A mere seven hours after coming back from Scotland and my son and I were on the road again, a promise is a promise and we do like a good hillfort. We parked beneath the northern slopes and started up the path. There were a lot of small paths criss crossing all over the place but eventually we found the southern rampart which is about 5-6 ft tall. We followed it along till it turned east and was really surprised to find the scrub free massive entrance, there are a lot of hillforts in N.Wales but this was the most impressive entrance of them all so far, at least 10ft tall, I wondered how I managed to avoid it on the way up. With three lots of ramparts I was really taken with the place .
Slightly to the east of the entrance is more defences, of the natural variety, a very deep gorge that just dissapears into blackness, a wooden bridge crosses it .
This part of wales is crammed with hillforts,they are nearly all intervisible and i would deerly love to know more about them, who built em who lived there which were more important than others
In all likelihood, this fort on its isolated hill dates to the Iron Age. 'Cawr' indicates it belonged to a Giant. In its side is a curious gash, 10ft - 15ft wide, 22ft deep, and 900ft long, according to Coflein's record.
The only relic of antiquity of much interest hereabouts is the Roman mine, a deep trench cut right through the hill, instead of a shaft being made, as in more recent times. This mine is on the side of Castell Cawr, a raised modern pathway having been formed across it. The ancient trench is, in some parts, of amazing depth. It is, or was, called by the Welsh, Ffos-y-bleiddiaid, or the ditch of the wolves. According to a local guidebook, -- "In driving a level into the mountain, some years ago, the miners discovered that the Romans had been deep in the bowels of the earth before them. They had followed the vein, where it was large enough to admit of a small man, and where it opened out into a larger chamber, they had cleared it quite away. When the vein became too small to admit a man, they were obliged to relinquish the ore. Some curious hammers and tools, but almost decayed into dust, were found in these chambers; also the golden hilt of a Roman sword."
Well who knows. Coflein concedes it might be a Roman lead mine. The Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust say "Ffos-y-Bleiddiaid is a natural limestone fissure that crosses the north and coastal side of the hillfort of Castell Cawr. Locally known either as the Fosse of Wolves or the Roman Fosse (Ffos-y-Rhufeiniaid) since it has been claimed that Roman hammers and tools together with the hilt of a Roman sword had been found in the vicinity. The evidence of Roman workings, dating from 19th-century writings remains unsubstantiated."
The strange feature would be food for the imagination, whether natural, ancient, or more recently worked, I guess.
quote from p50 of 'Notes of Family Excursions in North Wales', by J. O. Halliwell, 1860. Online at Google Books.