ENCLOSURES IN CARDIGANSHIRE, 1750-1850 That agricultural activity was not entirely static in Cardiganshire between 1750 and 1850 is evident from the continued settlement of the waste and common lands and the extension of the enclosed areas. A tourist crossing the county from the south in 1805 described the Teifi valley as "full of enclosures, hedge-rows, corn and grass fields, bounded by a various outline of naked hills, which strikingly contrast with the fertility below. Heath, fern, and turf or peat, with patches of cultivation on the slopes and in the hollows of the hills, which last are dotted with sheep and catde .1 The valley itself corresponded to the coastal plain which formed the western part of the county, a plain consisting of a patchwork of cultivation, arable and grass fields intersected by hilly moorlands and small areas of woodland and bogland. The naked hill country to the east consisted of large areas of unenclosed waste heath, bogland, rough mountain pasture, common but few large woodlands. As early as the sixteenth century, John Leland had explained the timber shortage in Cardiganshire, first by the reluctance of the idle Welsh to replant, secondly, by the depredations of the Welsh goats, and thirdly, by the wilful destruction of "the great woddis that thei shuld not harborow theves".2 Even though timber was being used in large quantities in the lead-smelting industry of north Cardiganshire during the eighteenth century, there was sufficient left over to supply other parts of the country. Ash, birch and oak were being sent to ports such as Pwllheli in the north and bark was being supplied to Dublin. By the end of the century, however, the chairman of the Cardiganshire Quarter Sessions in answer to questions put to him by the Commissioners of the Woods, Forests and Land Revenues said that "the Quantity of large Oak Timber growing in Woods of the county"3 had declined. This was explained by the lack of encourage- ment to replant, secondly, by the improvement in the means of trans- port which facilitated the clearing of forests, and thirdly, by the increase in house building. More woodland was being converted to cultivation "than of Land of a fit Soil newly planted with Oak" Indeed, the forests of the county had been so neglected that in all probability they were emptier of useful trees at the end of the century than at any time in the past. Adam Murray, land agent of the Crosswood estate, wrote to his landlord, Sir John Vaughan, to say that the woodland on the estate had been "intirely neglected for want of proper training and fencing in from Cattle and Sheep. There are many Valuable Coppices of Oak in the Parishes of Lledrod, Gwnnws, Ysbyty, Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, Llanafan and Caron which if proper attention had been paid to them would now have constituted a very great additional yearly revenue to
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