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Caer Drewyn

Hillfort

<b>Caer Drewyn</b>Posted by thesweetcheatImage © A. Brookes (12.5.2012)
Nearest Town:Llangollen (14km E)
OS Ref (GB):   SJ087444 / Sheet: 125
Latitude:52° 59' 19.52" N
Longitude:   3° 21' 36.93" W

Added by Rhiannon


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Fieldnotes

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One of the last great North Walean hillforts on my list of must see's, and what a cracker it is.
I parked on the B5437 and made my own unguided way up, on my way up I tried to see if I could see Owain Glyndwrs mount down the river a couple of miles but it was out of view, but I did see a load of rabbits, more than seems reasonable, especially with three Buzzards circling constantly overhead.
The hillfort is close to the road but it's a steep climb from there, when I eventually huffed and puffed my way to the top I was at the south east corner of the fort, the best preserved part of the wall, its stone spread is now more like a really really long cairn, indeed as I walked round I unconsiously kept looking for cists, only to immediately remember where I was.
Coflein says this is a multi phase hilltop site, starting with a small fort at the top, which was later incorperated into what we see now, which goes some way to explain the weird rectangular annexe on the north east corner. Here the walls are truly massive, so much so that the obligatory giant was drafted in to explain the mighty work.
The grand entance is at the eastern end, but it hasnt fared well over the last two millenia, at least two other smaller entrances are at the east and west.
postman Posted by postman
13th April 2011ce
Edited 13th April 2011ce

Folklore

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Drewyn Gawr made Caer Drewyn in Deyrnion, the other side of the river from Corwen. And to his sweetheart he made that Caer, to milk her cows within it.
From 'The Giants of Wales and their Dwellings' by Sion Dafydd Rhys, c.1600. Gawr = a giant (because you'd need to be a giant to build something like Caer Drewyn. Maybe they were even giant cows?). The 1917 translation by Hugh Owen is at the Celtic Literature Collective here:
http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/giants_wales.html
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th June 2011ce
Edited 12th June 2011ce

Near the summit of a hill.. called Cefyn Creini, The Mountain of Worship, there is a vast circle of loose stones, which bears the appearance of having once been a British fortification. This is called Caer Drewyn and Y Caer Wen, The White Fort. It is near half a mile in circumference, but the walls are at present in such a state, that at a distance they appear like huge heaps of stones piled round the circumference of a circle.

Owen Gwynedd is believed to have occupied this post while Henry II had his men encamped among the Berwyn mountains, on the opposite side of the vale. It is also related that Owen Glyndwr made use of this place in his occasional retreats.
p39 in 'Excursions in North Wales' by William Bingley (1839 ed.)

This hillfort with its huge stone walls would have overseen the important routeway of the Avon Dyfrdwy (the Dee). Owain Glyndwr was apparently born and lived in the valley below - it's said to be the place where he gathered his army.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th October 2007ce
Edited 12th June 2011ce

Miscellaneous

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That's my reconstruction of the fort (done in 1992 at Swindon College) on the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust webpage.

http://www.geocities.com/illustration_fr/CaerDrewinHillfortCorwenNEWales.html
licornenoire Posted by licornenoire
6th February 2007ce

Links

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Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust


Aerial photo, artist's reconstruction, information and access details.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th November 2003ce