Historic Landscape Characterisation

Vale of Ffestiniog - Area 26 Intermediate slopes of the Moelwyn range

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

Historic background

The partly enclosed intermediate slopes of Moelwyn mountain comprise a massive and disparate area. It has been exploited from the medieval period to the 20th century for (limited) agriculture, timber as well as lead and other minerals, and also partly wooded.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Intermediate hillslopes, agriculture, industry, afforestation

This area is characterised by some pockets of woodland, some 20th-century afforestation and open ground, on some of which bracken grows profusely. The farming is poor, low-grade pasture grazed by sheep, and the farmhouses are usually squat, low stone-built structures, often settled in natural dips in the ground for protection. Stone walls are not well-tended on the whole, and the general atmosphere is one of survival rather than prosperity.

It has been extensively exploited for lead and other minerals since the medieval period if not earlier, and there are significant remains at Pant y Wrach (SH617402), Bwlch y Plwm (‘Mountain pass of the lead’ - SH627415) and at Catherine and Jane Consols (SH633411), as well as at other locations. Much of the afforestation is comparatively recent, and much of it is commercially managed. An area centered on SH640420 is owned and managed by the National Trust.

The area includes one small nucleated settlement, at Rhyd, where the present buildings are of 19th-century construction.


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