Historic Landscape Characterisation

Mawddach - Area 16 Open mountain, Bryn Brith (PRN 18346)



Historic background

There is a series of relict prehistoric sites in the centre of this area, stretching along a minor, low-lying valley, which runs west to east from Llynnau Gregennan to Ty'n-llidiart (area 18), and which might be part of the original route of Ffordd Ddu (see also area 08). These sites include a number of cairns and at least one hut circle settlement in the bottom of the valley alongside the modern footpath, as well as a small hillfort on the steep ridge immediately to the north.

There are no recorded medieval remains here, and the nearest farmstead which belongs to Cefn-yr-owen township lies outside to the east. In later periods, virtually no enclosures are shown on the 1842 Dolgellau tithe map, and the current landscape has not changed much since. There are remains relating to 19th century slate quarrying (particularly Chwarel Ty'n-y-coed, a small early quarry later for dumping waste from nearby Arthog quarry see above, area 15) along the northern slopes of the area.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Relict prehistoric sites, field walls

This character area almost exactly corresponds with a SSSI designated in 1981 (CCW ref. Cregennen a Pared y Cefn Hir' 31WNH) which extends for 162ha, and also includes a very small part of the eastern end of character area 14 (although the woodland on the northern slopes of the area is not included in it). The site is located in a mountainous tract of land lying on the north-west flank of the Cadair Idris massif (see area 17). It is a nationally important geological site which provides the cleanest, best exposed and most complete sections through the lower part of the Aran Volcanic Group, a sequence of volcanic and marine sedimentary rocks. It is an important site for observing the relationships between rocks of mixed origin, and for dating the volcanic episodes which interrupted normal marine sedimentation. The locality is complimentary to the classic volcanic terrain of Cadair Idris (area 17) nearby, and, like it, it is also important for teaching, educational and research purposes.


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