Gaer Fawr Camp, Llangwm

Iron Age Hillfort

Gaer Fawr Camp is an Iron Age hillfort located on the top of a hill with panoramic views in all directions. It has a roughly oval shape, oriented roughly north-south, and measures 462m by 161m. The fort is defined by a series of banks, ditches, and scarps, with the most massive banks located at the southern end.

The outer defences on the northern end are defined by a large, steep bank that is 4-5m high on the outside and 1.6m high on the inside. The bank curves around on the western side to become a 4m high scarp, and on the eastern side, there is a 2-2.5m high scarp. The ground drops steeply on the northern and western sides, and there is an outer scarp on the western side that is around 5m high, below which is a field wall, beyond which the ground drops steeply. However, the central section of the outer defences on the western side has been disturbed by the construction of a house, though the defensive bank continues for around 80m beyond the house. There is a 50m wide gap in the defences corresponding with the entrance through the inner defences, before they curve around to the east and peter out. On the eastern side, the outer defences are less massive and less well-preserved, surviving as low banks along the line of field boundaries.

The inner defences encircle the highest point of the hill and enclose an area measuring 281m north-south by roughly 120m east-west, although they are not visible as standing earthworks on the eastern side. At the northern end, there is a roughly triangular area of flat ground that separates the outer and inner defences. The inner bank is roughly 4m high on the outside and 1.5-2m high on the inside. There is a corrugated tin structure, possibly an air-raid shelter, built into the outer side of the bank on the northern side. The bank is slightly interned on the eastern side, possibly corresponding with an entrance. The bank then curves around to the west before petering out where a track crosses east-west across the hillfort. Beyond the track, the rampart survives as a scarp with a steep drop on the western side. Around 2/3rds of the way down the western side, the rampart rises to around 3m high on the outside and 1m high on the inside, towards the location of a probable entrance that was infilled in the 20th century. Beyond the entrance, the rampart rises to around 9m high on the outside and 4m high on the inside, curving around to the south. At the southeast corner, the rampart stops abruptly, where it has been truncated by a farm track. Between the inner and outer ramparts on the south and west sides is a ditch that has been reused in the post-medieval period as a trackway linking the several houses that were built along the line of the ramparts.

In the southern half of the inner enclosure, there is a low oval mound that has been truncated by the track running east-west across the interior of the hillfort. The mound is around 25m long and 1.5m high, with a flat top and large quantities of stone visible beneath the surface. Geophysical survey has suggested that this could be a burial monument, with large flanking ditches along both lateral edges. Additionally, geophysical survey has revealed the presence of a possible square structure on the summit of the hill, and possible roundhouses close to the inside edge of the southern inner rampart.

Sites near Gaer Fawr Camp, Llangwm