back to contents map

9. CRAIG YR ADERYN HILLFORT, LLANFIHANGEL Y PENNANT
SH643068

The hill is named after and famous for the birds that nest upon it, particularly the cormorants, which rarely nest inland. These nest on the steep north face so are not disturbed by visitors. The fort occupies the summit at 239m OD (700ft), and has extensive views.

On the south side of the rocky summit is a slightly lower natural shelf and this was fortified in two phases, of an overall internal area of 0.8ha (2 acres). The first phase consisted of two lengths of large bank rampart set at a right angle enclosing a triangular area and making use of the natural cliff for defence on the other side. There was an entrance at the east side through an in-turned gap in the rampart, creating a defensible corridor. Although the ramparts are now much eroded there are traces of original stone facing.

The second phase consisted of the addition of another line of defences enclosing a larger area on the east side, which was most vulnerable to attack. This outer defence was more substantial than the first consisting of a massive stone wall, now collapsed. This was further strengthened by the addition of an outlying wall on the south and two banks on the east. All these created a deeply in-turned entrance corridor, approached up a considerable slope and so an easily defendable feature.

There is a level are behind the inner rampart that would be suitable for occupation but there is no evidence of huts there. However, in 1921 two possible platforms were visible in the south-east corner. Also, in the 19th century a local antiquary, W. Wynne Foulkes, excavated a ‘cist’ or hut at the fort. He found some Romano-British pottery, a perforated lead weight and a curved piece of lead, possibly part of an armlet.

The overall difficulty of access to the fort suggests that it was used as a refuge rather than a permanent settlement. Nevertheless the fort was constructed on a large scale and over more than one period. Despite the dramatic elevated position the actual altitude is not too great, and there are other forts at greater altitude that certainly contained settlements.

This fort lies on a small but spectacular hill overlooking the valley of the Afon Dysynni, 5km NE of Bryn Crug and 3km W of Abergynolwyn. Approached either from the A467 N of Corris or from the A493 coast road, N of Tywyn. There is a small car park by the roadside at the foot of the hill. Although the face of the hill is a sheer cliff, don’t be put off, there is a relatively easy route around the back of the hill. The path is signed from the footpath along a farm track, then after about 500m the path diverges (unsigned) to the right more steeply up the hill away from the farm track and over Access land.

Distance: Return trip 4km (2.5 miles)
Difficulty: Medium. Steep climb but short and good path.
Time: 1.5 hours

back to contents map