Preservation of the Historic Environment
Cadw gweddillion a thraciau hanesyddol
One-third of the area of the Cambrian Mountains is registered in the historic landscape register for Wales. In addition, the Cambrian Mountains contain 80 individual Scheduled Ancient Monuments, from individual cairns and stone circles through to medieval buildings and trackways. Management as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its landscape focus, would by definition respect and enhance this important heritage. But even pending designation as an AONB, these irreplaceable parts of Wales’ heritage need to be taken properly into account in planning any development activities within the region.
The Cambrian Mountains provide a rare example of a surviving, largely intact prehistoric landscape. Today’s predominantly grassy heathland was created by woodland clearance from the earlier prehistoric period onwards, combined with climatic change which at high altitude gave rise to blanket peat formation.
The large numbers of cairns, individual megaliths, stone rows and stone circles may well be associated with the early exploitation of upland pastures during the Bronze Age, 5500-3500 years ago. The fact that many are sited high on horizons indicates that they were meant to be seen from long distances, possibly for territorial marking, for commemoration of special individuals or for use as foresights for astronomical alignments.
The archaeology of the Cambrian Mountains is relatively well preserved for the very reasons that make the area special – its remoteness and lack of human disturbance. But there are many aspects which are not yet fully understood. The uplands archaeological record needs to be respectfully preserved in its landscape context for future research.
Llwbyr y Mynaich
As explained in the page Archaeology and History, the Monks’ Trod is a precious archaeological site, albeit one whose precise and full value has only been recognised and appreciated in recent years.
The route also passes through a number of areas of protected landscape including Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas.
Although parts of it are Public Rights of Way, others are private land and access is on a permissive basis only.