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

Caerau Hillfort, Rhiwsaeson



The industrial coastal belt of South Wales continues to intrigue and prove just how misplaced the somewhat prejudiced - nay, elitist - views of this traveller are at times, never more clearly than in the case of this hillfort hidden away from prying eyes above Rhiwsaeson....

A glance at the map shows apparently substantial defences. But how can this be, with Llantrisant and neighbouring settlements encroaching to the north and west and the M4 a little to the south. Surely it must have been destroyed, or at the very least be a local yobs' hangout? The truth is very different.

Heading north out of town beneath a disused viaduct, a 'Road Closed' sign halts any further vehicular progress. So I park here and revert to the Mk1 boot, full waterproofs required to keep out the downpour. Passing Ty-mawr farm on my right, a signpost proclaims the 'Fford y Bryniau' (or 'Ridgeway Walk' to most of the population) heading to the left. My old 1:25 OS map shows the hillfort to the left of the track, or, more accurately, 'exceedingly wet and muddy excuse of a track'. In actual fact, it lies to the right, crowning the high ground behind the obvious wooded hill in the right foreground. But then I wasn't to know that, was I? Serves me right for being a cheapskate and buying ex-library maps, I suppose. Due to this I arrive at the western defences first, initially somewhat underwhelmed, then pleasantly surprised at the bivallate ramparts. Seems there's life in the old 'fort yet.

A couple of locals approach around the perimeter and stop for a chat. Seems that, yes, the hillfort is on private ground but Glynn, the landowner, is a rather nice bloke who's got no issues with access as long as the usual courtesies are followed. Can't say fairer than that, can you? Anyway, carrying on clockwise around the circumferance things get a whole lot better, with not only a fine view of Garth Hill and its round barrows, but a reasonably well preserved, partly tri-vallate section of eastern ramparts to enjoy. There's also what I take to be the original gateway - two very eroded, deeply inverted, close set parallel banks - at the south-east. Hell, I like this place. Water accumulates at several locations within the defences, possibly a handy original feature, certainly of great benefit to the current inhabitants of the enclosure: sheep.
10th April 2010ce
Edited 10th April 2010ce

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