From here the much bigger hills of Moel y Parc and Penycloddiau
become visible to the south, setting the scene for the walk ahead. I scoot off-Path temporarily to have a look at the barrows on the hilltop, but they're over fences and not much more than low, grassy mounds, so I don't make too much effort and we're soon back on our way.
Once we hit the 300m mark, the climb becomes less steep and it's a steady climb up to the northern ramparts of the fort, via a couple of false crests. Green grass gives way to purple heather as we approach. The multiple lines of defence are immediately apparent, in what would have been a pretty off-putting sight to any would-be attackers. One of the ditches is deep and sufficiently intact to be filled with a scummy green "moat" (presumably not an original feature?).
Having crossed four lines of defensive banks, we emerge into the fort interior, where a rather immaculate cairn greets us. I assume (mistakenly) that it's modern as it's not marked on the map, but a post-trip check of Coflein reveals it to be a genuine, albeit heavily restored, Bronze Age cairn. It marks the highest point of the fort, at around 440m above sea level.
The wind here is pretty fierce, making for a fairly inhospitable stop and we don't hang around very long before electing to take the eastern rampart of the fort. I have the usual delusions of doing a complete circuit, but this is a big fort! From its northern end, the eastern rampart sets off in an impressive triple-line of banks, with a sharp drop away to the east beyond (the drop on the west side of the fort is much steeper though). Moel Famau, highest point in the Clwydian Range, looms into view to the south, but we won't be getting near that today.
The rampart steadily drops away from the northern end of the fort and just before the halfway point the triple banks end, presumably at what would have been an entrance. South of here the rampart drops further and is marked by a single (still impressive) rampart. The nearest neighbouring fort, Moel Arthur
, is now in sight, its height comparable with our own. We eventually reach the southern end of the fort, and walk a little way along the (very windy) western rampart before rejoining The Path as it starts its descent from the hill.
The further we drop, the steeper the climb up Moel Arthur starts to look. By the time we get to the parking area between the two hills, it's clear that there will be a pretty sharp uphill to come, and so it proves. But it's the last climb of the day and the ground levels out a little before it reaches the fort. A track leads off The Path to the fort itself, at which point G/F decides to stop while I go for an explore.
This is a lovely fort, roughly circular and surrounded by multiple lines of banks and ditches in the style that characterises these Clwydian forts. Once into the fort's interior, the views open out on all sides, taking in Moel Famau to the south, Penycloddiau
to the north and the extensive vale of Clwyd to the west. At its highest point (456m) the fort is higher than its northern neighbour. A quick tour of the concentric heather-clad ramparts reveals a very steep drop away to the south, making this small, compact fort a much more defensible proposition than the much larger site to the north. Unlike its neighbour though, there's no obvious water supply within the fort itself – perhaps the North Walian rain provided enough!