Caerleon - Pillmawr Farm - Lodge Hill - Caerleon

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The walk begins outside the Roman amphitheatre in Caerleon, an historic Roman town that was once the location of a legionary fortress. Caerleon markets itself as 'the most varied and fascinating Roman site in Britain' and there is certainly a great deal to see in the village. Besides the amphitheatre – excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler during the 1920s – there are remains of extensive Roman barracks and a restored baths complex. Many of the artefacts discovered in the area are on display in the National Roman Legion Museum, a short distance from the walk starting point.

In myth and legend, Caerleon also has numerous associations with King Arthur. These were begun by the medieval 'historian', Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose 'Historia Regum Britanniae' makes Caerleon one of the most important cities in Britain and continued by authors such as Malory and Tennyson, who wrote his Arthurian poem, 'Morte d'Arthur', while staying at The Hanbury Arms in the village.

The walk leaves the village on a path past the Roman barracks and joins a newly opened section of cycle path linking Caerleon and Newport along the River Usk. Despite the massive tidal range of this river, the second largest in the world, it was historically a major transport artery, linking the Bristol Channel to the port of Caerleon from Roman times until the end of the nineteenth century. It was the Victorian development of Newport Docks near the mouth of the Usk that marked the death knell for Caerleon as a port and the last ship left the village quay in 1896.

The walk leaves the cycle path on Pillmawr Road and turns back towards Caerleon up the slopes of Lodge Hill. As you climb, splendid views open up over the village and along the Usk Valley. Concealed in the trees that crown the top of the hill are the remains of an Iron Age fort. There is evidence to suggest that this was reoccupied during the latter days of the Roman Empire and may have provided a base for a real-life Arthurian warlord.

After descending through a housing estate to return to the bike path, the outward leg of the journey is retraced to your starting point. Before leaving be sure to visit the museum and baths.

Wales - South Wales - Gwent - Countryside

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