Fortlet and Iron Age Hillfort

Coed-y-Caerau is a hillfort site which has been reused by the Roman military. There are three co-joined earthwork enclosures at Coed-y-Caerau which is also known as Pen-toppen-ash. It is located on the hills overlooking Caerleon from the other side of the River Usk along the summit crest of a steep ridge.

  • The south-western enclosure is roughly oval, about 84-94m in diameter, defined by a single bank, with an apparent inturned entrance, having traces of an outer circuit on the south and south-west.
  • The central enclosure is sub-circular, about 74-80m in diameter, defined by what appears to be a partially spiralling bank, within a roughly concentric outer embanked enclosure, that springs from the south-west enclosure circuit, about 136-142m in diameter, counterscarped on the north-west and having inturned entrances on the south-east and north-east.
  • The north-eastern enclosure is was thought to be a Roman fortlet or watch tower, the basis of its shape and the fact that it has a clear view not only of Caerleon but also of the coast and the mouth of the Usk. However, enclosures of this shape are now known also to be typical of late prehistoric enclosures, so the shape by itself cannot be used as an argument for a Roman military presence. It is rectangular, about 96m north-east to south-west by 108m, and defined by a single bank with rounded angles. An outer, roughly concentric circuit, generally 166m square, appears to respect the central enclosure.
Sites near Coed-y-Caerau