Archaeology Wales was commissioned by Geraint John Planning as part of the pre-application process to undertake a Desk-based Assessment and Site Visit to determine the archaeological potential of land at Hensol Castle, Pendeulwun, Vale of Glamorgan. The proposed application was to enable the development and restoration of Hensol Castle, being facilitated by the residential development of land at The Vale Resort. The proposed development area was at Gardeners Mews, within the Registered Park and Garden of Hensol Castle (Cadw ref. GM41), and at Castle Villas.
The Assessment determined that the only Scheduled Ancient Monument located within 1km of the development was a prehistoric enclosure, Caer Gwanaf, located 600m to the North. However, it had no inter-visibility with Hensol Castle, so it would not be directly or indirectly affected by the proposed development.
Of the three listed buildings within 1km of the sites, none were directly impacted by the proposed development. Hensol Castle listed building has limited inter-visibility with these, so impacts were considered to be low. The remaining listed buildings were not impacted by the Castle Villas site, and while Gardeners Mews was partially visible from a listed bridge (LB 13483), the proposed developments were not in areas that had seen much change in the past and the visual impact was considered to be minor.
The study also outlined areas of potential interest consisting of post-medieval and Modern features, while four new Modern sites were identified as a result of research carried out as part of the Desk-based Assessment. Due to the high impact and interference from the modern and post-medieval eras it was considered likely that any earlier archaeological material would have been destroyed. As a result, the likelihood of other archaeological features surviving was deemed to be low.
Working with the client and their representatives, the Archaeology Wales team were able to develop mitigation strategies that were likely to satisfy Cadw and the Local Planning Authority while at the same time providing a pragmatic approach to the development programme.
It was recommended that a Level 1 photo survey of existing buildings at the Gardeners Mews site was undertaken prior to intervention and that an archaeological watching brief maintained during ground works in the development areas. The latter to assess any evidence of archaeological remains and mitigate the potential impact of new development.