Historic Landscape Characterisation

Trawsfynydd - Area 9 Farming settlements south of Trawsfynydd (PRN 18275)

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

Historic background

This relatively large area, which runs north to south across the central part of the study area, contains a farming landscape which appears to have been largely formed by the time of the tithe map in the 1830s. The area stretches southwards from Fron-oleu, situated just south of Pont Trawsfynydd (where there has been an important road junction since at least the middle of the 19th century, with roads forking east (up Cwm Prysor) and west (across the Rhinogau) from the main road, to Caeau-cochion, and includes land which lies to both sides of the modern A470 (the latter improved in the 1970s, but probably originally built between 1780 and 1824 (see above)).

Almost all of the farms here are recorded on the tithe map: these include Berth-ddu, Tyddyn-sais and Bryn Maen Lwyd, which lie immediately west of the present road, and those which lie south of Bronaber (such as Tyddyn Mawr, Tyddyn-du (see photograph), Cae Gwyn and Gal-llynau-duon). The field pattern also seems to have remained largely unchanged, and given the absence of evidence for earlier settlement (either relict or in the form of sub medieval houses – see areas 06 and 10) it would seem that we are looking at a marginal farming landscape of late 18th – early 19th century date, probably developed around the same time as the road was constructed (i.e. sometime between 1780 and 1824), literally right on the edge of the marsh and the mountains. However, recent work suggests that at least one farm ( Bryn Maen Llwyd) may be earlier, and Lhwyd (1911) claimed that Orsedd- lâs was occupied in the 17th century: also, there is some evidence that the fields around the three farms here (Tyddyn sais and Berth-ddu in addition to these) are older. It is still a bleak environment.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Farmsteads, enclosures, forestry

The principal characteristics of the area are the stone-built farms, built in an apparent variety of styles but all of granite with slate roofs, surrounded by their outbuildings. The area also contains a number of detached (and sometimes substantial) field barns. The fields are defined by stone walls built in a variety of different styles and producing a variety of field patterns: those on the slightly higher and ‘better’ ground are more regular in shape, while those surrounding the farms on the very edge of the low-lying boggy land to the west (such as Adwy-deg and Cae’y-y-cefn) have more of the appearance of what would be described as a parc in Caernarfonshire (i.e. small encroachments on the fringes of marginal land, with a small holding surrounded by a series of small, irregular enclosures).



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