Between 1973 and 1976, Llyn Brenig reservoir was constructed by Welsh Water to regulate the flow of the river Dee. As a result of this disturbance of the landscape archaeological investigation of around fifty sites in the valley was carried out. The majority of sites excavated were of bronze age date although a camp used by mesolithic hunter/gatherers was also discovered. This is dated by radiocarbon analysis of the charcoal from their fires to around 5,700BC.
To enable the visitor to gain some insight into the archaeology of the area a number of sites have been preserved and, in some cases, partially reconstructed. They can be seen along two trails. The shorter of these includes a ring cairn, a bronze age burial mound, several barrows and a hafod dated to the 16th century AD. Hafotai were the summer dwellings where people lived whilst the cattle and sheep grazed the moors. The longer trail includes other bronze age cairns, medieval field banks and a stone building which is possibly the remains of a farm and another hafod which was rebuilt in 1881.
The main sites of the bronze age form a cemetery lying on either side of Afon Fechan. One of the principal sites is a burial mound which had been built over a series of stake-holes and a dry-stone wall which surrounded a central grave, dated to c1600BC. Later on cremation burials were inserted into the mound. Another major site, on the short trail, is a ring cairn consisting of a low stone ring surrounded by a circle of posts. We do not know what rituals were practised here but the circle was in use for the 400 years that the cemetery was in use and probably served as a kind of church, although some burials were placed within it.
The Llyn Brenig centre at the southern end of the lake near the dam contains an interpretation centre with video film, a coffee/tea shop, watersports centre and is the start of various walks and nature trails. The interpretation centre provides background information and three-dimensional display of the building of the dam, the ecology of the area and the archaeological remains. There is also a video illustrating these aspects.
Leaflets on the activities available at the centre, and on the archaeological trails, are available.
The centre makes an ideal venue for a combined ecology/environment/archaeology/nature visit.
Access and parking
The above information comes from the Sites and Monuments Record of the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust. For further information about the historic environment of this area, contact:-Jeff Spencer
Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust
7a Church Street
tel: (01938) 553670
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