Visited 28 August 2010. A week after the misty trek across the Radnor Forest peaks, a day trip in the eastern Brecon Beacons was a much sunnier and hotter affair.
The walk up here from Talybont-on-Usk proves to be a tiring one, with the sun beating down on the back of my neck as I take the broad and grassy bridleway leading up from the blue waters of the Talybont Reservoir. It's a steep and steady climb up to the first of the two forts, slightly below the 400m OD mark. It's worth pausing occasionally to look at the view back across the reservoir, to see the slopes of Tor-y-Foel rising beyond. As height is gained, the Black Mountains appear over to the ENE, from Mynydd Troed at the north to Pen Cerrig-Calch further south. Ahead, the bulk of Waun Rydd fills the head of the Nant Tarthwynni valley.
The eastern fort is the larger and better preserved of the two. Unfortunately, the majority of the site is now covered by the forest to the south, and the thick vegetation of August does not encourage further investigation. In truth, I am very hot and out of breath by the time I get here and grateful for the shade of the tree line. The northern curve of the low rampart is readily visible, but not particularly impressive of itself. But the positioning, with the marvellous views, makes a visit a worthwhile experience.
The western fort is even less impressive, but the additional height (now just above the 400m contour) adds to the views further, particularly up to Waun Rydd.
From here I continue on up the hill, intent on a visit to the three Talybont peaks: Allt Lwyd, Waun Rydd and Bwlch y Ddwyallt. Carn Pica will be a bonus site on the return journey.
There are two denuded Iron Age hillforts perched within woodland upon the eastern flank of Allt Lwyd. According to Coflein:
NANT TARTHWYNI [WEST ENCLOSURE] - SO08941944:
'The subrectangular hillslope enclosure at Nant Tarthwyni west measures about 63m by 55m. It is defined by vestiges of a bank and ditch, with an entry facing downslope (to the east). A second enclosure lies 60m to the east.'
NANT TARTHWYNI [EAST ENCLOSURE] - SO09111951:
'An oval hillslope enclosure, about 75m in diameter, defined by the vestiges of a bank and ditch with an east-facing, downslope entrance, having a roughly concentric bank and ditch about its southern perimeter'.
Perhaps not worth a specific visit for archaeology alone, but the landscape, my friends, the landscape! Combine with a visit to Carn Pica and enjoy some serious mountain views, too.