Segontium Roman Fort
Built in AD77, Segontium controlled an area along the Menai Straits in Wales. Excavations at the site have found that it was rebuilt and extended several times during the Roman occupation. It was a remote site, but was strategically important as it protected the Welsh from Irish invaders.
There would have been around 1,000 soldiers at the fort, who were required to serve for twenty five years each. Due to the length of time the Romans were in Wales, settlements sprang up around the fort, consisting of homes and traders providing for the soldiers.
Points of interest at the fort included remains of a bath house, temple and a cemetery. The barracks would have accommodated 80 soldiers each, and there is also evidence of workshops and storerooms. Beyond the outer walls a settlement grew up, for families and traders connected to the fort. The bones of deer, boars, hares, oxen and wolves have been discovered, giving an indication of the diet of the Romans, as well as what the surrounding woodland contained. The museum associated with the fort contains many archaeological finds from the site. Highlights include pottery, weapons and jewellery.
Here visitors can learn about the story of the Roman invasion and occupation of Wales, and in particular the lives of those living at Segontium.
Most areas of the site and the museum are accessible to wheelchairs. Visitors bringing babies are advised to use a back or front carrier, rather than a pushchair. There are toilets and a disabled toilet available.
Tel: 01286 675625
A Hidden Gem
I visited the Parliament building out of curiosity, as it had had so much publicity. Although I do not have a particular interest in the history of Scottish politics, our guide made it sound very interesting, and we were also informed about the building itself. I do feel that had it not been for the guide, I wouldn't have got a lot out of the visit, so I thoroughly recommend you take one of the tours.
Visitors are not allowed to take pictures on the way round, but you can go to the public gallery to snap away. The cafe was clean and modern, and there was a gift shop with a surprisingly large range of souvenirs. Jacqueline McMillan