Historic Landscape Characterisation

Vale of Ffestiniog - Area 14 Glaslyn estuary - reclaimed land

The story of the building of the Cob, and the reclamation of the traeth is described in considerable detail by E Beazley in her book 'Madocks & the Wonder of Wales'.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved, Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, 100017916, 2005

Historic background

Land assigned to William Alexander Madocks as part of the enclosure act of 1803, and drained by him as part of the process of building the various embankments. It is not clear what areas were drained by the earlier and smaller embankments, but the whole area was drained by the creation of the Cob, finally completed in 1813. Farms were created on the drained areas, and the area has been crossed by various industrial and public railways since 1842. Currently both the Pwllheli branch of Regional Railways and one arm of the revived Welsh Highland Railway operate within the area.

Key historic landscape characteristics

19th-century reclaimed land

A flat area, though there are some outcrops which would have been islands pre-1813, and which may have supplied rock for the embankments as well as producing in one case ironstone and other minerals. The lanes across the reclaimed areas tend to be long and straight. Farmhouses are largely modern and concrete-built, though the farm-buildings themselves are often of 19th-century build, with walls of rounded local stone. Fields are regular in shape (due to the need for drainage ditches), but boundaries are a surprising mixture of stone walls, earth banks and post-and-wire fences.

Both standard- and narrow-gauge railways run through the area, and it is proposed that the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon be extended to join on to existing Welsh Highland Railway along the 1920s trackbed in a number of years’ time. A substantial extension to the existing railway museum at SH 5734 3960 is also proposed


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