After negotiating the best access to it with a lascivious farmer who was fixing a large agricultural implement. . . we were allowed "over the gate into the field where that sheep is lying, there." After tramping across one field, we reached the gate, and instantly discovered that the sheep shared their field with at least 15 very inquisitive bullocks. . .
The hill fort [is] quite small, with a good proportion of earthwork still visible, but it was hard to appreciate how big it had originally been, as the farmer had told us part of it had been bulldozed in the '50's. Splendid. Not.
What was dramatic, however, was its southern side. This was an incredibly steep drop into a deep little gorge, which is presently filled with oak-based deciduous woodland. It was an ideal spot from which to observe the surrounding area, and if necessary, repel invaders. Now, it was an ideal spot just to stand still, look at the flowers, and listen to the concert of rich bird song. I could hear all the usual songbirds, and remained there mesmerised as the others headed back over the field. Just as well I did, as I was lucky enough to see my first Goldcrest, albeit fleetingly. Wicked!
I returned to the gate, to find everyone the other side, and a dense wall of Welsh beef between me and them. To find out how I got back to write this fieldnote, check out the weblog . . .
Massive ditches and ramparts enclosed a small interior centre, but a quarter of the earthwork had apparently been ploughed up in the 1950s so its sense of enclosing anything at all was now lost. I liked this place a lot.
As its on private land, ask the farmer before you enter, as you might disturb his bullocks.
Castell Pen-yr-Allt is the site of a Medieval castle, but there's a strong possibility that the hill was also used during the Iron Age as a fort. I've not visited the it, so I've no idea what's visible on the ground.
Yesterday I had a look through the Cadw records for Castell Pen-yr-Allt, held at the National Monuments Record of Wales. In the paperwork I looked at there was no reference to an Iron Age settlement on the site of the castle. It looks like Cadw have yet to be pursuaded of a prehistoric connection.
That's not to say that there wasn't a prehistoric settlement though. My research was incredibly rushed and superficial (I visited during my lunch hour) so there's plenty of other material to be sifted through. Just a quick look at the catalogue shows that Cambria Archaeology and the RCAHMW both associate the site with the Iron Age.