The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Coedcae Gaer



It's truly sad when unsavoury, extraneous events overshadow a visit to a site. But, hey, these things happen within a flawed society such as ours, do they not? Tell me about it. Quite how we can (rightly) demonise moronic hooligans for rampaging in our city centres when the so called 'higher echelons' (ha!) act like mindless, sub-humans... having a jolly good time hunting a creature to its death for FUN ... is beyond me. It really is. Evil is as evil does, Forrest. It therefore makes my skin crawl to have to share the environs of Coedcae Gaer with such fox hunting degenerates this Christmas Eve afternoon.

There are two saving graces, however. Firstly, the fox doubles back away from the pursuing creatures, paradoxically sat astride beautiful mounts, and casts me a glance as he/she tries to save itself, proceeding to lead them a merry dance in the process. Yeah, a flawed, instinctive executioner when loose in the chicken coop - I doubt if many would blame a farmer blasting the fox with his shotgun on sight - but civilised human beings are supposed to know better than to engage in sheer, retributive blood lust, are we not? QED! I give you the fox hunter! And you can keep 'em the hell away from me upon a public common. Can we stop the cavalry this Christmas? Seems not, my friends. Seems not.

With apologies for the above.... the second saving grace is the unexpected quality of the hillfort of Coedcae Gaer. A little to the north-east of the great urban sprawl that is Bridgend, it's taken me years to find this, so my thanks to the two TMA'ers to proceed me here. The setting is fine, a typical South Walian coastal juxtaposition of industry and sweeping, green hillside, the latter prevalent to the north where the Nant Ciwc has carved the deep valley of Cwm Rhydymilwyr. Phalanxes of wind turbines dominate the summit of Mynydd Maendy to the north-east, the ridge, according to the map, also boasting a 'tumulus'. Another, smaller 'enclosure' sits above Hoel-y-Cyw some way to the west. Far to the south, the Glamorgan coastline is crowned by a myriad promontory 'cliff forts'. Clearly there was a lot going on in ancient times...

So much for the location. The earthworks are pretty good, too. No, they're better than that, the univallate defences rising to an impressive 3m in places, a counterscarp duly emphasising the ditch. Unfortunately a double barbed-wire fence impedes access, and, seeing as the farmer is on site (at least I think it's the farmer, maybe not), I'm forced to have a conversation. Needless to say he's not aware this is a 'hillfort'. But then perhaps that is not so surprising....
3rd January 2012ce
Edited 3rd January 2012ce

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