A day in Roman Wales

I sometimes pause to consider how lucky we are to live in the Green Valleys of Wales. We have everything on our doorstep: the sea with stunning beaches, the hills, a train that gets us to London in two hours (very important for the city girl that I am), and then all the archaeological and historical sites. Within a half-hour drive, we get a choice of iron age burial sites, Roman ruins, medieval castles, a Tudor fortified house, nineteenth-century kitsch castles, industrial sites etc.

The lovely village of Caerwent. Do admire the lovely wool on those sheep!

The lovely village of Caerwent. Do admire the lovely wool on those sheep!

Today we went – for the first time, I am ashamed to say – to Caerwent. This is a lovely village built on the site of Roman Venta Silurum, a market town of the Silures. There is quite a lot to see: remains of houses and shops; remains of a basilica and forum; and remains of a Romano-Celtic temple. Perhaps to the uninitiated, those remains will not appear particularly exciting. The inhabitants of Venta built their foundations in stone but their actual buildings in wood. This means that only the foundations remain. We don’t get impressive Roman brick walls here.

However, one would have to be really allergic to Roman remains not to be impressed by the walls that still stand several metres high. We had a lovely walk on the hardly-muddy (a rarity on Welsh walks) wall-top path. We had to catch Little Boy G (Big Boy T was out with a friend) a couple of times by his neck to avoid dangerous falls, but that is part of the charm of Welsh historical outings.

All together, a lovely St David’s Day!

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