are several substantial late nineteenth-century hotel buildings, in continued use, as well as some older farmhouses. Plas y Nant may be an adaptation of the house of the Williams family. This development appears to have been caused by the opening of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway through the area in 1877, though there was no station here until 1922. There has also been deliberate planting of Alpine trees and of rhodod endrons, which partly cover the slate tips. The area conforms to a late nineteenth-century notion of the picturesque.


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