Forden Gaer Roman Fort
Forden Gaer Roman Fort
A Roman fort, also called Levobrinta. Along the valley of the Sabrina into the Welsh mountains, Levobrinta stands at the conflux of the Sabrina and the river Rhiw, flowing from the hills of Dyfnant Forest.
The first fort here was built in the mid 1st century AD, but this was later remodelled twice, in the 3rd and later, the 4th century. The ramparts can be seen from the road, but time and sod has softened the contours of the walls.

History

The Roman road between Woxeter and Caersws crosses the River Severn just north of Montgomery, at a place called Rhydywhyman, later known as 'The Ford of Montgomery'. The Romans built a fort to guard the crossing, mentioned as Lavrobrinta in the Ravenna Cosmography, a list of world place names compiled by a 7th century monk. The fort was probably established around AD 75, though it is possible that this fort was merely a rebuilding of a very early Roman site.

The original defences were of earthen banks, and later a revetment of clay strengthened with timber was added. The fort was about 500 feet by 460 feet, enclosing an area of just over 5 acres. There are three defensive ditches on all sides, with gateways on the NNE and SSW walls. Along the road leading from the north eat gate there is evidence of a civilian settlement, or vicus. Foundations of a large enclosed area beside the road may indicate a temple precinct. East of the fort is what may be an amphitheatre, though remains are scanty.

The site was either abandoned or destroyed by an attacker around AD 296. It was reoccupied from AD 343. Excavations show a burnt layer a decade later (AD 35-360) and another reoccupation in 383.

The layout of the fort can quite easily be made out on the ground; earthen banks still stand as high as 6 feet in places. Finds from excavations at Forden Gaer are on display at the Powysland Museum in Welshpool.

Getting There

The fort is immediately beside the minor road leading from Caerhowel Hall to The Gaer. From Montgomery take the B4388 north towards Forden and turn left at the minor road to Hendomen. Turn left in Hendomen then immediately right and carry on over the railway track. Turn right at the T-junction, and the fort is 100 yards ahead on your left (the west side of the road).

Images are copyight as noted, republished with gratitude under a Creative Commons license

Forden Gaer fort, is just a low rise in the landscape from this angle (c) Penny Mayes
Forden Gaer fort, is just a low rise in the landscape
from this angle (c) Penny Mayes
The fort was built to guard Rhydwhyman Ford, seen here (c) John Firth
The fort was built to guard Rhydwhyman Ford,
seen here (c) John Firth