Saturday, October 11, 2008

look at the tumps on that

I was at a loose end this afternoon so I thought I'd go out and enjoy the sunshine for a bit. A quick glance at the map revealed some sites of possible interest off over the other side of junction 27, so I headed off in the car to have a look.

Firstly, Twmbarlwm, up north of Risca and Rogerstone. This is another Iron Age hill fort, a bit like the one we visited a couple of weeks ago in Tredegar Park, but this one is considerably more impressive, largely because there are no trees obscuring the contours, and also because of the distinctive "tump" which makes the man-made nature of the whole thing unmistakable. Much to my delight there was a trig point on top, so I snapped another shot for the collection. This one is at 419 metres, or 1375 feet if you prefer. A couple of tips if you want to visit: the last section of the road up from Rogerstone is single-track and really quite narrow, so be prepared for a bit of reversing back to find a gateway or a lay-by if you meet anyone, also the climb up to the hill fort is surprisingly steep, and finally the paths round the area seem to be a popular spot for trail bikers (check out the maze of tracks at the top of this aerial view), so keep your eyes peeled. Here's a link to the Twmbarlwm page at The Modern Antiquarian, just in case anyone was wondering "what's Julian Cope up to these days?".

On the way back through Rogerstone I spotted a sign for the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, so I swerved dangerously off the main road to go and have a look. It turns out this is not quite the multimedia industrial-historical extravaganza I'd been imagining, more a small building where tea can be purchased. If I'd looked at their website first the endearing amateurishness of the whole thing might have been a bit of a giveaway. However, the canal section itself is quite interesting, even though the lock flight has long since been abandoned and is full of various wildlife - the gradient the whole thing covers is quite startling, particularly when you get down towards where the M4 passes over the canal. A couple of the websites linked above talk of "restoration programmes" and the like, but I assume no-one's found the money yet as I saw no evidence of any work going on. But...they managed to get the Caen Hill flight working again, so who knows.

Anyway, I took a few photos, which can be found here.

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