Canolfan Cadwraeth a Gwarchod Natur


Conservation Centre & Nature Reserve


Pied Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Great Crested Newt







Lesser Horseshoe Bat

Tawny Grisette


Green Woodpecker

Sychnant Pass

Y Bonc


Oak Hangar



Home Wood

Y Bonc

Sychnant Pass





To Penmaenmawr

Y Ffridd

Y Ffridd

To Conwy

Gwern Engan

Mediaeval Huts

Conwy Mountain




Although the original house at Pensychnant (the lower, right-hand end) was built about 1690, the main  house, and really the whole character of the estate dates from the Victorian era. Built between 1877 and 1882,  Pensychnant was the country-home of Abraham Henthorn Stott, architect of the Lancashire cotton mills. Stott & Sons was one of the most eminent Victorian firms, building about a fifth of  the mills in Oldham at a time when Oldham did one eighth of the spinning in the world.

By 1937,  the cotton industry had collapsed and Pensychnant was sold, but in 1967  Brian Henthorn Stott, great grandson of the architect, bought it back again.  Now, the Pensychnant Foundation continues in his memory.

We aim to restore Pensychnant to its former glory, but even so the house is well endowed with original gothic and ‘arts & crafts’ features depicting Victorian social history.

PENSYCHNANT was born of one man’s love of nature. Brian Henthorn Stott loved this place; its vital wildlife; its outstanding natural beauty; its tranquillity. He set up the Pensychnant Foundation in 1989 to protect the  history and natural history of Sychnant, for peaceful enjoyment, for posterity. Now the Pensychnant Foundation continues in his memory


At Pensychnant, a prehistoric landscape was used by mediaeval farmers, modified by Victorian whims, and is still farmed today. Even the moorland which seems to epitomise naturalness, is a product of the centuries of pasturage since Neolithic and Bronze Age man cleared the primaeval woodlands. Pensychnant’s Archaeological trail includes Bronze Age, Iron age and mediaeval sites, including the hafotai (summer houses) which are so much part of Welsh history and culture. Conwy Mountain has examples of Bronze Age burial, the magnificent Iron Age fortress, Caer Seion and Mediaeval feudal field systems, if you know where to look!

Pensychnant in 1930: Architecturally eccentric but very modern in its time!

Mediaeval  Longhouse at Pensychnant


The varied habitats at Pensychnant, and the diverse flora and fauna therein, are a prime expression of a long history of countryside stewardship. It is one of the best wildlife sites in the region.


Still traditionally  grazed, Pensychnant’s Ffridd is now part of the Sychnant Site of Special Scientific Interest; (SSSI) nationally  important for its heathland. The mosaic of bell-heather and gorse is stunning in August., and is a rich habitat for specialist invertebrates. In spring-fed flushes, amidst Sphagna and sedges, grows the bog asphodel, cotton and bog pimpernel. Here North Walian endemic moths, the Ashworth’s Rustic and Weaver’s Wave breed; Cuckoos cuckold the meadow pipits; and Ravens, Choughs, and Buzzards will commonly be seen.

Ancient & Victorian Woodlands

Just above the house, in the Home Wood, is Cadair Edward (Edward’s Chair). Legend reputes that this quartzite rock was used by Edward I (who built Conwy Castle) to sit and watch his  royal hunt. In fact the rock seat itself is likely to be a Victorian folly, but this woodland, and parts of Oak-Hanger, are relicts of the primaeval Welsh oakwoods which once would have covered Snowdonia, even before Conwy Castle was built.  Plants such as the wood anemones and bluebells are indicative of such ancient woodlands. Oak,  rowan,  birch and holly are native here over diverse mosses and ferns. These Welsh oak woods are important for summer migrants such as pied flycatcher,  redstart and wood warbler, as well as for residents such as nuthatch, tree creeper, woodpeckers and the titmice.

The estate was ‘beautified’ by the Victorian Stott family in the 1880’s. Trees such as the Scots and Corsican pines, sycamore, and beech were planted,  and a tennis lawn with pavilions was set in a created glade in Home Wood. New woods were created including the Lime Avenue and the pines which so characterise the top of the Sychnant Pass. A century has mellowed the Victorian planting. The increased diversity attracts goldcrests, occasional crossbill, and lime hawk-moths, and the several decaying pine boles are important habitat for invertebrates and the nuthatch and woodpeckers which feed on them.

Tree planting was resumed by Brian Stott in the 1970’s and then by the Pensychnant Foundation in 1996, but with different objectives;  for conservation. The charity has planted about 2200 locally-native trees on abandoned pastures to create a further 25 acres of woodland. Already this is habitat for whitethroats and stonechats, with a good population of summer warblers. The aim is always to maintain the mix of ancient semi-natural and Victorian habitats which supports such diverse wildlife and imparts such character and beauty to the top of Sychnant.

Spotted Flycatcher: 77% decline in 25 years  (BTO)

Pied Flycatcher

Bell Heather & Western Gorse


Sychnant is a Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS). It gives a very  explicit example of  igneous geology, with the intrusive rhyolites of the coastal mountains giving way  to the extrusive rhyolites and tuffs of the Sychnant Pass and inland. Real geologists debate earnestly in long words about its orogeny but its origins can also be interpreted more simply to the lay-man.

The Sychnant Pass itself was eroded by glacial melt-waters in the last Ice-Age. As the ice retreated the deep cleft valley was left high and dry, leaving the Sychnant which we enjoy today  (sych = dry; nant = valley).


Sychnant is surely one of the best places in the world: full of natural beauty and peace. But how much more we can appreciate our environment if we understand it, its history and cultural ties. If you or your group would like to know more about the history or natural history of Sychnant, please contact us

Pensychnant organises a range of  guided walks and  talks to explore and interpret the environment, and can organise events for other groups too.

Sychnant Pass

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