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Historic Background
An area representing the unenclosed moorland of the Mynydd Malláen plateau, lying above 300 m. It was formerly divided between the Caeo and Malláen commotes of Cantref Mawr, which remained an independent Welsh lordship until 1284 and largely retained native systems of tenure throughout the Medieval period. As an upland area, land-use was primarily concerned with the mountain pasturing of animals, and it appears to have been largely unenclosed during the historic period, as it still is today. It is depicted as open pasture on the earliest historic maps and is recorded as being partly common land during the Medieval period. Physical evidence for prehistoric use of the landscape exists in the form of landmark ritual sites, represented by Bronze Age round barrows and a possible standing stone, which were intended to be prominent visual features within the landscape.. A late Medieval - early Post-Medieval rabbit warren occupied the southern flank of the plateau, and evidence for limited Post-Medieval enclosure exists in association with the longhuts characteristic of informal upland settlement in southwest Wales during this period (Sambrook and Ramsey, 1999). There are several small former lead and copper mines on the edges of the area, which may have early origins. Mining was already being undertaken in this area by the late 13th-century, the crown taking the 'eleventh foot' of the ore in taxation (Rees 1968), but had largely ceased by the mid 19th-century. The area has no recent settlement.

Base map reproduced from the OS map with the permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, © Crown Copyright 2001.
All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown Copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. Licence Number: GD272221

Description and essential historic landscape components
Mynydd Malláen is a high, undulating and isolated plateau which achieves heights of over 450 m. To the west and north, its very steep and often craggy sides fall away into the valleys of the Tywi and Cothi. To the south the edge of the plateau is more broken, but the slopes here are still steep. Essentially Mynydd Malláen is open moorland - rough grazing, bracken and blanket peats - with a little improved pasture on the southern edge. On some steep slopes fringing the plateau there is a little scrubby woodland, and a small conifer plantation is included in the area. There are some old earth boundaries on the fringes of the plateau, but occasional wire fences provide stock-proof boundaries.

Recorded archaeology is relatively rich and comprises Bronze Age round barrows and a possible standing stone, Medieval - Post-Medieval rabbit warrens, longhuts and field system, trackways, lead and copper mines, and unknown earthworks.

There are no standing buildings.

This is a very well-defined area. It is either bordered by farms and fields in valley bottoms, high, semi-enclosed valley sides, or forestry.






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