Historic Landscape Characterisation
Merthyr Tydfil

077 Merthyr Common, South

HLCA 77 Merthyr Common, South An important relict pre-historic funerary and ritual landscape: Bronze Age Cairns; Common Land; open mountain sheepwalk, little above ground industrial exploitation.

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(Photo: GGAT Merthyr 077)

Merthyr Common, South character area: extensive upland area of common land preserving prehistoric landscape.


An extensive upland area of common land, largely unaffected by industrialisation and forming an important relict prehistoric funerary and ritual landscape. It also contains a longhut indicative of medieval agricultural management.

Historical background

The historic landscape area of Merthyr Common, South comprises an important relict prehistoric funerary and ritual upland landscape. The area contains numerous cairns or burial mounds (primarily ring cairns and round barrows) of Bronze Age date, several of which are Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAM Gm222). The ridges of Mynydd Cilfach-yr-encil and Cefn Merthyr in particular have large numbers of Bronze Age Cairns; these may indicate ancient boundaries of territorial claims to cleared land, perhaps focused on a settlement within Cwmcothi to the east.

During the medieval period the steeper slopes to either side of the common probably remained heavily wooded, as is reflected by the surviving Coedcae place names. The practice of agricultural transhumance is also indicated by the presence of a medieval longhut, a temporary upland dwelling associated with seasonal occupation and exploitation of upland summer pastures for dairy agriculture.


For further information please contact the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust at this address. Link to the Countryside Council for Wales website at www.ccw.gov.uk or Cadw at www.cadw.wales.gov.uk