Opening up the Pathway to the Past!

To try to encourage people to come and discover Caerau Hillfort for themselves, a group of keen local residents have helped to clear the overgrown vegetation on the right-of-way into the southern entrance of the hillfort from Cwrt-yr-Ala Road, as part of the Pathway to the Past HLF All Our Stories initiative coordinated by CAER Heritage and ACE.

Richie and Paul get stuck in
Dave cutting back the brambles

Big thank-you must go to Richie Roberts, Cardiff Council Parks Ranger Services, under whose expert guidance we battled the wind and occasional down-pours to cut back the overgrown brambles and hawthorn.

John and Carol lend a hand

Richie had already undertaken checks for nesting birds back in March and April, so we knew we wouldn’t be disturbing any wildlife while we cleared the footpath.  Wearing gloves and wielding secateurs we opened up the route to walkers, despite the odd scratch and thorn in the shoe!

If you can, make sure you come and walk up the path and see our handiwork! We’re hoping to make cutting back the vegetation a regular monthly event (keep your eye open on our events page for opportunities to help out) and even replace the old styles and gates with new kissing gates.

Even the local PC gets involved!
After – pathway opened up for walkers

Some of the overhanging trees need cutting back too, but we need to undertake bat surveys with Cardiff Council Parks Services before we can do that.  If you’re interested in getting involved in dawn and dusk bat checks in June then contact the CAER Heritage team here…

Before – the pathway overgrown with brambles


Jeff’s History Blog – My trip to St Andrews Major

First visit to St Andrews Major church – I’m very impressed with the place, nice surroundings in a small peaceful village.

st andrews major 3
St Andrews Major Church

The high west tower with a corbelled parapet and a south door way, the porch and wide north aisle all date from remodelling of 1480-1520. The nave and chancel are maybe 13th century and the font is Norman. The chancel arch and east window date from a restoration of 1875-9

Then visited another church not far from St Andrews. In the village of Wenvoe not too bad of a church, but not really that impressive. St Marys church was much restored in 1876. There was a tower until a new one was built at the west end in 1699.

St Marys Church, Wenvoe

Inside there are fine monuments to the owners of Wenvoe castle William Thomas,1636, Sir John Thomas,1704, and his wife, and Peter Birt,1791.

Jeff’s History Blog – My trip to Llantrithyd village

st illyds church LLantrithyd
St Illyds church LLantrithyd

Done a 7 mile trip to this village on bike and on approach I found a stunning place a church, St Illyds, and 16th century manor house in a quiet countryside setting.

LLantrithyd place1
LLantrithyd Place

Brief history – the manor house Llantrithyd Place was built by John Bassett in the early part of the 16th century. The ruins of the house are in the feild adjacent to the church yard but are not in a safe condition.

St Illyds church – the church probably dates from the later part of the 12th century, some 400 years before the building of Llantrithyd Place.

It was the marriage of Mary Mansel to Thomas Aubrey that led to six generations of the Aubreys living at Llantrithyd Place.

The family came to spend more time at their inherited estate at Boarstall, Bucks until the house fell empty about 1750/60 and subsequently deteriorated into ruin the roof collapsing in 1832.

Jeff’s History Blog

I’m fascinated with history, especially medieval castles, and love going to visit all the historical sites around Cardiff and the Vale, and sometimes even further afield! Why don’t you follow my travels through this new blog.  Here’s some places I’ve been to recently. Click on the links to find out more…

Ever been to Caerwent, near Newport? Amazing Roman remains – here’s a Roman house with hypocaust

caerwent 1a

Visited Cottrell Park motte (a medieval mound for a castle) – one of at least three in area of St Nicholas

cottrell parka

Now for something much older – St Lythans Neolithic burial chamber


Finally, now what I really love – a medieval castle! This is a small one in Cowbridge – St Quintens – but still very impressive

st quintens 3a

That’s it for now – keep checking back for more as I plan more trips!

Pathway to the Past – Mural comes alive!

New street-art mural marks entrance to Iron Age hillfort

Caerau_Mural_cropYoung people from North Ely Youth Centre, Petherbridge Road, Ely, Cardiff have created a visually striking new mural to signpost a new heritage trail that will soon be developed around the Caerau Iron Age hillfort as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant.

The creation of the heritage trail is led by Cardiff University’s CAER Heritage Project team in partnership with community organisation Action in Caerau and Ely and St Fagans National History Museum.

IMAG0157a  The mural was designed and developed by the young people from Ely during a series of intensive street-art workshops devised by CAER Heritage Project (CHP) lead artist Paul Evans, in close collaboration with St Fagan’s Iron Age expert and artist Ian Daniel, and CHP directors Dr Oliver Davis and Dr David Wyatt.

To set the context, the young people visited the Iron Age reconstructed hillfort at Castell Henllys in West Wales. Here they engaged in two dynamic workshops devised by Paul. The first, a digital photography activity, was based on the micro-montages of street artist Slinkachu and the other was a variation on the eco-graffiti activities that the artist has used to great effect during previous stages of the project. In this case the young people left their outlines on the side of the fort – a biodegradeable impression of their visit.

Back at the youth centre, the young people engaged in two days of drawing workshops which were used to genIMAG0171aerate letters and figures that Paul and Ian developed into finished designs for council approval. The young people were then given a choice of five designs based on their ideas and motifs – with Ian’s design getting the vote. The mural design features two Iron Age Round houses, ‘Ely beans’ and graceful ‘celto-graffiti’ lettering spelling out the word Caerau, which means hill-forts in Welsh.

The A4 sized mural design was then transferred at full size – over 15 metres in length – onto the underpass and painstakingly rendered in masonry paint. The young people from the youth centre lending a hand with the final stages of the painting and adding their own graffiti ‘tags’.

Passers-by have already made a number of very positive comments about the mural and it is apparent that the artwork functions brilliantly as a vivid, direct, contemporary connection IMAG0178to the site’s ancient heritage.

When you visit, look out for the Banksy style rats devised by Oliver Davis – they’re ‘sick’

Pathway to the Past

On 6th March 2013 we visited Castell Henllys in West Wales with young people from Ely and Caerau. To complement our visit – and inspired by the micro-montage work of street artist Slinkachu – CAER Heritage Project lead artist Paul Evans devised a dynamic photography workshop using Airfix figures and digital cameras. We were very impressed by the results – great compositions and some really inventive little set ups … more soon!

Slinkachu micro-montage
Slinkachu micro-montage
The Iron Age – Slinkachu-style

Find Out More About The CAER Heritage Project – New Online Publication

To celebrate the launch of the CAER Heritage Project exhibition at the Senedd and Cardiff Story Museum, find out more about what we’ve been up to over the last year with this free downloadable publication






















Postcards from the Iron Age: Part II

More Postcards from the Iron Age:

More postcards from the Iron Age …

Dear Mother,
I’ve missed you, the weather sucks.
I want food but most of all I love you.
P.S. The Iron Age rocks, you have missed out on a lot!

To Mum,
I have just signed up for the army and I have killed my first roman.
Hope everything is alright.
All the best,
From Jim

Dear Mum,
The Iron Age is horrible, the food portions are very small and it rains all the time.
I miss you
From Chantelle

Dear Iron Age people,
I would like to tell you how 21st Century people live. Nowadays we have cars, big houses, lots of games like football, rugby and many more.
We only have one queen and we all work together.

Dear people of the Iron Age!
I like your swords, they must have been useful. Who invented the axe?
Hope the weather is nice.
Enjoy the past.
Person of 2012

You’ve missed out.
Ipods are my life.
Apple is not only a fruit but a brand.
Iron is replaced by steel.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
Have fun.

Postcards from the Iron Age: Part I

Paul Evans and Becky Smith led this drop in activity during the CAER Heritage Project exhibition at St Fagans on Monday 18th June.

Visitors were asked to write a postcard from the Iron Age to the present day (or from the present day to the Iron Age).

CAER Heritage Project – Postcard from the Iron Age
More postcards from the Iron Age …

We received some great postcards from our friends in the Iron Age :

I like the round houses.
They’re just like our houses but smaller and much colder!!

Dear Mum,
I can’t wait to come back home.
The food portions are the same that we give to our dogs.
Not good.
I love you a lot!
From Mehak

Dear future archaeologists,
I have buried a rather nice drinking cup in my round house, maybe you will be able to find it!
Kind regards,
An Iron Age Person

And sent some great ones to the Iron Age from the present day:

Central heating is a fantastic invention, better than fires. Do you have wine yet? The weather does not improve. The current queen is pretty great, look forward to that. Have fun.
Wish you were here!

Dear Iron Age people,
I would like you to have seen our IT “Google” systems today!
I like your axes and swords!
E Simons

More Postcards from the Iron Age to follow soon!

CAER Heritage Project Exhibition at St Fagans

On 18 June 2012 we held an exhibition of work inspired by the Caer Heritage Project at Oakdale Hall, St Fagans: National History Museum. The exhibition was opened by Mark Drakeford, AM for Ely and Sian Price, series director of Time Team.

Here are a few photos of the amazing exhibits.

Caer Heritage Project exhibition at St Fagans – shields at the back designed by students from Glyn Derw High School
Fantastic Iron Age shield designs by students from Fitzalan High School
Caerau Hill Fort by students from St Mary Immaculate RC High School