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4. CRAIG Y DINAS, DYFFRYN ARDUDWY
SH624230

This isolated rocky summit, at an altitude of 350m (1150ft) is a natural focus for this wide upland valley. It is occupied by a small fort of about 0.2ha (0.5acre), which has central and commanding views over the valley. It has some naturally defensible crags, added to by a single massive wall about 2m thick, now mostly collapsed. Some areas of original outer facing can be seen at the south side. The remains of the wall are also partly obscured by a modern wall on the same line. The entrance to the fort is on the south-east side and was approached by a track running diagonally up the slope. The wall is wider (and so was probably higher) at this point and turned outwards to create a strong point on one side of the approach corridor. The approach from the gentler slope at the north side of the fort is made more difficult by the provision of two extra lines of stony banks or walls. There are no traces of houses within the fort but there is a small settlement of five round houses only 100m away to the east on low ground outside the fort, and there are remains of other round houses around the valley and within the better agricultural land on the slopes to the west. The lack of houses within the fort means it was probably created as a place of refuge and perhaps as a communal meeting place, rather than as a permanent settlement or as the centre of authority of a chief. There have been no excavations or chance finds from the fort to suggest a date for it but a date in the middle of the first millennium is likely. The next nearest defended site lies about 3km away to the south-west at Pen-y-dinas, and is a larger and rather different style of fort, probably of a later date and perhaps replacing Craig-y-dinas.

From the A496 coast road just south of Dyffryn Ardudwy turn east up the road to Cors-y-gedol. Follow this road to its end, where there is a small private car park where a small fee is payable. From here walk east up the track that is a continuation of the road towards the hills until a broad upland valley is reached. In the centre of the valley will be clearly seen a distinct rocky knoll on which is the fort. This is Access land. Follow a path across the moorland, which may be very wet in parts.

Distance: Round-trip 6km (4 miles)
Difficulty: Easy with some rough and wet ground
Time: about 2 hours

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