Historic Landscape Characterisation

Dolgellau - Area 5 Fields and woods - north of Dolgellau (PRN 19184)



Historic background

Hengwrt is recorded as one of the granges of the abbey of Cymer, granted a charter in 1209 (area 06 below). It is the only grange that is in close proximity to the abbey itself, and was probably farmed for cattle. After the Dissolution, the domain land formerly controlled by the monastery, and Hengwrt, had to be included in the parochial system and it was taken into Llanelltyd. The abbey and its domain became the property of John Powys, Sergeant-at-Arms, and it subsequently passed to Sir Walter Lloyd of Cardiganshire. Hengwrt, after being leased for some time, came into the family of Baron Owen of Dolgellau. Then Hywel Vaughan of Gwengraig managed to buy both properties and left them to his son Robert Vaughan, the antiquary.

The 1840 tithe map of Llanelltyd does not contain any detail relating to the area, beyond the fact the land was owned by R W Vaughan. The 1901 OS map shows Coed Dol-fawr, Coed Ffridd-gam and Coed Pen-y-cefn much as they exist today, as well as most of the smaller patches of woodland in the area. Likewise most of the field boundaries match up with what exists today, and the settlement pattern remains unaltered (the southern part of the area has been encroached upon by the expansion of Dolgellau (area 02)). Hengwrt is shown with a substantial park and garden surrounding the house, and Dol-rhyd to the south is also a substantial house.

Recent developments here, on the northern edge of Dolgellau, include Dolgellau golf club (in a small valley to the east of Hengwrt), and the more prominent radio transmitting mast on the higher land.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Pasture fields, hedgelines and trees, woodland

This is an area of woodlands and fields, set on a rolling series of hillslopes between the lower reaches of the Afon Mawddach (area 06) and the estate land of Nannau (area 11). The open fields are all down to improved pasture, and are defined mainly by hedgerows with trees, some of which have stone walls at their bases. The woodland is again typically a mixture of semi-natural and modern forestry. There is a number of scattered farms and houses in the area, the most important of which (Hengwrt and Dol-rhyd) are post-medieval in date, and signficant buildings. The southern part of the area has been eroded by the expansion of Dolgellau in the 20th century, north of the river.



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