Best in Wales – the Romans

They are asking people to choose the Seven Wonders of Wales. I had not known about the Roman road called Sarn Helen. This is from icWales:

March back with the Romans

Apr 29 2006

As you continue to vote in your droves for the definitive Seven Wonders of Wales, we present the latest profile of one of the 30 contenders. Here Samantha Games , of the Brecon Beacons National Park, champions the Roman road of Sarn Helen, which has linked North and South Wales for centuries

Samantha Games writes for the Western Mail

WALES is alive with breathtaking scenery and few locations, if any, can match the Brecon Beacons National Park. Alive with hidden limestone caverns, achingly beautiful waterfalls, wild unsheltered landscapes and legends of ladies in lakes, it boasts some of the most precious jewels in Wales' crown.

The park's haunting beauty is still one of Wales' best-kept secrets – and none more so than the magnificent Roman road of Sarn Helen that runs through it as it wends its way from Conwy to Carmarthenshire.

Sarn Helen is unique. When you first approach the road you can appreciate why some claim they can almost hear the echo of the Roman boots that would have trudged this ancient route long ago.

Originally built to fortify links between Roman forts, Sarn Helen is one of the most remarkably well-preserved Roman roads in Wales, and areas of cobbled stone still remain exposed after many centuries of wear.

The ancient road was built nearly 2,000 years ago and is attributed to Celtic princess Elen Lwy-ddawg, the wife of Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus, who arrived in Britain in about 368AD. Incidentally, according to legend, Elen bizarrely also appears to have been married to the magician Merlin.

Situated on a windswept hill, which would once have been covered in woodland, the fine stretch of the road within the Park is scattered with burial cairns and isolated standing stones – some more than 13ft high.

Its eerie historic beauty makes Sarn Helen well worthy of inclusion on a list of Wales' wonders.

Mystery still surrounds the true meaning of the standing stones found along this enigmatic Roman site.

Lying adjacent to Sarn Helen the Maen Madoc stone still bears the ancient inscription “Dervacus, son of Justus. Here he lies”.

It stands nearly 11ft and is perfectly aligned with the largest standing stone in the National Park, Maen Llia, which is located at the head of the Llia Valley.

Were it not for forestry standing between the two stones, you could clearly see one from the other even though they are some two miles apart.

Read the whole article.