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East Fforest Fawr and Mynydd-y-Glôg
Historic Landscape

Historic Landscape Characterisation

East Fforest Fawr and Mynydd-y-Glôg


The anciently enclosed landscapes of the Dyffryn Hepste and Cwm Cadlan character areas preserve a pattern of lanes running along the valleys, giving access to farms and cottages and from early times providing a means of moving herds of animals through the enclosed fields to and from the surrounding upland pastures. Some of the lanes have now been metalled but others survive as unmetalled green lanes which were sometimes walled to either side to prevent stock from straying. Farms on opposite sides of the valley were sometimes also linked by green lanes which cross streams by means of fords and stepping stones. Earlier routes of this kind are indicated by several occurrences of the place-name Heol-las (‘green lane’).

A number of these ancient routeways continue across the moorland to communicate with places in the neighbouring valleys of the Taf Fawr to the east and the Afon Mellte to the west, the place-name element cwrier (‘courier’) in Nant y Cwrier, the name of the stream running northwards from the head of the Hepste valley and more or less parallel for part of its course with the A4059, suggesting the course of an earlier footpath across the mountains in the direction of Brecon. Many of these early routeways, some of which are likely to be of medieval or earlier origin, survive as part of a network of public footpaths and permissive paths now managed by the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Other shorter trackways in the enclosed landscapes of Dyffryn Hepste, Cwm Cadlan and the eastern fringe of the Mellte valley give access to quarries and limekilns largely of later 18th- and earlier 19th-century date. In addition a network of amenity footpaths has been created by the Forestry Commission in recent years in the wooded Coed Penmailard and Cefn y maes character areas.

The historic landscape area is crossed by only two modern roads. The first is the A4059 between Hirwaun to Brecon which appears, despite more recent upgrading, to have been newly constructed throughout more or less its entire length within the historic landscape area as a turnpike road in the early 19th century, abandoning the more ancient route along the Hepste valley for the higher ground to the south. As a consequence, entrances to several of the farms on the southern side of the valley, notably Llwyncelyn, Neuadd and Tirmawr, were reorientated to give direct access to the turnpike road. The turnpike road is associated with a number of surviving contemporary milestones and small roadside quarries from which it was probably built. The second road is the modern unclassified road from the head of Cwm Cadlan to the Llwyn-on Reservoir in the valley of the Taf Fawr which was probably first metalled in the later 19th or earlier 20th centuries but based upon a more ancient routeway linking Cwm Cadlan and the valley of the Taf Fawr.

The course of a former railway forms a distinctive landscape feature running along part of the western boundary of the area. It formed part of the railway running southwards to Penderyn, built to transport materials used for the construction of the Ystradfellte Reservoir as a water supply for Neath between 1907 and 1914.

The Taff Trail, a long-distance footpath and cycle route from Brecon to Cardiff, runs through woodland towards the south-east corner of the characterised area

The southern part of the area is crossed for a distance of about 2 kilometres by the route of a modern gas pipeline whose 20m-wide wayleave can still be traced to the point it joins the Bryn Du gas works which lies just outside the characterised area.

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