Historic Landscape Characterisation

Trawsfynydd - Area 10 Early settlement south of Plâs Capten (PRN 18276)

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

Historic background

South of Plâs Capten, situated in a small valley which runs north-south to the east of the minor road which runs from Pont Trawsfynydd up to Penystryd (probably the fore-runner of the modern, main road), is a series of farmsteads which appear to be substantially sub-medieval in date. They include Derwgoed, Bryn-llefrith, Tyddyn Bach, Erw-ddwfr and Gilfach-wen and are linked now by a pathway which passes either through, or close to, the farms and leads eventually to Rhiw Goch (now a hotel, but originally built in the 16th century - see area 20). The fields around Plâs Capten are shown as quite regular and ordered on the tithe map, much as they are today, but to the south in the narrow valley they become less so. It is likely that this area (which incidentally lies just west of and below the former Roman road which ran south from Tomen-y mur) was occupied from a much earlier period than that to the west (i.e. area 09). In addition to the houses, the construction and patterns of the field enclosures also indicate earlier (i.e. than the 19th century) use.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Farmsteads, enclosures, stone walls, footpath

The farmsteads are small but quite distinctive in character, which differentiates them from the later farms in area 09: they are also located in a narrow, steep-sided valley, again unlike the settlement to the west. The fields are similarly distinctive, being very small and compact (mainly due to the terrain) with often-massive stone walls defining them. Presumably this was (and is) the better agricultural land within the vicinity which explains the early date for the settlements here. The area contained, until the building of the new turnpike road at the end of the 18th century, part of the principal routeway between north (originally Tomen y Mur and later Maentwrog and Trawsfynydd, leading to Tan y Bwlch) and south (originally Penystryd and later Dolgellau) in this harsh and inhospitable upland environment.



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