Historic Landscape Characterisation

Vale of Ffestiniog - Area 15 Woodland around Hafod Garregog

This small area at the top of the area of reclaimed Traeth and at the former mouth of the Afon Glaslyn, contains a number of small, but significant sub-medieval buildings and is characterised by ancient oak woodland growing on small rocky knolls.

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

Historic background

Hafod Garregog was owned from the fifteenth century to the eighteenth century by Rhys Goch Eryri and his descendants. John Wyn Hughes, the last of the family to hold Hafod Garregog, married an illegitimate under-age child, as a result of which the marriage was declared void and the estate went to cousins, the Priestley family, of Leeds. Hafod Garregog appears in the Land tax assessment, from 1771 to 1775, and a Mr. Hughes is indicated as resident in these years; thereafter the owning family is shown as receiving the parish tithes.

The area has an interesting woodland history and character. Information on the sale of timber is scanty. In the 1760s Drws y Coed mine paid £2 13/- for an axle for the stamp mill, implying that it was known as a source of timber, but as is often the case with comparatively small estates and freeholds, the documentary evidence does not survive. Immediately adjacent to Hafod Garregog is Tafarn Telyrni, or Talyrni, near to which, according to tradition, sailors used to land until the building of the cob. It is therefore an obvious location for goods to be loaded, and timber might also have been used to build small vessels.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Sub-medieval houses, cottage, woods, paths, islands

The present house of Hafod Garegog is two-storeyed and rubble-built with a central block of c. 1600 with 18th century additions. The site altogether includes the house, a water mill, a cottage and a barn, all of the 17th century, and some late farm buildings. Nearby is a trackway known as Llwybr Rhys Goch, which leads to an old bridge. Other buildings in the vicinity include Talyrni (see above), also 17th century, and two cottages, Cefn Coch and Pen y Bont.

The woodland occupies low rocky hills and ridges bordering the once estuarine flats of the Afon Glaslyn. It has a canopy mainly of sessile oak with birch as sub-dominant, rowan and a few beech. The understorey is generally sparse and mainly of holly and hazel. Hollows within the area interrupt the woodland canopy, with pockets of acidic wetland, the largest of these forming the substantial oligotrophic lake, Hafod y Llyn. There are historical reasons for supposing this to be an area long under continuous woodland cover; most western oakwoods of this type occur on steeper ground. Regeneration is rather weak.


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