CPAT logo
Cymraeg / English
Caersws Basin
Historic Landscape
Character area map
More photographs

Historic Landscape Characterisation

The Caersws Basin: Moel Iart - Penstrowed Hill
Llandinam and Mochdre communities, Powys
(HLCA 1186)


Enclosed moorland on the hills around the southern and eastern rim of the Caersws Basin, substantial parts of which were subject to parliamentary enclosure in the early 19th century.

Historic background

The area formed part of the manorial townships of Maesmawr and Llandinam in the Montgomeryshire tithe parish of Llandinam and the township of Penstrowed in the tithe parish of Penstrowed.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Undulating hilltop running along southern side of the Severn valley, between a height of 190-430 metres. The soils are mostly well-drained fine loamy and silty, thin in places and overlying shale bedrock, which historically have been best suited to stock rearing on upland pasture with rough grazing and woodland on the steeper slopes. A small, residual area of registered Common Land survives at the southern end of the area, on the south side of Moel Iart. Small parts of the area, notably the area of small irregular fields near The Forest and leading up to Moeliart appear to have been enclosed by perhaps the late 18th century, perhaps by a process of encroachment onto former common land. The remainder of the area, characteristically represented by large and small straight-sided and large irregular enclosures defined by post and wire fences, was enclosed by parliamentary enclosure in the early 19th century. Semi-natural broadleaved woodland and some ancient replanted woodland exist on the steeper slopes of Allt y gaer to the south and east of Bronfelin Hall and The Moat.

Little indication of historic land use is provided by placename evidence though the name Moeliart is significantly derived from the elements moel (‘bare hill’) and garth (‘enclosure’). The name Cefn Lladron, from the elements cefn (‘ridge’) and lladron (‘thieves’) on the northern side of Penstrowed Hill, towards the northern end of the area, is unexplained but would seem to refer to either an historical or traditional association of robbers with this area overlooking the narrow pass along the Severn valley.

Grassland improvement of unknown date is represented by a scatter of stone clearance cairns.

There is little settlement within the area at the present day.


Historic Environment Record; modern Ordnance Survey 1:10,000, 1:25,000 mapping and 1st edn Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 mapping; Ellis 1935; Jones 1983; Soil Survey of England and Wales; Sothern and Drewett 1991

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

Privacy and cookies