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Clywedog Valley
Historic Landscape
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Historic Landscape Characterisation

The Clywedog Valley: Craig-y-dduallt
Trefeglwys community, Powys
(HLCA 1191)


Hill edge and prominent hilltops flanking the northern side of Clywedog Reservoir and including the large, later prehistoric hillfort of Dinas; fieldscapes predominantly representing 19th-century enclosure of former common land, with some earlier possibly seasonal settlements and encroachments resulting in widely dispersed farms.

Historic background

The area fell within the manorial township of Esgeiriaeth in the Montgomeryshire tithe parish of Trefeglwys and the manorial township of Brithdir in the 19th-century Montgomeryshire tithe parish of Llanidloes.

Key historic landscape characteristics

Hill edge and hilltops flanking the northern and eastern sides of the Clywedog Reservoir, between a height of 290-445 metres above sea level, dissected by steep-sided valleys of short streams feeding the Clywedog. Predominantly well-drained fine loamy or fine silty soils overlying rock, which historically has been best suited to stock rearing and woodland. The area contains a number of small, distinctive, isolated blocks of 20th-century conifer plantation.

Several placenames in the character area have elements which provide some evidence of historic settlement patterns. Lluest-y-fedw and Lluest-y-dduallt both contain the element lluest (‘hut, cottage, shieling’) suggesting an origin as small-scale or temporary habitations. The placename Bryn yr Hwrdd contains the element hwrdd (‘ram’) suggesting a traditional association with sheep husbandry.

Early settlement and land use is indicated by the Dinas hillfort on the summit of a prominent hill formerly within a loop of the river Clywedog and now overlooking the Clywedog Reservoir. The hillfort covers the substantial area of over 14 hectares and although its defences appear to be unfinished it seems likely to represent an important tribal centre of the later prehistoric Iron Age, possibly to be associated with the exploitation of extensive upland pastures around the headwaters of the Clywedog.

The predicted course of the Roman road from Caersws to the fortlet at Penycrocbren is thought to run through the northern part of the area and possibly underlies the line of the modern road at Gwartew.

A variety of mixed field patterns are represented in the area. Small irregular fields encircling some of the farms probably represent encroachments on former open grazing land, possibly in some instances originating as seasonal upland habitations during the medieval or early post-medieval periods, which subsequently became subsumed within patterns of large straight-sided fields representing more formal processes of enclosure. Some of the central part of the area, to the south and east of Lluest-y-dduallt, was the subject of parliamentary enclosure in the early 19th century. Substantial areas to the northwards from Lluest-y-dduallt towards Gwartew and Gamallt survived as unenclosed common land at that time, having been enclosed since the 1880s.

A series of small roadside quarries recorded along the eastern part of the B4518 road were probably associated with improvements to the Llanidloes to Machynlleth turnpike road in the early 19th century. The western part of the road from just beyond Dinas to Staylittle is largely 20th-century in date, replacing the minor road further east.

A woollen mill formerly lay on the western margins of the area at Factory-isaf, powered by the river Clywedog.

Modern settlement is represented by widely dispersed farms which appear to have originated in the later medieval to early post-medieval periods as seasonally-occupied habitations or as encroachments on formerly unenclosed common land. The area also includes a number of abandoned and derelict farms possibly of medieval to early post-medieval origin, such as Lluest-y-fedw, resulting from the amalgamation of farm holdings during the 20th century.


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; Barton 1997; Hamer 1879; Hemp 1929; Hogg 1979; RCAHM 1911, Richards 1969; Soil Survey of England and Wales; Spurgeon 1972

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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