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  Elan Valley in 1833  
 

This image is taken from an Ordnance Survey map first surveyed in 1833. It gives us an excellent picture of the landscape of the Elan Valley at the very beginning of Queen Victoria's reign.
The way the map is shaded lets us see the twisting course of the river and the steep hills to either side.

 
 
  The working people of the area at this time were mostly tenant farmers, estate workers or shepherds. The wild upland ridges were pasture for great flocks of Welsh mountain sheep.
Most of the area belonged to the Lewis Lloyd family of Nantgwyllt. Nantgwyllt House itself is just off the bottom of the map, but you can see a scatter of houses and the chapel which made up the tiny hamlet.
 
  The grand house marked Cwm Elan can be seen on the west bank of the river, standing in its own grounds. For a short while this had been the home of the great poet Shelley.
During the Victorian period it was the home of wealthy people who enjoyed the romantic setting of the valley and the rugged landscape of the Cambrian mountains.
(To see what happened to the house, see the pages on the building of the Elan Valley dams).
 
 

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