Thursday, 28 July 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 300m Twmpau

Great Wood (SN 950 682)

This is the eighteenth post under the heading of Significant Name Changes, and the following details are in respect of a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 14th April 2015.

The hill is situated in the Elenydd, which is a range of hills taking in vast tracts of wild moor and is situated in the central heartland of Wales.  The hill is positioned 2 km west of the town of Rhaeadr Gwy (Rhayader) which is beside the Afon Gwy (River Wye).

Great Wood (SN 950 682)

The hill appeared in the 300m list on Geoff Crowder’s website under an invented name of Ochr-cefn, with an accompanying note stating; Name from buildings to the West.  During my early hill listing I thought it appropriate to either invent a name for a hill, or use a name that appeared near to the summit of the hill on Ordnance Survey maps of the day.  My preference was to use farm names and put Pen, Bryn or Moel in front of them, or as in this instance, just use the name of the farm which appears close to this hill’s summit on the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 map.  This is not a practice that I now advocate as with a little research either conducted locally or historically an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found.

An extract from the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger map with the name Ochr-cefn appearing near to the summit of this hill

    Name from buildings to the West

Since publication of these P30 lists there have been a number of Ordnance Survey maps made available online, some of these are historical such as the series of Six-Inch maps on the National Library of Scotland website, whilst others are current and digitally updated such as the enlarged map on the Geograph website.  This latter map also includes many spot heights that do not appear on any other publicly available map, and it was the study of this map that necessitated the first change in this hill’s listed name.

An extract from the Ordnance Survey enlarged map on the Geograph website with the positioning of Coed y Cefn being in or close to its bounded land, importantly this does not take in the summit of this hill

The Ordnance Survey enlarged map on the Geograph website gives this hill a 342m spot height at its summit, and with a 252m spot height on the area of its bwlch it meant this hill had a 90m map prominence which is the minimum value required to be classified as a Sub-Hump.  These details were posted on the RHB Yahoo group forum on 06.12.13, see below:

Sub-HuMP enthusiasts may find the following of interest:

Coed y Cefn    SN 950 682    342m summit    252m bwlch at SN 943 684

Ochr-cefn being the name of a farm and not that of the hill.  With Coed y Cefn supported by various old maps.


Excluding all near farm names it is the name Coed y Cefn that appears nearest to this hill’s summit on the enlarged Geograph map and this is supported by a number of other maps, including the Ordnance Survey Six-Inch, the historical and the current 1:25,000.  Except for the current Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 map which is prone to inappropriate placement of hill and feature names, all other maps are consistent in the placement of the name Coed y Cefn, which appears against bounded land on the south-eastern part of this hill. 

An extract from the current Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map.  This series of map has little regard for precise upland place-name placement and inappropriately gives the name of Coed y Cefn taking in two pieces of bounded land

The whole upper part of this hill is forested, with its southern part being deciduous and its northern part taking in a conifer plantation.  The bounded land is either separated by a fence or wall; these boundaries indicate land that is adjoined to different owners or tenants.  These land boundaries have usually been in place for centuries and in the uplands of Wales they are referred to as the cynefin, or sheep-walk in English.

The sheep-walk is an English term given to enclosed land that is apportioned to a specific farm.  The Welsh term for this land is cynefin, which can be literally translated as habitat, as in that for the sheep.  The cynefin usually takes in high land that is known as the mountain land of the specific farm, therefore the name given to this enclosed land is usually that of the name of the farm prefixed with the word mynydd, this land is usually given over for sheep grazing, hence the term sheep-walk.  When Ordnance Survey maps are examined one can find many examples where this form of cynefin naming system exists, with farms situated in valley’s having their name given to high mountain land and prefixed with the word mynydd.  However, this hill is neither high or is it open for sheep grazing, but it is bounded, therefore the Tithe map was examined.
The name this hill is now listed by is Great Wood and this was derived from the Tithe map.  The term Tithe map is generally given to a map of a Welsh or English parish or township and which was prepared after the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act.  This act allowed tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods.  The Tithe maps gave names of owners and occupiers of land in each parish and importantly for place-name research they also included the name of enclosed land.  This enclosed land is usually based on a field system, however not every field is given a name, but many are and especially so in Wales.

Accessing information on the Tithe map is simplified by the use of a split screen enabling the summit to be pinpointed on the map on the right and for the same point to appear on the Tithe map on the left

A close up of the bounded land that takes in the summit of this hill and which is given the number 370 on the Tithe map

The enclosed land where the summit of Great Wood is situated is given the number 370 on the Tithe map, this can be cross referenced against the apportionments; it is these apportionments that give the name of the owner or occupier of the land as well as the name of the land.  The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named Great Wood on the Tithe map, and it appears in the county named as Radnor and in the parish of Llansanffraid Cwmdeuddwr, with the adjacent bounded land to the south-east given the number 369 on the Tithe map and the name Coed y Cefn in the apportionments, with that of the number 368 given the name of Wood.  Importantly it is the land of Great Wood that takes in the summit of this hill and not that of Coed y Cefn.

The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Great Wood on the Tithe map

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Elenydd

Name:  Great Wood

1st Previously Listed Name:  Ochr-cefn 

2nd Previously Listed Name:  Coed y Cefn 

Summit Height:  342.2m (converted to OSGM15)

OS 1:50,000 map:  136, 147

Summit Grid Reference:  SN 95076 68217
Drop:  90.8m

Myrddyn Phillips (July 2016)

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