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Tanat Valley Historic Landscape
Character area map

Historic Landscape Characterisation

Dyffryn Tanat / The Tanat Valley:
Brithdir, Llanrhaeadr-ym-mochnant, Powys
(HLCA 1023)


Small irregular fields and close-set farms on southern slopes of Dyffryn Tanat.

Historic background

The area fell within the ecclesiastical parish of Llanrhaeadr-ym-mochnant, Denbighshire and within the ancient commote of Mochnant Is Rhaeadr.

Key historic landscape characteristics

North-facing gently sloping land, on the southern side of the Tanat valley, at a height of generally between about 130-200m OD, but with a small area of more steeply sloping upland to the south, reaching a height of 300m OD. Steep-sided stream valleys such as the Nant y Wiber with semi-natural oak and mixed deciduous woodland. Some poorly-drained areas with rushes.

Clustered, close-set 17th/18th-century stone farmhouses, outbuildings and smallholdings, generally sited towards the edge of the higher ground, and often set within their own fields, as at Castellmoch-fach and Caesiencyn, and part-rendered or rendered farmhouses at Brithdir, including some low stone farmhouses, such as Dderwen Fawr, now rendered, and Wernffinnant, with stone outbuildings. Older buildings are of rounded, field-clearance stone and quarried stone, with more recent buildings of quarried stone. Castellmoch-fach 18th/19th-century stone farmhouse and outbuildings. Some abandoned farms and smallholdings, such at Lletty'r-heulen, resulting from the 20th-century amalgamation of holdings. Area of small 19th-century roadside cottages near Rhos-y-brithdir, towards south-east corner of area.

Small and irregular fields, now predominantly pasture, with mature, mixed-species hedges including ash, hazel and holly, some now overgrown and intermittent, supplemented with post and wire fencing, but with some traditional hedge-laying. Low hedge banks and some field lynchets and some ridge and furrow, in field to east of Caesiencyn. Scattered mature oaks in hedges. Dilapidated drystone walling on some higher ground. Occasional boundaries removed. Redundant stone, concrete, and building-block milkstands at farm entrances. The lower-lying land mostly represents late medieval and early post-medieval piecemeal enclosure. Grid of larger rectangular fields on the more steeply-sloping ground towards the southern edge of the character area, represent 19th-century enclosure of upland commons, now with grown-out hedges, and with late 18th to early 19th-century smallholdings at Hafotty and Cae Pant.

19th-century industry is represented by possible phosphate mine and a number of small quarries. Public roads in hollow-ways up to 4-5m deep, with stone-revetted sides in places, road drains and culvets replacing former fords. Network of footpaths, trackways and green lanes between farms.


Haslam 1979
Richards 1934

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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