NGRef: SO2446
OSMap: LR148
Type: Fort

Roads
ESE (12.5) to Magnis (Kenchester, Herefordshire)
SW (2.5) to Clyro (Gwent)

The Roman Fort at Clifford

N.G.REF DIMENSIONS AREA
SO249467 870 x 810 ft
(265 x 247 m)
c.16 acres
(c.6.5 ha)

The large Roman fort at Clifford is situated in farmland just to the north of Clyro village and enclosed within a bend of the River Wye on its south-eastern bank, about 2½ miles north-east of the campaign fortress at Clyro. This nearby fortress was built c.60AD, and the two are in such close proximity that they cannot have coexisted. Professor St, Joseph, the discoveror of both sites, has pointed out the possibility that the Clifford camp may be liable to flooding, and concluded that this was the first fort in the area, and that the Clyro fortress was later sited on higher ground to the west specifically in order to avoid this perennial problem.

The defences measure some 870 feet from east to west by 810 feet north-south (c.265 x 247 m), which gives a rather large internal area for the fort at just over 16 acres (c.6.5 ha). This showed that the area needed to be strongly held, and was probably garrisoned by three or four legionary cohorts perhaps together with an auxiliary cavalry ala (or two). This hypothesis has yet to be proven by physical evidence.

It should be pointed out that the Clifford fort actually lies on the opposite side of the river from the Roman road, which is possibly another indication that this was the first military installation in the area. A disused railway cutting abandoned in 1960 intrudes diagonally across the site.

See: Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1969-72 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lxiii (1973) pp.238/9 & fig.21;
Rome Against Caratacus by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1993);