The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record

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Gaer Fawr

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 01131g
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Community : Llangwm
Unitary authority : Monmouthshire
NGR : ST44149881
Site Type (preferred type first) : Iron Age Hillfort
Status : Scheduled Monument

Summary :
An overall summary is that the hillfort utilizes a spur whose steep sides form a natural defence on the north, west and east sides. The easiest approach is from the south where strong ramparts cut across the neck of the spur.

Description :
An overall summary is that the hillfort utilizes a spur whose steep sides form a natural defence on the north, west and east sides. The easiest approach is from the south where strong ramparts cut across the neck of the spur. The south and west sides of the hillfort consist of triple ramparts and there is a fragmentary double rampart along the east side. In the north a sub-triangular annexe is formed by a wide interspaced between the inner and the outer banks. The earthwork is largely under pasture and is in poor condition. There are no traces of interior habitation and the original entrance could not be identified. Ploughing, and the erection of modern boundary fences has caused severe mutilation.
A description of the hillfort is as follows: The earthwork is situated on a hilltop with panoramic views in all directions. A long oval shape running north-south, a number of houses are built around its edges, with the gardens encroaching onto the fort. The enclosure is also crossed by old farm tracks and paths, and divided further into fields of mainly pasture, with an old orchard at the north end and other areas containing mature trees. The forts defences consist a series of banks, ditches and scarps, the most massive of these being at the south end.
The north defence is a large, steep-sided, and tree covered bank 4-5m high (outside) and 1.6m high (inside). It curves to the west side becoming a 4m high scarp. On the east side it stops, leaving a wide gap, before continuing once again as a 2-2.5m high scarp. Outside of this bank at the north end the ground slopes gradually away northwards. On the west side is a steep, and tree-covered 5m high outer scarp. Below this is a field wall, before the ground slopes away steeply. The scarp resumes again on the east side becoming c. 4m high, with an internal height of c 0.7m. Just north of where the footpath crosses the scarp, there is a gap in the bank. This scarp continues, at a height of 2-2.5m, along the east side, with a road and then a steep drop below it. north of the track running west-west, at the north end of the fort, there is a long, low, flat-topped mound c 1-1.5m high; grass covered and with trees growing at its north end, it appears to have been truncated by the track.
Towards the middle section of the west side is an interruption, at the north end, by a track and a house and associated garden. Below the fort the ground slopes steeply away. The line of the inner scarp at the north end continues with c 2m high tree covered scarp, towards the south end this then becomes a bank with an interior height of c 7.0m Below this scarp is a wide berm and then a further scarp of between 1.5 and 1.8m high, this with a faint ditch below. A gently sloping ditch, of a c 3m width and with banks of c 1.3m in height at either side, runs in an west northwest - east southeast direction below the southern end of the above scarp. This ditch, however stops before the edge of the field, and after a gap high, steep-sided banks begin. The wooded steep-sided inner bank (1.8m high inside, 4-5m high outside) has been worn bare in places on the outer side, exposing stone. The ditch below this is 5m wide and rather flat - now used as a farm track, for this reason it is muddy, with many exposed stones. Outside this is a low bank of 1.3m high, also stony and with trees growing on it. After a further flat stretch is another bank 1.5m high, steep-sided on the inside and gently sloping on the outside. The farm track cuts through these outer banks at the southwest corner.
Along the south side, the inner bank continues (2.2-2.5m high inside and 4-5m high outside) with a flat bottomed ditch 4m wide and a bank of 1.6m high. The bank becomes higher towards the east, where it is 3m high, but the outer height decrease to nothing towards this end, where a private garden also encroaches the outer bank - the area has been cleared and mown regularly by the occupant. Both banks stop at the east end, where a farm track crosses them, Beyond the track is only a low scarp on the line of the outer bank and this has also been encroached upon by a garden.
The interior part from the low mound in the north appears featureless. A field visit has concluded that this is still an important monument with massive upstanding earthworks, however its multi-owner status has unfortunately helped fragment its management, due to the different land uses. This issue should be considered in any future work with this monument.(Wiggins 2006)

Sources :
Crawford, J. , 2012 , Gaer Fawr Hillfort, Llangwm, Monmouthshire: WB
Wiggins, H , 2006 , Prehistoric defended enclosures in Gwent ( © GGAT)
01/Desc Text/Cadw/Revised Entry to the Schedule of Monuments/2006/Copy in further information file.

Events :
E001509 : Field visit to Gaer Fawr (year : )
E001550 : Prehistoric defended enclosures Gwent (year : 2006)
E004520 : Gaer Fawr Hillfort, Llangwm, Monmouthshire WB (year : 2012)

Related PRNs : 300081

Compiled date : 02-05-1988

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