Ancient Monuments

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Cil Ifor Promontory Fort

A Scheduled Monument in Llanrhidian Lower (Llanrhidian Isaf), Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.6097 / 51°36'35"N

Longitude: -4.1593 / 4°9'33"W

OS Eastings: 250577

OS Northings: 192310

OS Grid: SS505923

Mapcode National: GBR GS.ZGZ9

Mapcode Global: VH3MQ.VSHV

Entry Name: Cil Ifor Promontory Fort

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1127

Cadw Legacy ID: GM124

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Promontory Fort - inland

Period: Prehistoric

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Llanrhidian Lower (Llanrhidian Isaf)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument comprises the remains of a hillfort dating to the Iron Age (c. 800 BC – AD 43). The hillfort occupies the summit of an isolated ridge running north-west to south-east which rises to nearly 120m above OD. The site commands an extensive view, particularly over the estuary to the north. The enclosure follows the outline of the ridge and is roughly rectangular with rounded ends, measuring about 320m north-west to south-east by 110m, the area being 2.9ha. A small ringwork inserted at the south-east end measures about 40m east to west by 30m, enclosing nearly 0.1ha.

The defences show no traces of built revetment although they are stony on the north-east and north-west. A narrow section excavated in 1910 near the south corner showed that the inner rampart had been built up to a depth of about 3m with disintegrated shale, the top running almost level back to the slope of the hill. It incorporated a bank of yellow clay about 2m high and 12m wide, interpreted by the excavator as an earlier defence. The rampart was accompanied by a ditch 7.5m wide and 2.5m deep, with a flat bottom. The second bank was almost entirely levelled, but was also accompanied by a flat-bottomed ditch, 4m wide and 1.5m deep.

The innermost rampart is well preserved and can be traced throughout the whole circuit. Throughout the north-west half of the enclosure it is accompanied by a wide internal quarry ditch; the continuation of this has probably been destroyed by cultivation. The rampart generally follows the natural slope of the hill but near the middle of the south-west side, just south of the entrance, it forms a bluntly rounded salient with a base of about 50m and a projection of 10m. The resulting platform commands both the approach to the gateway and the greater part of this side of the fort.

The outer defences have been badly damaged by cultivation except at the west corner. A ditch probably accompanied the inner rampart throughout the south-west and south-east sides but not along the very steep slopes on the north-east and north-west. Outside this ditch was a second substantial rampart. This rampart ran roughly parallel to the inner rampart along the south-west side but at the south-east end it curved away to a distance of 50m, apparently to command a steeper section of the hillside which is not visible from the main defences. From here the rampart converged on the inner bank and died out on the steep north-east slope.

At the south corner across the col a third rampart now very much worn down can be traced for 120m. Its crest lies about 40m outside that of the middle rampart, making the overall width of the defences on this side about 85m. At the west corner also the surviving section of ditch accompanying the middle rampart has a strong counterscarp bank, although the hillside here is very steep.

This monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric domestic life, social organisation and defensive practices.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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