Historic Landscape Characterisation

Vale of Ffestiniog - Area 2 Cwm Teigl

An area bounded to the south-east by the Afon Teigl, which includes the enclosures on the lower slopes of Manod Mawr down to the better agricultural land around Pengwern, this is one of only three or four areas within the study whose dominant characteristic is agricultural (see also 24, 26 and 27). It lies to the south and south-east of Blaenau Ffestiniog and defines the outer edge of the study.


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

Historic background

The Meirioneth Lay Subsidy Roll shows that Ffestniog parish was the poorest in Meirioneth in the late 13th century (its miserably low taxable capacity was 6 shillings per thousand acres, compared with £7 for Penrhyndeudraeth, the richest parish), and it was also 'the most backward area in the whole parish, the least inhabited and the poorest'. So it is not surprising that there was probably no developed medieval agriculture, and few remains in the landscape which date from this period. There are slight remains of probable-prehistoric settlement here, but no obvious contemporary field patterns.

It is an area owned in the early nineteenth century partly by the Tan y Manod estate, a fact which shows in the consistent design and appearance of some of the farm buildings. A number of the farms were subsequently taken over by quarrymen or, more often, at that stage stewards and managers. However, it still retains an atmosphere of farming, rather than the mixed-economy settlement of slate-quarrying areas in Caernarfonshire.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Early 19th- century field systems, stone farmsteads, copses

The fields are, in the main, large irregular pasture enclosures which are defined by large and often impressive stone walls (although there are post and wire fences in some areas). The farmsteads are widely scattered at the end of single tracks (there are few roads), but are nevertheless substantial stone-built structures (usually double-fronted and two-storeyed) surrounded by farmsteads which contain a range of stone outbuildings, usually in a loose courtyard arrangement. They are almost all 19th century in date, with many 20th century additions (which often includes the usual roof) of grey-painted corrugated iron. While there are clumps and hedgerows of trees within the area, there are no substantial woodlands as there are further west.


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