Big Love Festival. 18th-21st July 2024. Usk, South Wales.

The Iron Age Hill Fort

How many festivals can boast their very own Iron Age hill fort?

The Big Love site includes the remains of Llancayo Hill Fort. Only the massive earthworks and ditches remain, but it’s a lovely tranquil spot to explore and chill if you need a break from partying.

This historic monument was made in the Iron Age, over 2,750 years ago by the Silures tribes. The inhabitants would have lived in groups of round houses, defended by earth and stone associated with a farming settlement nearby. Like some nearby camps, it may have fallen into disuse about 200 B.C.

In the 17th century a pottery was set up amongst the outer ramparts to make a rustic style of mugs, platters and bowls from the red clay dug from the ponds on site. There are examples of this pottery, such as the Stag Platter, in the National Museum, Cardiff. A brickworks was later built on the site, with a kiln near Camp Wood Lodge.

The large hole in the west corner of the camp was excavated for stone roof-tiles at a later date. The site was cleared of overgrown trees and brush in the 1960s by Rudge Humphreys, who planted the walnut trees you see here now.

There is a string of similar Iron Age camps in this area: Coed y Bwyndd, Bettws Newydd (3.5 acres); Twyn Bell, Llanbadoc; Great House Camp, Llangwm; Gaer Fawr, Llangwm.

This is a scheduled monument, so no digging or structures are allowed. Please be respectful of the site.

Please be aware that there are some steep drops in places, so take extra care when exploring the fort, and make sure children are closely supervised.