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Historic Background

In the Medieval Period this area formed part of Strata Florida Abbey’s Pennardd Grange. At the dissolution the Earl of Essex was granted abbey land, the greater portion of which was purchased by the Crosswood estate in 1630. This area, however, seems to have lain within the abbey demesne and was acquired by John Stedman in 1567. On the death of Richard Stedman in 1746, who died intestate, the land passed to the Nanteos estate. It is likely that the settlement pattern of scattered farms dates to the Medieval Period and was developed and supported by later estate owners. Estate maps of the Nanteos estate of 1819 (NLW Vol 45, 59, 64, 65), demonstrate that this area has changed considerably in the past two centuries. Woodland areas have remained fairly constant, but the field systems have altered and developed while the number of settlements has decreased. Talwrn, Crofftau and two further abandoned farms near Crofftau were shown in 1819 as farmsteads surrounded by a few small enclosures set in unenclosed sheep-walk or sheep pasture. Some new enclosures had been created by the time of the tithe survey (Caron Tithe Map and Apportionment, 1845), but the majority of enclosures in this area were laid out post 1845. Dereliction of some landscape components has occurred; former small enclosures around the two deserted farms have reverted to large enclosures and some areas of former enclosure have been planted with conifers.

Description and essential historic landscape components

This is a heavily wooded area on a north-facing valley side of the upper Teifi and minor valleys of north-flowing tributary streams. The area varies in height from 190m towards the floor of the Teifi valley to 350m at its southern limits. Some of the slopes are steep and craggy. It encompasses a variety of landscape types including field systems of small to large enclosures, unenclosed land, deciduous woodland and coniferous plantation. The settlement pattern is one of dispersed farms around which are systems of small fields with larger enclosures, and small blocks of unenclosed land further out. The type of field boundary varies considerably; dry-stone walls are generally found at higher levels and earth banks and stone-faced earth banks on the lower slopes, though there is much intermixing of type. Hedges in poor condition are present on some of the banks, particularly on the lower slopes. Wire fences supplement these historic boundaries. Improved grazing lies within the fields. Interspersed amongst the woodland on the steeper slopes is rougher ground, with occasional patches of bracken. Large tracts of intermixed deciduous and coniferous woodland lie on the north facing slopes above Strata Florida Abbey.

There are few buildings in this area. Older structures are built of local stone. One farmhouse is in the typical mid-to-late 19th century Georgian vernacular style, relatively small, of two storeys, with gable end chimneys, central front door, and two windows either side of the door and one above. Another house has older, more vernacular traits. A bungalow has been recently constructed in the area. A substantial range of two storey stone-built outbuildings is noted at one farm. There are few modern agricultural buildings.

Apart from the cottages mentioned above, the recorded archaeology consists of the remains of a post-Medieval metal mine, a Bronze Age round barrow and a possible Bronze Age standing stone.

To the south a large tract of forestry plantation bounds this area. To the north and west the area’s borders are less well defined where this area merges with enclosed land.


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


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