The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Black Cliff



Subsumed within trees at the northern apex of Black Cliff, overlooking the sinuous River Wye (Afon Gwy) to the approx north of Chepstow - not that I could see the river, but there you are - this is a fine example of an inland 'promontory fort', rendered all the more special by being 'hidden in plain sight'... always the most effective camouflage, I find.

Such is the (sublime) topography here that the original inhabitants were able to concentrate the vast majority of their effort upon erecting a substantial 'cross bank' isolating the neck of the promontory to the southwest. Little more, save (apparently) some scarping of the natural slopes, was required elsewhere to create a first-class fortified enclosure. And to recall those Victorian mugs once tried to con society into believing our ancestors were 'rude savages' dragged kicking and screaming to civilisation by them damn Romans. Yeah, right. Not buying that.

I approached starting from an unclassified public track (those green dots upon the OS 1:25K map) veering off from the Penterry Farm access road, crossing open fields to ascend from the north-east. It was well worth the effort. Yeah, Chepstow may be justly famous for William FitzOsbern's magnificent Norman castle - or the Racecourse, should one happen to be a mug punter with a thing for the gee-gees - but clearly, there is much more of interest for the more discerning Citizens Cairn in the immediate locale... most obviously at Gaer Hill, just a mile to the southwest.
26th February 2022ce
Edited 27th February 2022ce

Comments (3)

Nice, I liked it here. Your visit is almost exactly two years after mine. Good time of the year to visit wooded forts, I went to one yesterday! thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
27th February 2022ce
Yeah, very impressed. Combined a visit with Gaer Hill which was a bit confusing until I checked out the ground plan online. GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
27th February 2022ce
Yes, I did the same. I'd been to Gaer Hill a decade earlier and I agree, it really is a confusing site until you've seen the layout plan. Great views across the Hafren from there.

At some point I'd like to walk up the Wye valley from sea to source, it's a river I know bits of very well in Herefordshire but not in Wales.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
27th February 2022ce
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