Remains of hillforts, Ynys Lochtyn, Llangrannog

Remains of hillforts, Ynys Lochdyn, Llangrannog

At this scenic spot overlooking Llangrannog, the Wales Coast Path passes between the remains of two prehistoric forts.

One fort occupied the end of the narrow headland which leads towards Ynys Lochdyn (commonly written as Ynys Lochtyn), the island in the distance. Cliffs made the fort inaccessible from the west, north and east. The southern approach was defended by a bank and ditch across the headland’s narrowest part. A dip in the bank marks the fort’s entrance. Coastal erosion has destroyed some of the fort.

The other fort was on Pen y Badell, the hill to the south (inland of the coast path). A defensive bank circles the hilltop. Dyfed Archaeological Trust’s excavations in 1990-91 uncovered prehistoric ammunition: a cache of 12 pebbles for slingshots, kept in the fort in case an enemy approached. They’re now at the Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth.

The archaeologists found remains of a roundhouse, seven metres in diameter, from the time of Britain’s Roman occupation. They also found the corner posts of a building which was raised above the ground on timber legs, probably a food store. Radiocarbon dating elsewhere indicated human occupation of the site in the late Bronze Age.

Since the Second World War, Pen y Badell has hosted a Ministry of Defence observation post, installed to track the movement of missiles from the Projectile Development Establishment at Aberporth, c.7km to the south west. The establishment was evacuated there from Kent in 1940 because southern England was vulnerable to German attack or invasion.

Many types of weapon have been tested at the facility, which now specialises in air-launched weapons and unmanned aerial systems, such as drones.

About the place-name:

Lochdyn was written as Elychton or possibly Clychton in 1302-3, and L(l)ochdyn / L(l)ochtyn in the 1750s and 1760s. The first element may be related to the Irish loch (inlet or pool) but refer here to a landing place. The -dyn element could be from dynn (fortified enclosure) or din (fort).

With thanks to Dyfed Archaeological Trust, and to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, of the Welsh Place-Name Society

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