Wales' historic landscapes
Wales’ diverse and distinctive landscape
provides a fascinating insight into the past. From prehistoric
stone circles to city centre streets, 6,000 years of human activity
has left its mark on our environment...
Our ancestors quarried stone to build impregnable castles and
hill forts. They crafted monuments to their beliefs. Grand houses
crowned their ownership of the land. They toiled on the fields and
in the mines, leaving behind evidence of how the agricultural and
industrial revolutions dramatically changed our countryside. And we
continue to shape the land around us today.
Historic landscapes provide valuable clues to these events. Yet
we often take many of their features for granted. Look again at
that old stone boundary wall or that small area of woodland – they
may have their origins in the very distant past and have an
intriguing story to tell.
Some landscapes may appear timeless and unchanged. But land that
has been relatively undisturbed by farming or is unfit for crops
might betray a wealth of evidence of ancient landuse.
Big or small, ancient or modern, all these features mark the
importance of our historic fabric.
CCW and historic landscapes
Working in partnership with Cadw (the official guardian of
Wales’ built heritage) and the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts,
CCW maintains and promotes the use of the Welsh Historic Landscapes
Historic Landscapes Register
The Register is a vital way of safeguarding the characteristics
of these distinctive places. It now contains 58 different areas –
the best surviving examples of historic landscapes in Wales.
What the Register does
Whether you're a planning officer, a teacher or a visitor to
Wales, if you want information about our historic landscape then
the Register is a good place to find it.
The main purpose of the Register is to provide information for
those taking decisions about landscapes. This means that changes
and new developments can be accommodated in ways that will cause
the least harm to the historic character of the land.
If you're enjoying our dramatic countryside on a day out or on a
holiday, you can even use the Register to dig up absorbing
information, or to use as an educational guide.
Further advice on the use and operation of the Register can be
obtained in the Guide to Good Practice on Using the Register of
Landscapes of Historic Interest in Wales in the Planning and
Development Process available on the Cadw website.
For planners and developers
The main purpose of the Register is to provide information about
current landscapes for planners and developers - people who have to
make decisions that will change the landscape as it appears
By describing clearly the current state of the landscape, how it
has evolved over the centuries and what landmarks exist, the
Register aims to help planners and developers introduce changes and
new developments in ways that will cause the least harm to the
historic character of the land. The Register is not the word of the
law - it recognises that the landscape is in a permenent state of
flux and is not used to prevent required change or development.
For tourists and locals
The Register is a goldmine and well worth looking at to dig up
information if you're on a day out in Wales.
Students may also want to consult the Register to help them with
their studies of Welsh history or geography.