Porthkerry Country Park’s hidden archaeological secret.

Due to the weather being exceptionally hot and sunny whilst I’m still in Cardiff, I thought it would be a lovely time for a day trip to Porthkerry Country Park. I have visited Porthkerry Country Park many times in my life and only really noticed the immense viaduct that dominates the skyline, but today I found a hidden medieval gem within the woods surrounding the Country Park.


Porthkerry Country Park’s viaduct.

I found out that in Cliffwood resides a medieval Mill, dating back to the 13th century. The Mill, where they would process corn, is thought to have been built by the farming community within the ancient manor of Barry.


Computer model of the 13th century corn Mill. ©Cadw

The Mill was thought to have been a two-roomed structure with the inner room containing the machinery for the mill. The machinery would have been powered by an overshot waterwheel which was supplied from a small holding pond above the mill. The water that filled the pond was fed with water from a leat, a hand-cut channel, diverted from Barry Brook opposite from the Nightingale cottage. It is estimated that the leat is roughly 500 metres long, with evidence still remaining of its vast length. There is also archaeological evidence that the Mill was abandoned sometime in the 14th century after a fire.


The Mill hidden amongst Porthkerry’s Cliffwood.


Current day remains of the 13th century corn Mill.

I absolutely love stumbling upon any hidden archaeological gem but today’s medieval mill in one of South Wales’ most beautiful country parks was purely found by chance. Porthkerry Country park not only has a medieval Mill within it’s grounds, the beach also has an amazing cliff where you can really see the different layers making up the stratigraphy.


The cliffs to the left of the Porthkerry pebble beach, showing the different stratification layers.


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