Llanmelin Wood Hillfort

Llanmelin Wood Hill Fort

Llanmelin Wood Hill Fort

Llanmelin is an Iron Age hillfort located just over a mile (2km) north-west of Caerwent Roman Town, between Newport and Chepstow. Traditionally, Llanmelin was thought to be the tribal centre of the Silures before the Romans arrived, but there is no strong evidence to support this idea.

In general, hillforts began to appear about 1000BC or 3,000 years ago. In the Welsh borderland, however, the main phase of hillfort construction seems to have been around 400BC to 500BC. Small enclosures, with a single bank — known as a rampart — and ditch, predominated. Further ramparts and more elaborate entrances were often added later and hillforts could remain in use until 2,000 years ago.

We do not know whether this elaboration reflects a real threat or a form of display, but the diversity of shapes and characteristics suggest a range of functions.

Set high above the coastal plain, Llanmelin follows this pattern of development. It began life with a single bank and ditch. More banks were added and a hundred years later the entrance was remodelled and strengthened.

From excavation evidence, we know that people lived in circular houses here made of timber and mud. They kept and ate cows, sheep and pigs, used pottery, smelted copper and carved antlers from red deer.
Today, only earthworks survive at Llanmelin. They are made up of three distinct elements: the main camp, the annexe, which is a series of rectangular enclosures tacked onto the main camp, and the outpost, located 275 yards (250m) away in woodland close to the road.

Llanmelin is also home to many different animals and flowers. You may encounter adders at this site. Adders are a protected species. You are advised to:

• Keep to footpaths and wear sensible footwear
• If you see an adder, please wait for it to move or walk around it — do not attempt to pick it up
• Keep dogs on paths and on leads — if you think your dog has been bitten or falls ill after visiting an area where adders are present, please take him/her straight to a vet
• In the unlikely event that you are bitten by an adder, please attend hospital straight away

Llanmelin Wood Hillfort — Excavations

Opening times

1 April 2019 - 31 March 2020

Daily 10.00am - 4.00pm

Last admission 30 minutes before closing

Closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January

For yearly opening times please click 'View all visitor information'

Admission costs

Adult - Am ddim/Free
Family - Am ddim/Free
Senior citizens, students and children under 16 - Am ddim/Free
Disabled and companion - Am ddim/Free

Facilities and information

No smoking
  • Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult
  • Assistance dogs only
  • No smoking
  • Parking – limited car parking [maximum 3 cars] available on a gravel base. Car park is some distance away from the monument. Ground surface can be loose and slippery in wet weather
  • Please note that mobile telephone signal can be patchy in places
  • Cadw do not allow drone flying from or over its guardianship sites, except by contractors commissioned for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and are operating under controlled conditions.
View all visitor information
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Car Road 11/4m (2km) NW of Caerwent, off A48m, 6m (9.7km) W of Chepstow.

Rail Rail Caldicot 5m (8.1km).