Historic Landscape Characterisation

Mawddach - Area 14 Llynnau Gregennan (PRN 18344)



Historic background

Ffordd Ddu is an ancient mountain route running from Llwyngwril to Dolgellau, originating, according to some, in the neolithic period (see above section 8.3). The present minor road across the top, which predates the current main road which runs along the base of the cliff, was formerly a major route across the area, and served quite a number of farms, some of which are now either ruined or retirement' homes.

The eastern part of the area, around Llynnau Gregennan themselves, are literally covered with dozens of relict archaeological sites (see section 8.3 above), including standing stones, cairns, hut circles and other more-ephemeral features from the prehistoric period. There are also considerable remains of deserted rural settlement sites from later periods (Cregennan is recorded as a free township in the medieval period). These sites, many of which are scheduled ancient monuments, testify to a long history of land-use which extends over several thousand years. Most of these sites lie within the area owned by the National Trust and were recorded during the Trust's archaeological survey of the area. Interestingly, the sites recorded on the regional SMR stop at the minor road bisects the area from north to south, from Cregennan up towards Braich Ddu.

There are a number of minor farmsteads here, from the 17th 19th centuries, a couple of which are listed, including Cefn-hir uchaf (grade II a late 17th century vernacular single storey rubble cottage) and Pant-Phylip, a one and a half storey, rubble-built vernacular farmhouse dated 1731, but nothing compared with those in area 18 to the east. Most of the area is shown on the 1839 Llangelynnin tithe map as comprising large, irregular enclosures, much as today.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Relict archaeological sites, irregular enclosures, farmsteads, trackways

A large area of complex field patterns, widely-scattered farms (some bearing the names of medieval townships) and one of the most significant landscapes of relict prehistoric sites in the region, as described above, form the main interest in the area. The land is of poor quality, and in between the rocky knolls there are patches of bog and pasture fields. The eastern part of the area, which contains the better land, is characterised by the dozens of relict archaeological sites; while the western part, which rockier, is bleaker and contains just a couple of inhabited houses.

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