I parked the car to the north of the fort, right next to a footpath that seemed to go in the right direction, I could see the hill with the fort on top from the car so off I went.
I've got to say this end of the footpath was just about the weirdest ive ever been on. It weaved between two houses, fences either side of me, the path was maybe two feet wide, I had to duck under a leaning fence. Then a river blocked the way, the path along its side was less than two feet wide. But now i'm on a track that goes up the side of the hill. Up I go.
Past a house or two, the track is now a muddy footpath and forks in two, the fort is up the left path, so of course I go up the right hand one. It took me up to the Eyarth rocks nature preserve, a very nice place with wondrous views east to the Clwydian range of hills, brimming with iron age forts. Also, limestone paving can be found here, rare for this part of Britain, but no hill fort, I've convinced myself that some vague linear bumps are all that's left of this fort. So I photograph them, without enthusiasm, and start the walk back. As im passing under the cliffs to my right, I realise my blunder, and decide to take the other left hand fork to see if it's up there.
It was only a short walk from the path forking before I found the first sign of any earthworks.
The disappointment I felt at Pen y Gaer now swung proportionally in the other direction, these were large earthworks.
I scrambled up the bank and found it to be at least eight feet tall, and found myself near the northern terminus of the high bank. Right at the end of the bank it falls dramatically away over some cliffs. Cliffs play a large part of this fort, the western end of the fort has no defences, just vertical cliffs. The interior of the fort is split in two, by cliffs, a higher and lower fort, Brucie would love it here.
So I head east on the high and wide northern bank, interesting features abound here, two entrances, one large the other much smaller. The bank is so wide that structures have been made in them , whether they are original I much doubt.
There is no ditch, or if there was it is now all filled in. So I keep walking.
The vegetation is thick in places and I have to fight through brush to follow the high bank, now in placers it must be ten feet high. Views now and again open out, I can see my car down on the road, Pen y Gaer looking useless and unloved up on its windy hilltop, and out east to the hills and forts, and right below me limestone paving, just like in Yorkshire, but not as extensive. I note that the high bank i'm traversing, sometimes being more like a high mountain ridge, is made up of smashed limestone blocks, wonder where that came from.
By now i'm at the southern end of the fort, here it takes on a more usual form, there's three banks here, the high one and two lower banks. Moving on, I come to the northern terminus of the bank, again, here it goes right up to the edge of the cliffs. But right at the end the bank separates from the whole, and finshes off with a cairn like structure, it even has a small capstone in it. But it is surely just the end of the defensive bank.
Walking back, I'm now in the fort with the bare rocky cliffs to my left and more cliffs to my right, that seperate the higher and lower part of the fort. This has been a really good one, sure in places the undergrowth obscures what were here to see, but, what is left is a minor wonder to behold, I circuited the whole fort with hushed tones and held breath. Smashing place.
Unfortunately the whole day was marred horribly by my sciatic leg, now so bad that an MRI scan has prompted a trip to see a neurosurgeon next week. Aaaargh! when driving.
Shown on the OS as a "fort", but described by Coflein as a defended enclosure:
A complex enclosure, about 154m north-south by 94m, set on a west facing slope, defined on the west, and sub-divided internally by a series of north-south cliff-lines, resulting in two distinct enclosures, both are defined by simple banks, doubled about the southern end of the eastern, upper enclosure, each having north-facing entrances.