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THE ROMAN ROAD FROM WESTBURY TO FORDEN GAER W. G. PUTNAM, B.A., F.S.A. INTRODUCTION An important Roman Road ran from Wroxeter (Viroconium) to the coastal fort at Pennal, via the upper Severn valley and the northern foothills of Plyn- limon. The central section, from Forden Gaer to Caersws, has already been described and the present article concerns the next section to the east, that from Westbury to Forden Gaer (fig. 4). The section from Caersws to Pennal will follow at a later date. The importance of this road may be demonstrated both by recent dis- coveries indicating an early date in the conquest for the first fort at Caersws, and by the long duration of the occupation of Forden Gaer3 and Caersws, after the majority of the Welsh forts had been abandoned. Not only did the road control central Wales itself, but it led to the Dovey estuary and a likely route for seaborn invaders from the west. Traditionally the course of the Westbury to Forden Gaer section lies along the ridgeway of the Long Mountain, descending via Forden on a route later taken by Offa's Dyke. It is so marked on the Ordnance Survey maps and plans. However a close examination of this route on the ground fails to dis- close any indication of Roman military engineering; an excavation by Sir Cyril Fox failed to find a road below the Dyke, and the whole route is typical of a ridgeway formalised by enclosure. Though traces of an agger-like for- mation are visible in places, examination shows these to be of soft material, forming a boundary bank of some other purpose. However a clear Roman route preserving many fragments of undoubted Roman work exists in the Rea and Camlad valleys, forming a convenient lowland route which is confirmed by Dr. J. K. S. St. Joseph's aerial photograph which shows the road immediately east of Forden Gaer. (PI. I). 1 W. G. Putnam, Mont. Coll., vol. 57, p. 141, see also G. D. B. Jones, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, vol. 19, p. 177. 2 G. D. B. Jones in The Roman Frontier in Wales, 2nd edition ed. M. G. Jarrett, p. 66, also see above P- 37- 8 Ibid., p. 85. 4 Ibid., p. 66. 6 I. D. Margary, Roman Roads in Britain (2nd edition), p. 344. 6 Sir Cyril Fox, Offa's Dyke, p. 115.