A moderate walk to an iron age hillfort in the heart of Ardudwy
Craig y Ddinas is an iron age hillfort situated on an isolated rock, 350m above sea level. The hillfort stands in a dramatic location with fantastic views of the Ardudwy area.
Craig y Ddinas still preserves much of its original features. There is an impressive entrance on the eastern side. The remains of iron age and Roman roundhouses are also visible on the site.
The hillfort itself may have been used as a place of refuge or as a communal meeting place. The roundhouses were probably used as settlements.
Why this path?
Craig y Ddinas is a perfect option for those interested in some of the National Park’s lesser-known historical and archaeological sites. However, as a moderate, 4-mile route, it might not be suitable for novice walkers.
Snowdonia National Park Authority has categorised this route as a moderate route. It is suitable for people with some countryside walking experience and a reasonable level of fitness. The terrain will include some steep or unsurfaced paths in the open countryside. Walking boots and waterproof layers are essential.
Car Park near Cors y Gedol Hall (SH 602231)
OS Explorer OL18 (Harlech, Porthmadog and Bala)
The hillforts of Snowdonia
Hillforts such as Craig y Ddinas are perhaps some of the most impressive archaeological sites in Snowdonia. However, they are also the least understood. They occur in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes, which might reflect that they were built for various uses. Not all the hillforts were defensive. Some may exist for ritual or religious purposes, while others are clearly built to be impressive rather than functional.
Very few of the thirty or so larger forts in Snowdonia have been examined on a large enough scale to understand them. The effort and expense required to excavate them mean that this situation is unlikely to change.
Craig y Ddinas is situated in the Ardudwy area. Ardudwy is often featured in Welsh mythology. Harlech was the site where Bendigeidfran, the iconic giant from the Mabinogi, holds court in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi. In the Fourth Branch, Math fab Mathonwy gives Lleu Llaw Gyffes the areas of Eifionydd and Ardudwy. Lleu later builds his palace, Mur y Castell, in Ardudwy.