David Berry Walks
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Walks to Ancient Hillforts in North Wales

The landscape of North Wales contains the fascinating remains of many ancient hillforts. Most were built during the Iron Age and used by our ancestors until the Romans occupied the land, although some remained in use during the Roman period. These settlements vary greatly in size, elevation, complexity and location. Many were built on land with natural steep slopes, often at strategic points overlooking valleys. They were defended by deep ditches and ramparts made mainly of earth but sometimes stone, generally topped with a large wooden palisade. Built over 2,500 years ago with primitive tools the larger hillforts are an amazing feat of engineering and collective human endeavour. Within the ramparts people generally lived in simple wooden framed roundhouses with wattle and daub walls and a central hearth under a thatched roof. Iron Age people were farmers, traders, skilled craftsmen as well as warriors.


The building of hillforts represented a significant cultural change in pre-historic times, but their role in a largely farming society remains unclear and they may have served different purposes. Undoubtedly their defences offered protection to community and family groups at times of tribal warfare or threat. Some may have been tribal centres which controlled the surrounding countryside and nearby markets and symbolized power and status. Others, defensively weak and with little evidence of continuous occupation, may have been used seasonally for trading, ceremonial purposes and religious celebrations. What is not in doubt is that hillforts are evocative man-made monuments to our past that adorn the beautiful North Wales landscape, generally offering panoramic views.


This book of 30 walks explores the diversity of hillfort sites in North Wales, from the impressive chain of hillforts on the Clwydian Range to more remote and less well known ones elsewhere. Included is Tre’r Ceiri, on the Llyn Peninsula, one of the best preserved hillforts in Britain. The routes, which range from an easy 1 mile waymarked trail to a more challenging 10 mile upland valley walk in Snowdonia.






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David's books are available from local tourist information centres, all good bookshops, outdoor shops and other local outlets which vary from area to area. Alternatively any book can be ordered direct from Kittiwake