Enjoy the Great Outdoors: Visit Pendinas, the Largest Hillfort in West Wales
Every year in the month of June, we get to celebrate Great Outdoors Month, an excellent opportunity to explore the wonderful natural landscapes that surround us. This international celebration of the outdoors was founded in 1998 by the President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton. It started out as a ‘Great Outdoors Week’ but gained popularity over the years and now we get to celebrate nature for a whole month! The main focus of this month is to prise people away from the grips of modern life such as sitting in front of their work computers all day, spending loads of time on social media – which I myself am guilty of! – and get them outside to enjoy the fresh air. So, let’s get back to basics!
There are many ways of enjoying our natural surroundings, and we are lucky enough in Wales to have an abundance of natural areas to visit. You could visit your nearest beach to watch the sunset, cycle along the excellent local cycle paths, walk along the coastal paths or even visit a local historical monument, such as the Iron Age Hillfort of Pendinas!
The hillfort of Pendinas is the largest and most heavily defended hillfort out of the 230 hillforts of Ceredigion. At the confluence of two rivers, the Rheidol to the north and the Ystwyth to the south, with its western side sloping down to the sea, Pendinas was a site of significant importance. As we know the site was once populated by the Celts, but even today there still are many species that inhabit this wonderful monument that they would have seen. As well as walking along the different pathways and admiring the view, you will also see a variety of animals such as butterflies, froghopper insects, bumble bees, the common lizard, slow worms and many, many more! Larger mammals such as foxes, polecats, weasels and rabbits also make their burrows all over this hillfort. The hillfort is also covered in amazing plant-life, with Foxgloves and Stitchwort lining the pathways and the Gorse which is always in bloom – which, according to the old saying, means that kissing is always in fashion.
We are currently working on the Pendinas Project, which is a community project focusing on the local community surrounding the hillfort. Our main objective is to work together with groups and schools in the area to understand and enjoy this historical monument! This project is NHLF and Cadw funded, and we have partnered with Dyfed Archaeological Trust for the archaeological excavations we will be undertaking. We have a few events coming up during the summer such as ecology walks, and some art workshops we will advertise soon. We are also organising a festival to celebrate Pendinas at the Hwb in Penparcau on the 16th of September, where we will have guided tours up to the hillfort as well as other activities down in the Hwb. Local institutions such as Portable Antiquities Scheme Wales, Trysor, and the library at RCAHMW will have stalls showcasing their resources on the local history and on the hillfort itself. During the month of September, we will also be excavating some areas on the hillfort to strengthen our knowledge of this ancient monument! If you’d like to organise a guided tour of Pendinas, or if you’d like to volunteer for the excavation in September, please contact me at email@example.com. So come along and visit the historical site of Pendinas this month and enjoy the great outdoors!
Beca Davies, Community Outreach Officer Pendinas Project