back to contents map

5. BYRLLYSG, DYFFRYN ARDUDWY
SH 596241

 

This is an unusual fort in that although strongly defended it is not on a hill top but on an inland promontory between two stream valleys at an altitude of only 120m (400ft). It is approximately circular, 60m in diameter enclosing an area of about 0.25 ha (0.5 acre). In size and location then it is more like an enclosed settlement, but has significant defences. The main line of these consists of a large bank, probably the remains of a faced wall enhance by a steep natural scarp on the end of the promontory. The neck of the promontory, with an easier approach from higher land from the east has the additional defence of a massive bank thrown up from a ditch in front of it. The defences have been robbed and the interior entirely cleared for agricultural use associated with a former farmstead at the south-east side, possibly obscuring the original entrance and track to the fort, which are not visible elsewhere.

The fort is quite is quite similar to that of Pen-y-dinas, Tal-y-bont and both have been suggested to be of medieval date. The name Byrllysg has been interpreted as ‘the Llys or court of Osber’, a historical figure Osbwrn Wyddel who married an heiress of Cors-y-gedol estate, nearby. However, there are so far no finds to support this idea. A recent geophysical survey of the interior by Gwynedd Archaeological Trust did not identify any features in the interior, perhaps because of the agricultural clearance. In style the fort resembles a large version of one of the smaller Iron-Age and Romano-British homesteads that occur on the western slopes of Meirionnydd nearby.

From the A496 coast road just north of the centre of Dyffryn Ardudwy take the minor rod up hill towards Cwm Nantcol. About a kilometre up the road is the entrance to Byrllysg Farm. Park her ten walk along the track, which is also a public path. After a kilometre the path continues past the farmhouse, across the stream and up the hill, passing the fort after about 150m, on the left. The fort is on private land but the owner allows access to monument.

Distance: Round trip 2km (1.5 miles)
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1 hour

back to contents map