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Caersws Basin
Historic Landscape
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Historic Landscape Characterisation

The Caersws Basin: Carnedd
Caersws and Llandinam communities, Powys
(HLCA 1184)


Iron Age hillfort on hilltop ridge. Irregular fieldscapes and disperse farms of possible medieval and later origin with areas of remnant broadleaved woodland on steeper slopes and conifer plantations and some open pasture on land first enclosed in the early 19th century. Country house landscape with associated gardens, lodge and other buildings built for David Davies at Broneirion.

Historic background

The area formed part of the manorial townships of Trewythen, Gwernerin, Carnedd and Llandinam in Montgomeryshire tithe parish of Llandinam.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Hilly spur between the Cerist and Trannon rivers to the north and the Severn to the south, with steep hill slopes and dominated by the Cefn Carnedd ridge, lying between a height of 130-270 metres. Mostly well-drained fine loamy and silty soils overlying shale bedrock with some bare rock outcrops in places, economically best suited to stock rearing on the higher ground, and coniferous and deciduous woodland and rough grazing on the steeper slopes. Fieldscapes are dominated by large and small irregular fields which appear to represent a gradual process of clearance and enclosure from medieval or earlier times, associated with dispersed farmsteads of which some are likely to be of medieval origin.

A significant portion of the hilltop of Cefn Carnedd as well some eastern parts of the area including Waun Dingle and the hillslopes above Broneirion were the subject of parliamentary enclosure in the early 19th century. A distinctive element of the landscape are areas of both semi-natural and ancient replanted broadleaved woodland on steeper uncultivated slopes and steep-sided stream valleys as well as numerous parcels of predominantly conifer woodland on the hill slopes flanking Cefn Carnedd much of it apparently first planted in about the mid 19th century in areas of former common land.

Placenames of little significance other than recent wood names mostly relating to 19th-century plantations on the Dinam Estate though historical limitations on land use are also implied by the placename elements gwaun (‘mountain pasture’) in Waun Dingle, gwern (‘swamp’) in Gwern-eirin, meirog (‘thorn bush’) in the name Coed Meirog, and rhedyn (‘bracken’) in the name Caer’rhedyn (formerly Cae-rhedyn).

Later prehistoric settlement and land use in the area is indicated by the Iron Age hillfort on the hilltop ridge at Cefn Carnedd.

Present-day settlement in the area is represented by dispersed farms and cottages together with Broneirion and its associated complex of buildings. Earlier settlement of medieval to later medieval origin is represented by widely dispersed farms such as Middle Gwern-eirin and the neighbouring half-timbered, roadside cottage at Little House, dated 1692, which may have been its lodge. A further half-timbered cottage formerly existed at Lower Gwerneirin. The Middle Gwern-eirin farmhouse, has the appearance of an earlier farm, rebuilt in a Gothic style as an estate farm of the Dinam Estate during the later 19th-century. The dominant settlement in the area is the Italianate villa of Broneirion (now a conference and residential training centre for the Guide movement) built on a new site in a picturesque setting at the foot of steep, wooded hillslopes for the eminent industrialist David Davies in 1864-65. This forms part of a complex together with its associated gardens, Gothic lodge, other large houses at Fron Haul and Bryn-Hafren and a terrace of estate workers’ houses. Some additional houses have been recently added to the complex.


Historic Environment Record; Cadw Listed Building descriptions; modern Ordnance Survey 1:10,000, 1:25,000 mapping and 1st edn Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 mapping; Guilbert and Morris 1979; Hogg 1979; Jones 1983; Morgan 2001; Sothern and Drewett 1991; Smith 1975; Smith and Owen 1955-56; Spurgeon 1972; Thomas 1938

For further information please contact the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust at this address, or link to the Countryside Council for Wales' web site at

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