Cymraeg / English
Beacon Ring hillfort
In July 2008 the Trust acquired the magnificent Beacon Ring hillfort which crowns Long Mountain in eastern Montgomeryshire. The main aim of this new venture is to ensure the preservation and long-term management of the site and its environs for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. The interior of the hillfort is currently densely wooded. Now that these trees are reaching maturity it is hoped to find a way of returning the interior of the site to upland meadow, just as it was before the early 1950s.
Little appears to be known about the hillfort – not even the origin of its name. But with extensive views far across mid Wales and Shropshire it would certainly have been a good site for a beacon. Its Welsh name – Caer Digoll (‘Digoll camp’) – comes from Cefn Digoll (‘unbroken ridge’) the Welsh name for Long Mountain. The site has not been excavated, but like the well-known local hillforts at the Breiddin and Ffridd Faldwyn, it was no-doubt first built and occupied at some time in the period between the later Bronze Age and the early Iron Age – after 1000 BC and before the arrival of the Romans in about AD 50.
The hillfort lies close to the ancient border between England and Wales and appears in a number of early myths and legends. One of the earliest of these is in the 9th- or 10th-century saga known as Canu Llywarch Hen (‘The song of Llywarch the Old’), in a passage about hostilities in the 7th century between the British prince Cadwallon and Edwin, the Anglo-Saxon, king of Northumbria. Beacon Ring is described, somewhat poetically, as the lluest or camp of Cadwallon where he stayed for seven months, carrying out seven skirmishes daily.
In the longer term the site will become the focus of a wide range of educational activites to be sponsored by the Trust. In view of concerns about the damage that tree growth and harvesting might have upon buried archaeological deposits one of the more immediate and pressing concerns is to look at the best way of returning the site to a more sympathetic land use regime. Fortunately, we have already gained the ardent support of Dutch archaeological colleagues from the Ruud van Beek Foundation in addressing these issues. Having been shown round the site on a visit to Wales several years ago they became concerned about the question of the sustainable management of archaeological sites in the countryside and have now commissioned us to carry out a study of the various issues involved in acquiring and managing the site.
In August 2018 we will be carrying out four weeks of excavations at Beacon Ring, funded by Cadw and helped by an army of volunteers and students. Click here to follow our dig diary.
Follow these links for further details
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