A cultural landscape
A wild mountainous pass, led along a series of sheep tracts, into Nant Lie. Trees, chiefly old oaks, had withstood the fury of perhaps a hundred winters; the limbs shattered, covered with moss, and bared of leaves... several small farmers' cottages among the trees... an ancient over-shot mill, between the pools. The mountain grandeur of the vale was broken by the wooded foreground; and the water of one of the lakes, from the rays of the sun, which shot obliquely upon it, glittered through the dark foliage of the trees.
Rev. W. Bingley, North Wales, 1814
We tend to see our landscape, our history and our culture as separate things. In reality, they are closely intertwined. The farmers who since Prehistoric times have struggled to earn a living from the inhospitable slopes have bequeathed the ruins of their homes and the straggling field walls of the uplands. The quarrymen who worked the slate-veins of Nantlle and Moel Tryfan not only created the deep pits and the towering mounds of slate rubble, but also sustained the inspiration of poets, preachers and writers of fiction. The present-day strength and confidence of the Welsh language within the area reflects not only the landscape's remoteness in times past but also its ability to sustain the growing, increasingly literate, population of the nineteenth century. Myth and legend, too, affect the landscape.
What is a cultural landscape?
It is because all our landscapes are cultural landscapes - affected in one way or another by past and present human society, and in turn affecting the way our communities and cultures evolve - that our hopes of preserving the best of our inheritance depend on understanding our historic environment.
The European Union has now asked twelve archaeological organisations in twelve different countries to interpret a landscape area - through websites, booklets and leaflets; meetings and seminars.
What does the project hope to achieve?
How will interpretation of the landscape benefit people of the area?
The work will be carried out by the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust. The aim of the Trust is to promote a broader understanding of the historic and archaeological richness of North West Wales.