The objective of CAER Heritage is to connect local communities with the fascinating past of Caerau Hillfort and make it relevant to the present.

CAER Heritage

CAER Heritage was established in 2011 and is a collaboration between Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE), Cardiff University, local schools, residents, community groups and many others.  The project focuses upon the research of one of the most impressive, but under-appreciated heritage sites in Wales, Caerau Hillfort.  This nationally important site is surrounded by the west Cardiff suburbs of Caerau and Ely, which are communities facing serious social and economic challenges.  

From the beginning the guiding principle has been to actively involve community members, groups and heritage professionals in the co-production of archaeological and historical research to create educational opportunities, break down barriers to educational progression, promote skills development and challenge the negative perceptions of these communities. CAER activities are wide-ranging and have included geophysics, excavations (including an excavation by Time Team in 2012), artefact analyses, exhibitions, art installations, films, heritage trails, performances, accredited courses and experimental archaeology.

Hidden Hillfort Heritage Centre

 Image Credit: Gillard Associates

There were no visitor facilities at Caerau Hillfort, so, we are currently developing the old Caerau Gospel Hall at the foot of the hill into a Community Heritage Centre. 

Designed by local people, in collaboration with Architects Gillard Associates, this will be a state-of-the-art community facility capable of accommodating a diverse range of community activities and functioning as a gateway to the hillfort. It has been designed as a space for meeting, learning, making and having fun. 

Adjacent to the centre we are installing a heritage-themed children’s play area and a series of circular heritage trails around Caerau Hillfort. 

The centre and playground are scheduled to open in Autumn 2021.

Image Credit: Gillard Associates

Hidden Hillfort Heritage Trails

Enjoyment of Caerau Hillfort is currently restricted by poor access.  To encourage the exploration and discovery of the hillfort a range of paths and loops around and across the site will be developed over the coming year.  These will link together already existing permissive paths with the Public Right of Way and include new infrastructure such as ‘floating’ steps up steep gradients, interpretation and signage.

A variety of routes will be offered to suit different abilities, while for those unable to physically access the monument, information and a virtual reality experience will be available in the heritage centre and via an app (not yet available).

We’re looking for volunteers to help establish and maintain the new trails as well as develop and install the interpretive elements around the site such as information signs, digital content, and art installations. If you are interested then please do get in touch.

Hidden Hillfort Heritage Excavations

Archaeological excavations are exciting and have always been a major focus of CAER activities. Over the next 3 years we’ll be undertaking a range of community-led excavations in and around the hillfort site.  These will help us understand more about the development of the hillfort and how it relates to its surrounding landscape. 

In June and July 2019 many of you helped us to complete a dig across the hillfort ramparts which will be part of the new heritage trails interpretation.

In autumn 2021 and the spring and summer of 2022, we’ll be looking for volunteers to help with the geophysical survey and excavation of a potential Iron Age site in near-by Trelai Park. 

We’re also keen to bring archaeology into people’s homes and are looking for people who live near to Caerau Hillfort to participate in a back garden test pit archaeology project. This will help identify further archaeological evidence in the immediate environs of the hillfort.

Hidden Hillfort and Virtual Reality Wales

Working in collaboration with Digichemistry, we will be developing a virtual reality experience of Caerau Hillfort on the Virtual Heritage Wales app (not yet available).

There will be two parts to this project: the first will be developed in 2019 with a focus on the Iron Age period of the hillfort while the 2021 project will tell the Neolithic story.

Users of the app will be able to learn about Caerau Hillfort and experience a VR tour of the site that will include local people as virtual tour guides.  

Along with the app, visitors to the Hidden Hillfort Heritage Centre will have the opportunity to use a VR headset that gives users the full immersive experience.

Check out Cardiff TV‘s video featuring Dave Wyatt (Cardiff University), Craig Oats (Digichemistry) and a group of young people.

Hidden Hillfort Project Team

The Hidden Hillfort Project is a ground-breaking project that takes key assets – people, skills, relationships, partnerships, buildings, and heritage – and brings them together to create a life changing and community transforming heritage regeneration project. The team behind the project includes:

Dr. Oliver Davis
Archaeological and Project Director

Dr. Dave Wyatt
CAER Heritage Co-Director

Michelle Powell
Business Development Manager

Sulafa Abushal
Development Officer

Paul Evans
Project Artist

Julie Evans
Project Administrator

Charlotte McCarthy
Development Officer and Curiosity Youth Support Worker

Dave Horton
Development Manager

Nic Parsons
Lead Local Artist

To be appointed – April 2020
Community Curator

Hidden Hillfort Project Partners

The Hidden Hillfort Project is a partnership project that brings together the following organisations

Action in Caerau and Ely

Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum of Wales

Cardiff West Community High School

Cardiff University

Cardiff City Council

Glamorgan & Gwent Archaeological Trust

First Campus

Cardiff Archaeological Society

CAER Studio

Wales & West Housing Association

Museum of Cardiff

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings


CAER Heritage is a collaboration between ACE, Cardiff University, local schools, residents and many others. Its aim is to explore the history and archaeology of Caerau Hillfort and the surrounding area, helping to connect wider communities with their heritage and develop educational and new-life opportunities.


ACE – Action in Caerau and Ely
Our Place: Dusty Forge
460 Cowbridge Road West

02920 00 31 32


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