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Holywell Common and Halkyn Mountain Historic Landscape

Historic Landscape Characterisation

Holywell Common and Halkyn Mountain

Agricultural Landscapes

Present-day land-use is primarily rough grazing. There is little evidence of early cultivation in the area, though the Domesday Book of 1086 refers ploughlands at Brynford (Brunford). There were still extensive areas of woodland at Brynford at that period, however, the Domesday Book again referring to woodland 1 league long (up to one and a half miles) and 2 acres wide. Considerable inroads into the forests were probably made throughout the course of the middle ages in support of the mining and smelting industry, and by the late 18th century most of the area was unenclosed common. Parts of the commons were enclosed by piecemeal individual enroachments during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, enclosure awards also being granted for more consolidated blocks of land around the margins of the commons in the parishes of Ysgeifiog and Whitford in the first decade of the 19th century. Most of the area has probably been used for grazing since the middle ages, a number of sheepfolds, some of which still survive, being marked on Ordnance Survey maps of the 1880s, as at Moel-y-crio, Pant-y-go, Rhes-y-cae, Billins and Pwll-clai. Few other agricultural structures are recorded, apart from a corbelled pigsty, Peacock Farm, Rhes-y-cae.

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