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Little Doward



Though this is still England, you can forgive anyone for thinking it's Wales. In fact, this is border country. Little Doward rises high above the river Wye, just south of Goodrich Castle and Simonds Yat, which are better known places. Little Doward, however, is the one connected to Vortigern and the Dark Ages.

This hillfort above Ganarew is the foremost candidate for the elusive 'Caer Guorthegirn' (City or Fortress of Vortigern) is . Vortigern, on the run from St Germanus, fled into Wales to one of his strongholds. We know several of them, ranging from Gwynedd in the north, Dyfed in the west to this one, high above a loop of the river Wye. 'Nennius' describes it as being located in the region of Gueneri or Guenessi is probably Gwent, but the actual location is far from clear. 'Gueneri' can very well be equated with Ganarew (below).

The hillfort, which lies just to the east of the A 40 (T) a few miles north of Monmouth, is hardly accessible today. No paths lead to the summit of the hill, which is heavily wooded anyway. The OS Landranger map does show a fort, but it is very overgrown and spooky. One has a very nice view from the fort of the Wye and the surrounding countryside though.

A good view of the hill for those too daunted to attempt a visit is from the little hamlet of Ganarew, especially from the church (which is unfortunately closed most of the time). But one should take care, for leaving or rejoining the A40 can be quite hazardous due to heavy traffic.
Vortigern Posted by Vortigern
20th June 2001ce

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