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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 305341

Map Reference SM81SE

Grid Reference SM87231027

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Walwyns Castle


Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Iron Age, Medieval, Early Medieval

Site Description Syke Rath is a small inland promontory fort, most likely Iron Age in date, overlooking a river which runs into Broad Haven at Sandyhaven Pill. The maximum extent of the fort is 140m north to south by 80m east to west and it encloses an internal area of 0.3ha. The steep valley side of the river offers natural protection along the south and east sides of the fort, whilst on the west a shallower river valley also offers some natural protection. To enhance this, a single earthwork bank, probably topped by a wall or palisade was constructed. The main defences of the fort cross the neck of the promontory on its vulnerable north side. Here there are three lines of defence, an inner and middle rampart situated close together with an outer rampart some 20m to the north and thus enclosing an additional annexe area.

Syke Rath is an interesting site and one of a number of forts situated along the river valley; Capeston Rath (NPRN 305349) 1km to the south is comparable in size, whilst Walwyn's Castle (NPRN 305342) 1km to the north was on a much larger scale. The surviving earthworks suggest there was reoccupation here, possibly in the early medieval or medieval period. At this point part of the inner and middle rampart was remodelled to create a mound at the eastern end of the ramparts. A hollow inside this mound suggests a structure once stood on top. This arrangement has similarities; albeit on a much smaller scale to two of the larger Pembrokeshire castles of Walwyn's Castle and Nevern (NPRN 304392).

A detailed survey of the fort was undertaken by the RCAHMW and members of the Walwyn's Castle Local History Society, The Havens Local History Society and Coastlands Local History Society in 2007.

Louise Barker, RCAHMW, 13th June 2008

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