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Hafod: Peiran Cascade

A Scheduled Monument in Pontarfynach, Ceredigion

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Latitude: 52.3471 / 52°20'49"N

Longitude: -3.8056 / 3°48'20"W

OS Eastings: 277102

OS Northings: 273644

OS Grid: SN771736

Mapcode National: GBR 94.T7N2

Mapcode Global: VH4FW.Z8HL

Entry Name: Hafod: Peiran Cascade

Scheduled Date: 28 October 1998

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3882

Cadw Legacy ID: CD174

Schedule Class: Gardens, Parks and Urban Spaces

Category: Garden building

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Ceredigion

Community: Pontarfynach

Traditional County: Cardiganshire


The monument consists of a garden building, known as the Rustic Alcove, and associated features. The Peiran Cascade, a natural waterfall, was the destination of the Ladies Walk laid out by Thomas Johnes in c. 1790. The impact of this natural feature was heightened by various man-made structures. The path climbs steeply towards the cascade which is hidden by the Rustic Alcove. This survives as two rubble stone walls, one partly blocking the path, one beyond which revetted the hillside. Recent excavation has shown these were associated with platforms or seats from which to take the first view of the waterfall. Boulder work at the base of the cascade may have been partly contrived. Astride the top of the cascade are the massive rubble stone abutments of Pont Newydd built in 1813-14 on the line of the new carriage drive. The northern abutment straddles the end of a leat running down the Peiran Valley from a mill pond c. 1.2km higher up. The leat turns below the bridge to empty into the cascade. Water could presumably be released from the pond and run down the leat to ‘improve’ the cascade when visitors took the Ladies Walk.

From 1780 until his death in 1816 Thomas Johnes transformed the landscape around his mansion of Hafod, high in the Ystwyth valley, into an outstandingly picturesque domain, threaded with walks and rides from which to view picturesque scenes. A number of built features were an integral part of the landscaping, heightening, in their design and location, the picturesque experience. The large scale of the undertaking, combined with the ruggedness of the scenery, has led this type of landscaping to be dubbed the 'wilderness picturesque'. Hafod rapidly became nationally famous and visitors flocked to admire the Hafod scenery, which was much described and depicted. From many contemporary accounts, drawings and paintings, and in particular from George Cumberland's 'An attempt to describe Hafod' (1796) it is possible to gain some idea of the late eighteenth/early nineteenth-century appearance of the landscape and the structures within it. There can be no doubt of the exceptional historic interest of the remains at Hafod associated with its picturesque landscaping.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of the use of gardens, parks, and urban spaces. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits.

Hafod is registered as Grade 1 on the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales. . It is the most important picturesque landscape in Wales and ranks with Downton, Hawkestone and Hackfall in England and the Hermitage and Falls of Bruar in Scotland.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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