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Pen Dinas Lochtyn;pendinas Lochtyn;pendinaslochdyn

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Map ReferenceSN35SW
Grid ReferenceSN3156054860
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCeredigion
Old CountyCardiganshire
PeriodIron Age
There are few landmarks on the entire sweep of Cardigan Bay as striking or as recognisable as the flat-topped cone of Pen y Badell. This hill is crowned by the fort of Pendinaslochdyn (with a `d?), described by Fenton in 1860 as `?the formidable post upon the lofty headland..? (Fenton, J. 1860, 58), which overlooks the coastal promontory and detached island of Ynyslochtyn (with a `t?). Dominating the historic shipbuilding village and inlet of Llangrannog from the north-east, and covered by swathes of yellow gorse in late spring, Pendinaslochydyn commands extensive views west to Mwnt and Cardigan Island, north-east to Pen Dinas hillfort at Aberystwyth, and beyond to Tremadog Bay, the skyline of the Llyn Peninsula and the silhouette of Bardsey Island across the sea. The promontory fort below at Ynyslochtyn raises interesting questions about the relationship between these two very different coastal fortifications.

Pendinaslochdyn must always have been an exposed hill summit for settlement, especially in biting winter gales. Yet its visibility and supremacy as a defensible locale on Cardigan Bay means that it probably attracted settlement from earliest times. The kidney-shaped hill summit encloses around 1.5 hectares and is skirted for the most part by a defensive bank 5m wide and up to 2m high, with an intermittent ditch, the defences made by scarping the edge of the natural hillslope. The original gateway probably lay on the south-east side but is obscured by the MoD road serving a modern missile-tracking station on the hill summit.

Excavations by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust in 1990-91 (Scott, N. and Murphy, K., 1992), in advance of construction of the MoD installation, discovered part of a roundhouse measuring 7m diameter that was radiocarbon dated to the Romano-British period (85-420AD). Also excavated was a four-post structure about 3m square, the footings of a raised storage building. An isolated posthole nearby produced a late Bronze Age radiocarbon date, suggesting an early settlement or hillfort on this prominent summit. A cache of twelve rounded beach pebbles ? sling shots ? was found together on the original bedrock land surface adjacent to the four-post structure. It is remarkable that a cache of sling-shot survived intact, presumably as it was left in the Iron Age. They are on display in the Ceredigion Museum.

Pendinaslochdyn looks down upon two Iron Age settlements, Ynyslochtyn promontory fort and Llangrannog hillfort (SN 311 538) which occupies a narrow, steep promontory to the south-west above the village. This hillfort is not marked on maps, but can be seen in profile from below. Its defining feature is a deep rocky saddle, apparently a natural defensive feature, cutting off the fort from the hillside. The stepped interior, on private land, contains a number of house platforms (edited from Driver, T. 2016)


Driver, T. 2016. The Hillforts of Cardigan Bay. Logaston Press.

Fenton, J. 1860. Cardiganshire Antiquities, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. VI, Third Series, 58-61.

Scott, N. and Murphy, K., 1992. Excavations at Pendinas Lochtyn, Llangrannog, Dyfed, 1990-91. Archaeology in Wales, 32, 9-10