The Gelligaer Roman Fort Project
A community’s history is often taken for granted – and that was the case in Gelligaer. Most of the residents knew that there was a fort – but very few knew where or the role that it had played in the Roman occupation of Wales. Cadw love the fact that the fort is contained within a farmer’s field, where it is preserved and maintained.
The Gelligaer & Pen-y-Bryn Partnership together with Gelligaer Community Council and The Gelligaer Historical Society all worked together to define a plan to increase the profile of the fort for residents and visitors alike. After defining their vision funding was secured from Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, the community has worked with the landowner and the community to develop a range of resources for everybody – a process which took around 5 years:
- Education Materials for primary schools including an outdoor learning area alongside the fort
- A walk leaflet and a clue trail for younger children
- Interpretation and a new interpretative fence line to highlight where the fort is located
- A new guidebook
- Website, interactive map and films of characters who may have lived in the area
The story of the fort has been told on a number of levels:
- The Auxiliary Roman soldiers who occupied the area
- The Silure who were the native population
- The enthusiastic Edwardian Archaeologists who uncovered the site at the end of the 19th century – making a reality of the stories that a Roman fort was hidden in this field
The Gelligaer Roman Fort project has been driven by a determined group of the community – who have struggled with bureaucracy and the idiosyncrasies of funding regimes to bring the story of the area to life once again.