Backpacking, Roman style
The Roman marching camp at Pen y Gwryd lies 6 miles south-east of Llanberis. It is a typical example of the type of camp constructed at the end of each day’s marching by the Imperial Roman Army. Dating from between AD 48 and 77, such camps were often used repeatedly when campaigning in a particular region.
It is unusual for evidence of such temporary camps to survive. The fact that Pen y Gwryd exists at all hints that it may have been occupied on a number of occasions, as the Romans sought to subdue resistance in this part of their empire. The location of the site, close to the intersection of three major routes through the mountains of Snowdonia, further strengthens the suggestion of repeated use.
The size of the site at Pen y Gwryd suggests it would have held around 2000 men. Soldiers carried picks and wooden stakes as standard. Each evening, army units on the move would pitch camp within a carefully selected area. Around this they would construct a wall and ditch enclosure, using turf and stakes. On occasion the same skills were used on the battlefield to create defensive lines.
Several features can be seen from the eastern ridge - the south-eastern and north-western corner of the camp and the south entrance. The south side of the 4-hectare site is the best preserved. To the west of the road (A498), an original Roman bank has been capped by a modern wall.
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Good Walks Nearby
At Junction of A498 and A4086
Nearest station Betws y Coed - 9.7 miles
Bus stop Pen y Gwryd
Some earthen banks visible. Junction of A498 and A4086 is within fort.
Full Figure Grid Reference: SH 660557
OS Landranger map sheet: OS 115
- Capel Curig