Historic Landscape Characterisation

Creuddyn and Arllechwedd – Area 24 Unenclosed mountains (north) PRN 15810


SH 7207 4 7 looking east. Showing the nature of the open, unenclosed landscape behind Penmaenmawr quarry, including the prehistoric ritual complex on Cefn Coch



Historical background

A ridge of upland that extends from Conwy Mountain (Mynydd y Dref) in the north-east to the uplands around Bwlch y Ddeufaen in the south-west. This area shows evidence of human settlement from the Bronze Age to the twentieth century.

Immediately to the south east of the Penmaenmawr outcrop lies a tight knot of ritual/ceremonial monuments with the embanked stone circle of the Druid's Circle as their centrepiece. The monuments lie near a purported Bronze Age trackway that traverses the plateau from the Afon Ddu valley in the west to the Conwy Valley in the east. Immediately below the plateau, the trackway bisects a small cemetery of ruined barrows. A second Bronze Age trackway links Aber and the Conwy Valley via Bwlch y Ddeufaen. The two trackways are further conjoined by at least two north/south cross-routes. The most westerly cross-route flanks the cairn field of Bryniau Bugeilydd, a group of low stone and turf cov­ered sepulchral mounds. Within the same area there are numerous unenclosed and enclosed hut groups of round houses in association with lynchet boundaries and field systems which may be pre-Iron Age. The road through Bwlch y Ddeufaen was in use in Roman times, and was still a through route until the late eighteenth century.

The Iron Age is represented by the hillfort at Castell Caer Lleion on Conwy Mountain .

Upland land use in the Medieval and Modern periods is associated with the seasonal movement of stock from the lowlands in winter to the higher pastures in summer. There is also evidence for peat-extraction, and small-scale quarrying of diorite, as at Penmaenbach from c. 1873 until the 1940s, millstone on Mynydd y Dref during the Napoleonic wars, and slate at Tal y Fan, a remote site of possibly Medieval origin which limped on until 1914 mainly because of H.L. North's use of its distinctive green-brown roofing slates for his buildings.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Relict archaeology, communication routes

An area of unenclosed upland given over within the medieval and modern periods to a pastoral economy and to small-scale mineral extraction. It also constitutes an extremely rich relict archaeological landscape of prehistory.




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