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'Where Wales Begins'
. Ancient Cultures
The Welshpool region is rich in evidence of ancient cultures. Wales' earliest farmers of the Neolithic (some 4000 year ago) built their homes and buried their dead in the fertile plain of the Severn Valley. Little survives of their everyday life but the shadowy remains of their ritual and religion can still be glimpsed from the air.
More tangible are the many standing stones and burial mounds from the Bronze Age, over 3000 years ago, but perhaps most dramatically are the hillforts, built by the Celtic tribes in the 500 years before the Roman conquest.
These massive enclosures with their ramparts of earth and stone are a common feature of the Welsh Marches, and fine examples can be seen near Welshpool on Long Mountain (Beacon Ring), at Montgomery (Ffridd Faldwyn), at the Breidden and Llanymynech (two of the largest in Britain) and most spectacularly at Old Oswestry in Shropshire.
Legend has it that the Celtic leader Carradoc, sometimes called Carractacus, led his campaign against the invading armies of Rome from this area. Many of the local hillforts have been said to be site of his last battle against the Roman legions, but current evidence suggests that it may have been Llanymynech Hill a few miles north of Welshpool.

The Romans lost little time in establishing their rule and the country around Welshpool still harbours their hallmark forts, roads and settlements spreading out from the regional capital at Wroxeter near Shrewsbury. The largest local fort is at Forden near Montgomery, but Welshpool itself was a focus of Roman settlement and is the site of one of Wales' most spectacular Roman burials. Information about this and many other local sites can be seen in Welshpool's Powysland Museum

Further details of the area's heritage can be found on the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust's website (www.cpat.org.uk).