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The Fascinating History and Must-Visit Attractions of Caernarfon


Discover the rich history of Roman Wales at Segontium Roman Fort in Caernarfon, Gwynedd. Explore the remains of this strategically-placed fort, established nearly two millennia ago and occupied for over 300 years. Learn about the Roman conquest of Wales and the role of Segontium in controlling access to Anglesey and defending against Irish pirates. Visit Segontium today and step back in time to experience life on the edge of the Roman Empire

Caernarfon, located in Gwynedd, North Wales, is a town rich in history and cultural heritage. One of the most intriguing aspects of Caernarfon is its Roman forts, particularly Segontium, which played a significant role in the Roman occupation of Britain. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the captivating history of Segontium and explore the must-visit attractions in Caernarfon. So, let's embark on a journey through time and discover the wonders of this remarkable town.


The Foundations of Segontium Roman Fort

The history of Segontium Roman Fort dates back to the late 1st century AD when a Roman auxiliary fort was established on a hill overlooking the Menai Strait and Anglesey. This strategic location made Segontium the most north-westerly fort in the Roman Empire and served as the headquarters for north-west Wales.

The Romans aimed to solidify their control over the rebellious Welsh tribes in the area, and Segontium provided a strong military presence. Over the next three centuries, the fort underwent extensions and modifications, becoming the longest-occupied Roman fort in Wales. Excavations have revealed timber barrack blocks dating back to the late 1st century, capable of accommodating up to 1000 soldiers.

By the 2nd century, a large courtyard was constructed within the fort, along with a bathhouse, possibly serving as an official residence for an important local official overseeing mining operations in the region. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, the garrison at Segontium dwindled, and the fort primarily focused on countering pirate threats in the Menai Strait and along the north Wales coastline.


The Influence of Segontium on Caernarfon Castle

In the late 13th century, Edward I sought to establish control over the Welsh after his conquest of the region. He decided to build a formidable castle at Caernarfon, utilizing stones from the old Roman fort of Segontium. This led to the dismantling of many of the fort's stone walls, leaving behind only foundation walls.

Despite the absence of standing structures, excavations at Segontium have unearthed a wealth of artifacts from the Roman occupation period. Some of these artifacts are displayed in the onsite museum, while others can be found in the collections of the National Museum of Wales.


Exploring Segontium Roman Fort & Museum

Visiting Segontium Roman Fort & Museum is a must for history enthusiasts and those eager to uncover the secrets of the Roman occupation in Wales. The site is conveniently located on a major road leading out of Caernarfon, and although parking may be challenging, the stunning views over Caernarfon and Anglesey make it well worth the visit.

While the majority of the fort is no longer visible, having been absorbed by modern housing developments, the remaining sections provide a glimpse into the importance of Segontium nearly 1800 years ago. The museum offers a fascinating collection of artifacts, shedding light on the Roman presence in the area and the daily lives of the soldiers stationed at the fort.


Other Attractions in Caernarfon

Caernarfon has much more to offer beyond Segontium Roman Fort. This vibrant town is steeped in history and boasts a variety of attractions that will captivate visitors of all ages. Here are some additional highlights to explore during your visit:


Caernarfon Castle

No visit to Caernarfon is complete without exploring its crowning jewel, Caernarfon Castle. This magnificent medieval fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built by Edward I to solidify his control over Wales. Its striking architecture and imposing presence make it one of the most iconic castles in the country.

Welsh Highland Railway

For railway enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, a journey on the Welsh Highland Railway is a must. This narrow-gauge steam train takes you on a picturesque ride through the stunning landscapes of Snowdonia National Park, offering breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, and forests along the way.

Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre

If you're seeking adventure and outdoor activities, look no further than Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre. Located on the banks of the Menai Strait, this renowned center offers a wide range of water-based activities, including sailing, kayaking, and powerboating. Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or a beginner, Plas Menai provides an opportunity to explore the beautiful coastline while honing your skills.

Caernarfon Town Walls

Take a leisurely stroll along the well-preserved town walls of Caernarfon. These impressive fortifications encircle the town, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area and a glimpse into its medieval past. Explore the towers and gateways, and imagine what life was like within these walls centuries ago.

Gypsy Wood Park

For families with children, Gypsy Wood Park offers a delightful day out. This enchanting woodland attraction immerses visitors in a magical world, complete with fairy trails, animal encounters, and miniature steam train rides. It's a perfect place to let your little ones' imaginations run wild.


Plan Your Visit to Caernarfon

When planning your visit to Caernarfon, consider the following logistical information:

  • Location: Caernarfon is located in Gwynedd, North Wales, at coordinates 53.1372452, -4.26505566.

  • Opening Hours: Segontium Roman Fort & Museum is open from 10am to 4pm.

  • Accessibility: The site is easily accessible by car and is located on a major road. However, parking may be limited, so it's advisable to arrive early or consider alternative transportation options.

  • Entry Fees: Segontium Roman Fort & Museum is free to visit.

Please note that the above information is based on external sources and may be subject to change. It's always a good idea to verify the details and plan your visit accordingly.


Conclusion

Caernarfon, with its rich history and fascinating attractions, offers a captivating experience for visitors. From the remnants of Segontium Roman Fort to the majestic Caernarfon Castle, this town provides a window into the past while offering modern amenities and natural beauty. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, or a family seeking fun-filled activities, Caernarfon has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, prepare for an immersive journey through time, and get ready to create lasting memories in this remarkable Welsh town.


References

  1. "Segontium Roman Fort & Museum." Website

  2. "Visiting Segontium Roman Fort & Museum." Website

  3. "Caernarfon Castle." Website

  4. "Welsh Highland Railway." Website

  5. "Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre." Website

  6. "Caernarfon Town Walls." Website

  7. "Gypsy Wood Park." Website

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