Historic Landscape Characterisation

Creuddyn and Arllechwedd – Area 21 Alltwyllt PRN 15822


SH 767677 looking west. Showing the densely wooded, enclosed landscape on a steep hillside, with sparse, scattered dwellings set among the trees.



Historical background

The east-facing slopes between Coed Dolgarrog and Llanbedr y Cennin were formerly densely settled in a pattern of tiny irregularly-shaped holdings between the 250m and the 40m contour. The lower and upper farmsteads are still inhabited, but those in between, centred on Arddgron and Hengae, have been abandoned and the area has become densely wooded. The abandoned dwellings are built of local field-stones, and have become roofless and severely dilapidated. There are traces of field systems in the undergrowth.

The holdings are connected by a series of zigzag roadways and pathways, partly built up, and walled. According to tradition the area was settled by the survivors of the Gwylliaid Cochion Mawddwy in the sixteenth century, whose descendants practised a garden type of agriculture, keeping cows on the common and perhaps also fishing. 1

John Owen, the historian of Llanbedr y Cennin, published several accounts of the Alltwyllt in local newspapers in the 1930s, which suggest that the area was inhabited until approximately the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He describes the cottagers making use of donkeys to carry fuel and other necessities along the paths. They made their living by various different means, augmented when necessary by parish relief - by knitting stockings, basket-making, as carriers, hone-quarrymen, sulphur miners, household servants, a captain on a river-boat, fisherman.2

The Alltwyllt constitutes a unique relict landscape within the study area, akin to the dual economy settlements (quarrying and pastoralism) of Arfon, such as the Bethel - Deiniolen areas, and the former crown lands between Cilgwyn and Rhostryfan.

1 R.E. Hughes, op. cit ., p. 24.

2 Newspaper articles by John Owen, copies in private possession.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Dual economy settlement, irregular fields, cottages

An area of irregular enclosures and cottage dwellings. This has been studied by a number of scholars as an example of a dual-economy settlement.




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