Caerau Roman Fort
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HistoryAbout AD 75 the Romans built a fort halfway between larger forts at Llandovery and Castell Collen. The fort was rectangular in shape, about 170 metres by 110 metres, oriented north-east to south-west and enclosing an area of about 4.75 acres (1.9 hectares). The size suggests that the fort was bult to hold a mixed regiment of cavalry and infantry numbering around 500 men. The fort continued in use until well into the 2nd century, and was finally abandoned some time after AD 120, early in the reign of Hadrian.
The initial defences were built of turf and clay, atop cobble foundations, with a pair od ditches. The 2 ditches were later filled in and replaced with a single ditch. The first buildings were of timber, but we know that a stone granary was built in a second phase of construction.
The Romans carefully chose the location to take advantage of the terrain. The fort stands on the top of an isolated ridge looking over the Carnarch river. Archaeological investigation has found evidence of a courtyard building in one corner of the site. There is also evidence of a small civilian settlement to the north-west of the fort, where pottery, tile, and brick were discovered. One piece of pottery was inscribed with the name DOCI (perhaps Docilis, or Doccius) an important potter who also worked at Wroxeter.
The fort may have been reduced in size at some point, to about 115 metres square, with a sharp scarp cutting through the site. This scarp, with a gate roughly halfway along its length, suggests that the fort changed in use and held fewer men, perhaps solely infantry, who would not need the space used by the cavalry's horses.
There are obvious gateways in the north-west and north-east walls. The south-west defensive ditches are partly obscured by a later Norman motte known as Twdin.
Ploughing has gradually reduced the height of the earthwork defences, which measure about 4-5 feet high.
The fort is immediately beside the Roman road between Cefn Glancamddwr and the A483 just outside Beulah. There is a footpath from the Roman road heading directly through a cluster of buildings at Caerau and immediately south of the fort.
On the opposite side of the river lie a pair of Roman military practice works, and just 400 metes to the north-west stands a temporary marching camp.
Don't confuse the Roman fort with Caerau Iron age hillfort near Cardiff!
About Caerau Roman Fort
Address: Beulah, Powys, Wales
Attraction Type: Roman Site
Location: On the Roman road just south east of Beulah, A483
OS: SN922 501
Photo Credit: Richard Webb, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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