Britain’s first farmers and the legacy of 6000 years of agricultural development
Situated on an irregular plateau above the coastline between the towns of Barmouth and Harlech, Cors y Gedol was once home to one of Britain’s richest and most extensive agricultural landscapes. Nutrient-rich glacial soils deposited here during the last Ice Age enabled the repeated use of the land to grow crops from around 4000 BC right up until the late medieval period. Many relics of this rich agricultural heritage are preserved in the area.
Archaeologists have been aware of these ancient field systems for over 50 years. However, it was not until the area was intensively surveyed, both from the air and from the ground, that their full extent and complexity was understood. Their origins are almost certainly Neolithic and probably related to the nearby Cors y Gedol burial chamber. This is a damaged portal dolmen tomb, with a collapsed capstone leaning against two small uprights and the remains of a stone cairn thought to have originally been around 30 metres (84 feet) long.
Incorporated within this landscape of field boundaries are a number of ancient settlements. One grouping of huts, of which only the foundations remain, is believed to date to the Neolithic period. There are at least three areas of Iron Age settlement as well as scattered roundhouses within the field system. Two other separate groupings of huts are built to a design, which suggests they were constructed in the Romano-British era, some 2000 years ago. There are also the remains of several rectangular buildings of medieval or early post-medieval date. The landscape around Cors y Gedol has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Good Walks Nearby
- Family Walk
Cors y Gedol is off the A496 Harlech to Barmouth road. First left after Dyffryn Ardudwy heading south. Drive up very straight road (Ffordd Gors) to Cors y Gedol - 1 mile.
Nearest station Harlech - 5 1/2 miles
Stop at Dyffryn Ardudwy
Nearest bus stop opposite Ffordd Gors
On-road cycle route A496
From Cors y Gedol car park turn right onto Ffordd Ffridd Isaf through gate. Monuments are on the left of the road on the side of the hill.
Parking at Cors y Gedol – small charge. Walking boots recommended. Dogs must be on lead.
Full Figure Grid Reference: SH 604230
OS Landranger map sheet: 124
- Cors y Gedol, Dyffryn Ardudwy