Tre'r Ceiri Iron Age Hillfort, Roman Sites Llanaelhaearn, Gwynedd - Wales where to go, what to see and where to stay in Wales


Llyn Peninsula Llanaelhaearn Gwynedd Wales
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Tre'r Ceiri is an iron age hill fort found on the mountain known as Yr Eifl, English:The Rivals, on the Llyn Peninsula, West Wales. Although relatively unknown Tre'r Ceiri is regarded by many as the finest hill fort in Wales if not the whole of Europe. Its period of occupation is estimated between 1000 BC to Roman times. | Some say the name means "town of the giants", from cewri, plural of cawr, giant. Others, including my wife, Eira Wyn, says it means “town of the forts” which is based on the Roman word “Caer”. So who am I to argue ...”town of the forts” it is! | Tre’r Ceiri occupies a steeply-sloping site whose summit is occupied by a substantial Early Bronze Age burial cairn, clearly preserved and respected within the later hillfort. (which is more than can be said for 21st Century Welsh graves, where local councils topple the gravestones on grounds of “health and safety”. But I digress. | The main hillfort is enclosed by a formidable single rampart which still stands up to 3.5m high in places. Where nearly intact, the top of the rampart still has its parapet walk reached via a number of sloping ramps from the interior. This wall is broken by two main gateways, both of which funnelled visitors through narrow, restrictive passages, as well as three ‘posterns’ or minor gateways, one of which at least was designed to allow inhabitants out down a narrow mountain path to gather water from a spring. | Beyond the main hillfort is a second partial outer wall, reinforcing more vulnerable approaches on the north and west sides. This too is broken by an outer gateway which overlies an earlier approach track to the hillfort, probably indicating that this outer defence was a secondary work. The interior is filled with some 150 round stone huts many with walls still over 1m high. Some of the huts are 8m across, others less than 3m. Several of the large ones have been subdivided. | Excavations have revealed that the site was certainly occupied during Roman times but this was probably a reoccupation of an older site. | Access to the hill fort is from the B4417 between Llanaelhaearn and Nefyn. Parking space is severely limited and the road is narrow. Path up the hill is obvious but be aware the hillside is covered with loose scree.
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