Walk to this upland fort to enjoy glorious panoramic views
One of the most complete Roman military sites in Britain, Tomen y Mur was established in order to secure Roman power in Wales. An auxiliary fort like this, constructed around AD 77 by Governor Agricola, was designed to protect the Roman communication and supply network. It was connected to other forts such as Segontium, (Caernarfon) and Canovium (Caerhun) by this extensive road system.
The fort was constructed in two stages. The early timber fort was reduced and rebuilt in stone around AD 120, but Tomen y Mur was only occupied until AD 140, a fairly short length of time. Visible features include the remains of an amphitheatre, a parade ground, a bathhouse and a reconstructed wall, complete with a replica of one of the centurial stones found on the site.
A Norman motte, the grassy mound in the centre of the fort, is hard to miss. The name Tomen y Mur means ‘mound in walls’, so the motte has also given its name to the location. In 1114 the English king Henry I and his army advanced on the area in a show of arms against the Welsh leader Prince Gruffudd ap Cynan and other Welsh princes.
The remains of a medieval hall, possibly a court (llys) belonging to the Welsh princes, stood just outside the fort. This hall is also the setting for one of the tales from the Mabinogion (medieval Welsh tales), the story of the leader Math fab Mathonwy and his doomed nephew, Lleu Llaw Gyffes.