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Caersws Basin
Historic Landscape

Historic Landscape Characterisation

The Making of the Caersws Basin Landscape


Extractive industries are represented by small quarries, probably for building stone in the post-medieval period, which have been recorded in the more hilly parts of the historic landscape area, to the south, the north-west and the north-east. The larger, commercial stone quarry at Penstrowed lies just outside the south-eastern boundary of the historic landscape area was in operation by at least the early 19th-century.

Glacial clay deposits in the Caersws area are known to have been quarried for supplying kilns producing tiles in the Roman period and for the production of bricks for the construction of the workhouse at Caersws in the 1830s.

Trial mine shafts or levels are recorded near Little London (on the hills north-east of Llandinam), at Carnedd Mine Wood (north-west of Llandinam), and at Llwyn-y-brain Cottage (north-east of Caersws). Little has been traced of the history of these enterprises, though it seems likely that they may have been dug in the late 19th century in an attempt to trace an eastwards extension of the lead-rich lode being actively exploited at Van north of Llanidloes at this period.

Water power was in use in a number of locations in the historic landscape probably from at least medieval to modern times, supporting a number of processing industries. A fulling mill and a corn mill are documented at the hamlet of Pontdolgoch to the north of Caersws by the 1670s, but by the early 20th century included a sawmill, all exploiting the fast-flowing Garno stream. Pontdolgoch corn mill, formerly known as Pont y Ddol Goch Mill, is now redundant, but is represented by a stone-built, three-storey mill building with a drying kiln and an adjacent brick-built mill house. The mill was refurbished in the 1880s and once had two overshot wheels. The former fulling mill, now known as Walk Mill (an alternative English name for fulling mill), was once called Pandy y Ddol Goch, is a half-timbered building, now converted to a house. Pontdolgoch water-powered sawmill, which remains in operation, was established in 1913, replacing an earlier watermill. Earlier timber processing is represented by a sawpit at Henblas Farm to the east of Pontdolgoch, recorded in the 1880s. Other surviving features associated with the use of water power include a millrace which took water from a weir on the Garno upstream of Pontdolgoch, and a millpond which lies between the river and the road at Pontdolgoch.

Slightly further downstream, the Garno was also harnessed to operate a woollen mill at Maesteg near Wig Bridge, formerly known as Gwig Manufactory and Weeg Woollen Factory, which is now demolished although traces of the millrace survive. Several other former fulling mills in the historic landscape area are suggested by placename evidence, including Pandy Rhos and Pandy Bach in Llanwnog community which include the Welsh placename element pandy (‘fulling mill’), and Waulk Mill on the Ffinnant stream, just to the north of Llandinam (‘waulk’ being an alternative English term for ‘walk’), which in the early 19th century was called ‘Upper Mill’.

The Llandinam area was active in the production of charcoal in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, having been said to have supplied the ironworking forges of the Lloyds at Dolobran near Meifod, in the Vyrnwy valley about 20 miles to the north, though no surviving evidence of this industry has so far been recorded.

Two former 19th-century and possibly earlier smithies are known at Pontdolgoch: one is shown on Ordnance Survey maps of the 1880s and the other is indicated by the placename element efail (‘smithy’) in the name of the house Efail Troed-y-rhiw. Other smithies are similarly recorded at Caersws and Llandinam.

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